Health professionals urge people to use health services wisely this Christmas

Doctors, nurses and health professionals at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals are urging people to choose their health services wisely over the festive season.

From Christmas Day through to Wednesday 28 December, many GP surgeries and pharmacies will be running reduced opening times, with a select few remaining open during this period. Medical and clinical staff at the Trust are asking local people to collect any repeat prescriptions they need ahead of time, ensuring a safe and healthy festive break.

In the winter months, the Emergency Departments at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Bassetlaw Hospital see an increasing number of patients, making it more challenging to see local residents who are in urgent need of care and treatment.

Dr Tim Noble, Executive Medical Director at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH), said: “With only a few days left until Christmas, we understand that many will be making plans and arrangements for the festive period. We’re asking local people to make their health part of these preparations – collecting their prescription medicines as needed, as well as understanding what services are available should they, or a family member, become ill or injured.

“Please remember to only use the Emergency Department when it’s just that – an emergency. However, if you do feel ill during Christmas, you can still seek advice by calling NHS 111, booking an appointment at the Doncaster Same Day Health Centre and if it’s really urgent, dialing 999.”

Here are some tips to help you choose health services wisely this winter:

Self-care – A lot of illnesses or symptoms can be treated in your home by using a well-stocked medicine cabinet and by getting plenty of rest.

NHS 111 – This 24 hour, seven day service offers confidential health advice and information over the phone. To access the NHS 111 service text-phone, call 18001 111.

Pharmacist (chemist) – Your local pharmacist is a highly trained healthcare professional who can give you advice on common illnesses and the medicines you need to treat them. Most now have a quiet area away from other customers where you can speak to the pharmacist more privately.

GP – Your own GP is the best person to speak to about persistent health problems and illnesses that won’t go away. These include persistent coughs, joint pain and long term symptoms that haven’t suddenly deteriorated to a point where you are extremely unwell.

Minor Injuries Unit at Montagu Hospital – The unit is open every day from 9.00am to 9.00pm, except on Christmas Day when it is closed. The unit re-opens on Boxing Day. The unit is staffed by experienced emergency nurse practitioners who can assess and treat a wide range of minor injuries and ailments, including sprains, cuts and bruises, and some simple fractures.

Emergency Department or 999 – Hospital emergency departments provide immediate emergency care for people who show the symptoms of serious illness or are badly injured. If you call 999 for an ambulance the telephone advisor will arrange appropriate assistance for the patient based on information about the illness or injury.