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Countdown is on to get prescriptions ordered and stock up on medicine essentials before Christmas

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As the countdown to Christmas begins, NHS health and care teams are advising patients to not leave it too late to order their repeat prescriptions.

People with long term health conditions including asthma, diabetes, lung and heart disease, are being reminded to ensure they have enough medication to see them through the festive season.

Many pharmacies across the region will close for Christmas on Friday 22 December and not re-open until Wednesday 27 December meaning people in need of medication over the Christmas holidays must get their prescriptions ordered by Friday 15 December.

Dr Neil O'Brien, medical director, NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) said: "Christmas is fast approaching so we are reminding patients not to leave it to the last minute to order their repeat medication.

"The consequences of running out of prescribed medicine can be significant, especially for older people and those who are vulnerable, which is why having a sufficient supply, to last over the holidays, should be very near the top of everybody's Christmas to-do list.

"If you do forget, and find you need emergency medication, don't worry - you can go to any local community pharmacy, open over the holidays, - you can find your nearest available one here  https://northeastnorthcumbria.nhs.uk/news/posts/christmas-and-new-year-pharmacy-opening-hours/ - or contact NHS 111 online who will be able to assist."

With GP practices and many pharmacies closed over the festive bank holidays people are also being urged to be prepared for the season's most common illnesses by stocking up on medicine cabinet essentials.

"Many winter ailments clear up on their own or can be treated with over the counter products from your local community pharmacy, added Dr O'Brien.

"Simple remedies like paracetamol and ibuprofen can treat common ailments such as colds, sore throat and coughs at home - without having to see a GP - and community pharmacists can also provide lots of advice and treatments for many other common conditions over winter, including urinary tract infections, stomach upsets, constipation and diarrhoea.

"Making sure you have the right medication could make all the difference, so please don't get caught out, order your repeat prescriptions in time and stock up on your medicine cabinet essentials before Christmas"

How to order your repeat prescription

  1. Order online via your GP Practice website - you need to be registered with your practice for this.
  2. Order through the NHS App - download the app from Google Play or the App store, you can register without having to visit your practice.  More information on the NHS App is available on the nhs.uk website.
  3. Order in person, at your GP Practice - simply tick the medicines required on the white, tear-off section of your prescription and drop it into your GP Practice, ask a relative or friend to drop it in for you, or post it. Many practices have a box outside so you don't need to go into the practice building to do this.

Some pharmacies will be open over the Christmas holidays, opening times are available here.

Additional information on how to stay well this winter is available at: stay well this winter

'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough - could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'

Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community Hospital