Christmas healthcare opening times — be health wise this year

A campaign has been launched to make sure people know when their doctor and pharmacies are open over the festive period.

The ‘Be Health-Wise this Winter’ initiative is urging people to check the opening hours of their GP surgery and local pharmacy and to make sure they know where to go if they need health advice over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

NHS 24’s Medical Director Professor George Crooks said: “GP surgery opening times may vary across Scotland so it is vitally important that you know when your local surgery will be available.

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“Pharmacies can help with treatments for common complaints but again, do make sure that you know when your local pharmacy will be open.”

It may be a very good idea to make sure you have some of the most regularly used over the counter medicines at home, ready to be used if needed.

Professor Crooks added: “If you are on any long term medication make sure you have enough to last over the holidays. Order only what you need, but make sure you get it in plenty of time.”

Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee, says it’s important people know what services are available, and when GPs and other healthcare staff will be working.

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He said: “It is important to know when medical staff will be available in out of hours units across Scotland throughout the festive break to ensure that people who become ill and can’t wait for an appointment when their GP practice re-opens can get help.”

And he continued: “Be prepared by finding out when your local surgery is going to be open, order repeat prescriptions early and stock up on remedies for seasonal illnesses from your local pharmacy.”

The 111 service run by NHS 24 will be available throughout Christmas and Hogmanay and online health advice and information can be found at

The website deals with questions most asked by people. These include such things as, can I pick up a prescription for someone else?

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If you are collecting ‘controlled medication’ for someone else, you are legally required to show the pharmacist proof of your identity.

Controlled medication includes morphine, pethidine, and methadone amongst others. These medicines are prone to being misused, therefore pharmacists and pharmacies have stricter legal controls on them.

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