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Use your NHS wisely this Christmas

With Christmas and New Year fast approaching people in Norfolk and Waveney are being reminded to choose wisely if they need medical care over the festive period and to make sure they request their regular medications early.

Those who take regular medication should make sure they have ordered enough to last through the holiday period or ask their GP practice for a new prescription.

Planning ahead is very important to help stay well and it also helps the NHS at a time when services are busy.

Dr Anoop Dhesi, Chair of the Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group said: “It’s essential to plan ahead at this time of year. If you have a long-term health condition you should make sure you have enough medication for the holiday period, but please don’t attempt to stockpile more than you need.

“Ordering and collecting new prescriptions can take several days. So, if you or someone you care for needs medicines regularly, please make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time. If you have elderly relatives or neighbours, ask them if they need help collecting their medications.”

Winter illnesses such as colds and coughs, sore throats, and upset stomachs can easily be treated at home with medicines available at low cost from your local pharmacy.

Dr Dhesi added: “Pharmacists are experts in medicines and can give advice about minor illnesses so you can care for yourself at home. They are available on every high street and at some supermarkets, with many open evenings and weekends.”

Be sure to stock up on winter self-care essentials for your medicine cabinet: take advice from your pharmacist before purchasing if you take other medicines.

  • pain relief (paracetamol)
  • cough and sore throat remedies
  • first aid kit
  • upset stomach treatment
  • rehydration treatment
  • heartburn and indigestion treatment

Winter is a busy time for health services and patients are being asked to choose services wisely and help ease the pressure on the local NHS.

For life-threatening emergencies call 999, otherwise:

NHS 111

If you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do, contact NHS 111 first.

If you think you need A&E, just contact NHS 111 first. The NHS will help you right away and if you need urgent care, the NHS can book you in to be seen quickly and safely.

Contacting NHS 111 first will help NHS urgent and emergency care services maintain social distancing and ensure that patients receive the right care in the right place, in a timely and safe way.

People with life-threatening illnesses or injuries should continue to dial 999 and anyone who arrives at A&E without calling NHS 111 will still receive medical care, with those needing emergency treatment prioritised.

You can use NHS 111 either by visiting the website or by calling 111

The NHS111 Service is free to call and available 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. Your call will be answered by a trained call handler, whose job it is to ensure you can access the most appropriate local service. You can call 111 first if:

  • you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency
  • you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
  • you need to see a GP urgently when your practice is closed. NHS 111 can arrange for an emergency out-of-hours doctor to help if necessary
  • you don’t know who to call or you don’t have a GP to call
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next

You can call 111 on your telephone/mobile, you can use the online service or you can use the NHS App on your smartphone or tablet.

Your GP surgery

Your GP surgery will be able to offer appointments with different clinicians, including a doctor or nurse, depending on your needs.

Walk-in Centre and Minor Injuries Unit

Norwich Practices Health and Walk-in Centre is open seven days-a-week between 7am and 9pm. It is based at Rouen House, Rouen Road, Norwich, telephone 01603 677500. The Minor Injuries Unit at Cromer Hospital is open seven days-a-week between 8am and 7.45pm, in Mill Road, Cromer, telephone 01603 646230.

For pharmacy opening times over the holiday period visit

You can find your nearest surgery or pharmacy by visiting

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