GPs in Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley are urging people to be winter ready by stocking up medicine cabinets, ordering repeat prescriptions in plenty of time and consider visiting their local pharmacist as a first port of call when they feel unwell.
Pharmacists can help
Pharmacists can give free help and advice on many minor illnesses, such as colds or fever, which can be safely treated at home without the need to see a doctor.
Local GP and Chair of NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Dr Sarah MacDermott said: “Now is the time to plan ahead to help get you and your family through the winter season. Pick up any prescription medications that you need before the Christmas holidays start as many GPs and pharmacies will close over the bank holidays.”
“It is also important to make sure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home which could include paracetamol, cold remedies, plasters, and a thermometer as a minimum. “
“Don’t forget you can get advice from your pharmacist when you feel ill – don’t wait for it to get more serious. They will be happy to talk to you about a cough or a cold and can sell a range of medication without the need for a prescription.”
“If you urgently need medical care when your GP practice is closed, and the pharmacy can’t help, please ring NHS 111 for advice. They can arrange for you to see an out-of-hours GP service if necessary.”
Local pharmacies will be open on both bank holidays and people can find details of their nearest pharmacy on the NHS website at www.nhs.uk.
Additionally, many pharmacies are able to provide over the counter medicines. As well as buying over the counter medicines from pharmacies, patients can also receive health advice from expert pharmacists without the need for an appointment. This may be quicker than arranging an appointment with your GP and the pharmacist can advise you if you need to see a GP.
If you need urgent medical help but it is not a 999 emergency, call the free NHS 111 phone service.