Pharmacy opening times

NHS Bedfordshire and NHS Luton have published details of pharmacy opening times for the Christmas and New Year period, so that people know where they can go for advice and treatment on minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, flu and tummy upsets.

People wanting to find out the opening hours of their local pharmacy or details of the pharmacies open on bank holidays, including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, can visit www.bedfordshire.nhs.uk or www.luton.nhs.uk.

NHS Bedfordshire Head of Medicines Management, Andy Cooke, said: “Pharmacies are an excellent alternative to visiting your GP or walk-in centre for healthcare advice and so we have arranged pharmacy cover throughout the Christmas period so that people can continue to use these important services.

“I would advise households to stock up on basic medication prior to the Christmas period so that they can treat very minor illnesses and injuries themselves – simple painkillers, indigestion remedies, anti-diarrhoeal medicine, rehydration mixture, plasters and a thermometer are all available from local pharmacies with their advice.

“If you are on prescription medication then it is also a good idea to check that you have enough medication to last you through the Christmas period.”

If you need medical advice over the Christmas period then you can visit www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or if you live in Luton call 111.

The message from the NHS this Christmas is to take the time to choose the right service for your symptoms and to only call 999 or go to A&E in an emergency.

Top tips for non emergencies:

>>Self Care - Not all ailments need assistance from an NHS service – coughs, colds and sore throats may be best treated at home by ensuring a well stocked medicine cabinet.

If you have symptoms of flu or a heavy cold, stay at home, rest, keep warm and take plenty of fluids. Remember antibiotics do not work on viral infections such as coughs and colds.

>>NHS Direct - NHS Direct offers lots of great advice and help if you’re feeling unwell visit www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk or if you need to talk to an advisor anytime please call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

>>111 (from Luton only) - If you are in Luton then this is the number to call if you think you need urgent medical help that isn’t an emergency. It is available, free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

>>Your local pharmacy - Visit your local pharmacy for advice on treating common winter illnesses and the best medicines to use.

>>Your local GP - Patients suffering more painful or serious ailments such as vomiting, ear pain, stomach complaints should ring either their GP practice or NHS Direct for an assessment and advice on how to access care urgently if required.

>>GP out of hours services - To contact the out of hours service, call your GP surgery at anytime - night or day - for information and contact details.

>>Walk In Centres - If you have a minor illness and/or injury such as a scald or sprain that doesn’t require an A&E visit but you can’t wait for a GP appointment, visit your nearest Walk-in Centre (open every day, including bank holidays).