NHS Somerset “prepare for Christmas”

With Christmas Day and New Year’s Day falling on a Sunday, people in Somerset are reminded to think ahead. NHS Somerset explain that GP practices will be closed from the evening of Friday 23 December until the morning of Wednesday 28th.

However whilst services return to normal on Wednesday, please bear in mind that as things stand, an ambulance strike is planned for Wednesday 28 December.

Residents are urged to ensure they have enough prescription medication to last over the holidays. Please bear in mind it takes time for your GP practice to process a repeat prescription request.

During this time there will be some local NHS services available. Some pharmacies are open on Christmas Day and you can find details of what is open when here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/south/info-professional/pharm-info/pharmacy-opening-hours/

Of course the NHS 111 service remains open 24/7 every day across the break. Dr Bernie Marden, Chief Medical Officer at NHS Somerset notes: “If you have an urgent medical concern when your GP is closed go to NHS 111 or call 111. Trained advisors can provide advice online or over the phone and direct you to the best place for the care that you need.” He added “With many parents aware of the increased rates in scarlet fever and Strep A, I urge them to visit NHS 111 online or by phone if they have any concerns about symptoms their child may be experiencing.

Remember that there are four large minor injuries units (MIU) in Somerset. These are at the community hospitals in Bridgwater, Frome, Minehead and West Mendip (Glastonbury). They can treat a range of injuries and illnesses, such as broken bones, wounds, minor burns, minor illness, minor eye conditions, minor head injuries (unless on blood thinners) and emergency contraception. There are three smaller MIUs at the community hospitals in Burnham-on-Sea, Chard and Shepton Mallet – those units are currently operating reduced opening hours. There are more details on https://www.somersetft.nhs.uk/minor-injury-units/

DO NOT USE A MINOR INJURY UNIT FOR: – chest pain, severe breathing problems, altered consciousness, overdoses, mental health issues, conditions usually managed by your GP or practice nurse. If you have symptoms of a heart attack, stroke or major injury call 999.

Self-care: Many minor illnesses can be treated at home with basic medicines that are available from your local pharmacy or supermarket. Stocking up on essential medicines can help you avoid a trip to the GP or even A&E.

If you need mental health support: If you are an adult or child living in Somerset and are concerned about your mental health, phone the Open Mental Health Service. It is here to help 24 hours 7 days a week. Contact the team at Mindline Somerset on freephone 0800 138 1692 or locally on 01823 276892.

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