NHSScotland urges people in the Western Isles to order repeat prescriptions in time for Christmas

As Christmas draws near, a major NHSScotland campaign is calling on people in the Western Isles to plan ahead for repeat prescriptions.

As Scotland’s high street chemists are making sure they have enough essential medicines in stock ahead of this week’s forecast cold spell, NHSScotland’s Be Ready for Winter campaign is reminding people to order repeat prescriptions for themselves and those they look after in time for the festive period.

Despite the recent bad weather, Scotland’s main pharmaceutical wholesale suppliers have been maintaining daily deliveries and extra-large deliveries have been put in place to ensure pharmacists have sufficient supplies ahead of the next expected cold snap.

As well as making sure their medicine cabinets are fully stocked, people in the Western Isles are being urged to get their repeat prescriptions ordered as soon as possible, with the last day being Monday December 20th.

John McAnaw, Head of Pharmacy at NHS 24, said: “Most people are out and about getting organised for the festive period and it’s important not to forget about putting your winter health necessities on your ‘to do’ list. It only takes a few minutes to collect some over the counter remedies for winter ailments.

“Young people and the elderly are particularly susceptible to winter illnesses so make sure their medicine cabinets are well stocked. If you look after either of these groups, or take regular medication yourself, please ensure you order and collect repeat prescriptions to cover the seasonal holiday.

”Despite the recent bad weather, pharmacists have taken steps to maintain supplies but patients can do their bit to help by ensuring that they don’t leave it to the last minute to request prescriptions – particularly if the wintry weather returns, as forecast.”

Chair of Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Scotland, Dr John Gillies, said: “GP surgeries are already seeing lots of patients with cold and flu symptoms so it is a good idea to plan ahead by ordering repeat prescriptions in good time and stocking up with remedies from your pharmacist.

“At this time of year it’s also important to remember the basics of keeping warm and looking out for your elderly neighbours.”

It is important to get prescriptions ordered and collected as early as possible, but the latest day for ordering repeat prescriptions before the festive break is Monday 20th December.

There are four key steps that Be Ready for Winter is recommending everyone should take in preparation for the winter. They are:

Restock your winter medicine cabinet

Many children and adults pick up common winter ailments such as a cold or flu-like illness. These can often be effectively treated at home with readily available medicine. Parents are reminded to restock their medicine cabinet with remedies suitable for children.

Use your local pharmacy

Your local pharmacy is an accessible resource for you and your family. Your pharmacist can offer advice or help if you have run out of any prescribed medication. You can also collect medicine for minor ailments or illnesses.

Make sure you have repeat prescriptions

If you or someone you care for requires medicines regularly, make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you or your family have enough medicine to last over the Christmas holiday period.

Know when your GP surgery will be open

Your local doctor’s surgery will be open on Friday 24th December, then closed for four days during the Christmas period and it will reopen on Wednesday 29th December. The surgery will be shut from 1st-4th January at New Year, and reopen on Wednesday 5th January. The national Be Ready for Winter campaign has the backing of the British Medical Association (BMA) in Scotland and is supported by NHSScotland in partnership with NHS 24, the Scottish Ambulance Service, all 14 Scottish Health Boards and Community Pharmacy Scotland.

Leaflets offering information about health services and how to treat common winter ailments are being distributed across the country during December.

General advice and information on how to stay healthy this winter can be found at www.nhsinform.co.uk or contact NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88.