For many people, Christmas is a time to catch up with family and friends, sharing gifts and enjoying a traditional Christmas dinner.
But, like other people across health and emergency services throughout Scotland, the dedicated staff at NHS 24 will be working over Christmas and New Year to ensure that out-of-hours care is available to those who need it.
NHS 24’s 111 health advice line has a range of specialist staff including nurse advisors, dental nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists and mental health advisors. Last year, NHS 24 received more than 75,000 calls over the eight-day festive period.
Dina Mitchell is one of NHS 24’s Nurse Practitioners and she will be providing out of hours care based at the Western Isles Hospital on Christmas Day and Boxing Day this year.
Dina also covers nursing shifts on wards at the Hospital and in the community and this Christmas she will also be welcoming her grown up children and granddaughter Abbey to enjoy the festivities.
With such a busy schedule Dina knows how important it is to be organised and not to forget your own or your family’s health at this time of year.
She says: “This is a really busy time for everyone but with so many winter ailments around it’s worth just taking a minute to check you’ve got some simple over the counter remedies to hand, just in case.
“As a busy Mum and Nana, I also always make sure there are rehydration salts to hand just in case someone gets an upset tummy.
“And NHS 24 is there during the out of hours period on 111 if anyone is taken ill and feel it can’t wait till the GP surgery reopens.
“Of course with so many people in my house it can get a bit stressful, as it can with any family, so it’s equally important that we find time to relax, take a breather and look after our mental health too.
“People living alone can also find this time of year difficult with loneliness and the increased isolation that comes with a rural location and the often bad weather. I try to call on elderly relatives and neighbours on the West Side as much as I can, just to make sure they’re okay. Anyone who is feeling low can always call the Breathing Space service on 0800 83 85 87 – it’s a great service and I always direct my patients there who I think would benefit.”
Dina is sharing her advice as part of the ‘Be Health-Wise this Winter’ campaign which is there to remind people of the importance of being prepared for winter ailments with over the counter remedies, checking any repeat prescription needs and knowing when GP and pharmacists are open over the Festive season.
Online health advice and information can be found at: website