Pick up repeat prescriptions to beat Christmas closures

Date: 12 Dec 2016

Category: Campaign

With just two weeks left to Christmas, doctors in Bristol are reminding patients to pick up repeat prescriptions before GP practices and pharmacies close for the holidays.

Each Christmas sees hundreds of patients calling the NHS 111 helpline because they have run out of medication, leading to unnecessary worry for themselves and increasing pressure on busy urgent care and out of hours NHS services.

"Many people need repeat medication to manage long-term conditions and most remember to order and collect their prescriptions well in advance of Christmas, which is very helpful and appreciated. However in the busy run-up to the holidays, it’s easy to forget to pick up a repeat prescription, and this can lead to problems once GP practices and pharmacies close for the holidays. So our advice is very simple: if you think you might need more medication over Christmas and the New Year, save yourself the worry and re-order your prescription now while there’s still time for it be processed and dispensed. Not only will you be doing yourself a favour, you’ll also be helping the NHS by reducing pressure on busy urgent care services over the Christmas period."

- Dr Ann Sephton, local GP and clinical commissioning group lead for urgent care

"What patients may not realise is that the NHS 111 teams are not able to issue repeat prescriptions. In most areas, every request 111 receives has to be passed on to an out-of-hours GP in their area to consider. With many GP practices closed for the holidays, the out-of-hours GPs are already working flat out seeing patients with urgent health issues so we really don’t want them using their precious time writing repeat prescriptions for patient who could have seen their GP before the holidays. On behalf of those doctors and their patients, please check that you have enough of your prescription medication to get you through the holidays. That way we can save the slots with the out-of-hours GPs for those people with urgent healthcare issues."

- James Head, clinical lead for Care UK, provider of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire's NHS 111 service

NHS 111 figures show that during Christmas and New Year 2015/16, 725 Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire residents called the 24-hour helpline seeking advice on repeat prescriptions.

Visit our Health Services pages for advice on local NHS services including details of pharmacies open over the holiday period.

For advice on staying well over the winter period, see the Stay Well website.

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