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Know your healthcare options this festive season

With Christmas just around the corner, local people are being reminded of their healthcare options, should they need medical advice or help.

Although Christmas and New Year are going to be slightly different this winter, there is one thing that will remain the same: the NHS is still available to support those who need it.

Some local pharmacies are open throughout the festive season, where you can get quick, confidential advice on lots of common illnesses, as well as over-the-counter medication. You can find out if your local pharmacy is open, and at what time, here. Please do not attend a pharmacy if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

GPs can also offer support outside normal working hours, even over the festive season. If you need a doctor on an evening or weekend, be sure to book your appointment in advance by calling your practice ahead of time for an extended access appointment.

While many people enjoy a break this week, your local NHS is working really hard to help people who need our help. That’s why patients should use NHS 111 first to help NHS urgent and emergency care services maintain social distancing and ensure that patients receive the right care in the right place, in a timely and safe way. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can call 111 or visit the website 111.nhs.uk

Dr Richard Mendelsohn, Chief Medial Officer at NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “There are a range of healthcare services available to people in Birmingham and Solihull throughout the festive period.

“There are many common illnesses and injuries that can be treated at home, so make sure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet, to avoid having to venture out. Good items to have include your usual pain relief, diarrhoea relief, rehydration sachets, antihistamines and heartburn and indigestion remedies, as well as first aid essentials, such as plasters, dressings, eye wash and bandages.

“I would also like to urge people to take care during the festive period, particularly on Christmas Day, and ensure that guidelines are being followed. If you’re meeting another household indoors on Christmas Day, ensure that there is as much fresh air as possible by opening the windows throughout the visit, wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds, and keep as much space between households as possible.

“I appreciate the sacrifices that the people in Birmingham and Solihull have made this year; if we all do our bit, we can help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

“Further advice for Christmas can be found here.”

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