HEALTH MAT­TERS

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR VIEWS -

DR Paul Bowen, clin­i­cal chair of NHS East­ern Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group, and GP with McIlvride Med­i­cal Prac­tice, Poyn­ton

THE last thing that peo­ple want is to be ill over the fes­tive pe­riod but some­times it’s un­avoid­able. If you are un­for­tu­nate enough to fall ill, the NHS is here to help.

For many peo­ple, self-care will be enough to man­age win­ter ill­ness over Christ­mas and New Year, and you can pre­pare for this by keep­ing a well­stocked medicine cabi­net but, for those times when self-care isn’t an op­tion, it’s im­por­tant to know what ser­vices are avail­able.

Ur­gent care ser­vices such as NHS 111, A&E and 999 will still be avail­able but your phar­macy and GP open­ing times are likely to be dif­fer­ent.

Thanks to the in­tro­duc­tion of ex­tended ac­cess in Oc­to­ber, there are now appointments avail­able in East­ern Cheshire on week­day evenings after 6.30pm and on Satur­day and Sun­day morn­ings.

You can make the most of the ex­tended ac­cess appointments by ring­ing your lo­cal prac­tice as usual and re­quest­ing an evening or week­end slot, the re­cep­tion­ist will then con­firm the avail­able times and lo­ca­tion. As there is now week­end ap­point­ment pro­vi­sion, GP prac­tices will only be closed on Christ­mas Day, Box­ing Day and New Year’s Day.

On these days, a GP ser­vice is avail­able at the East­ern Cheshire GP Out-of-Hours Ser­vice at Mac­cles­field Hos­pi­tal, which can be ac­cessed via NHS 111. It is also im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that phar­ma­cies will have limited open­ing times dur­ing the bank hol­i­days.

My ad­vice is to or­der your med­i­ca­tion from your GP surgery well in ad­vance to pre­vent a stress­ful last-minute search for an open phar­macy.

If you do find your­self need­ing med­i­ca­tion ur­gently, a hand­ful of phar­ma­cies will still be open be­tween 10am and 4pm on Christ­mas Day.

You can ring your lo­cal phar­macy to check if and when they’re open dur­ing the fes­tive pe­riod, or ask them next time you pick up your pre­scrip­tion.

Al­ter­na­tively, visit the news sec­tion at www. east­erncheshireccg.nhs.uk.

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