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Check your prescriptions as Christmas countdown begins

Merton GPs are reminding their patients to check their medicine cabinets are well stocked and ensure they have enough of any regular medication to last over the festive season.

At this time of year it's easy to forget about health. But, several consecutive public holidays take place during the Christmas and New Year periods, which means GPs, pharmacies and other healthcare service providers will all operate a reduced service.

Those who may need repeat prescriptions are urged to order them in good time before the holiday rush begins.

The CCG is also urging people to keep a check on relatives, friends and neighbours to ensure they have everything they need to keep themselves healthy and happy over the festive season. Older people are particularly at risk during the colder weather.

Dr Andrew Murray, Chair of the Merton Clinical Commissioning Group and local GP said:

"Please check your medicine supplies now and make sure you and any family members have enough to cover the whole holiday period, and for any trips away you have planned. If you need a repeat prescription, please order it now to ensure you can collect it in good time. Remember most practices require 48-72 hours to process repeat prescriptions. Electronic prescriptions are a convenient way of managing your repeats, speak to your pharmacist or GP about this."

Merton CCG's Chief Pharmacist Sedina Agama said:

"Many pharmacies will still be open, although perhaps with reduced hours and will be happy to give advice on over the counter medicines for many common winter ailments. NHS 111 is also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year if you need urgent advice. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones."

See full details of your local pharmacy bank holiday opening times here.

If you do run out of vital medication over the festive period contact your usual pharmacist, GP or Call 111. Pharmacies can provide emergency supplies of your usual medicines although they may charge you for this service particularly if they are not your usual pharmacy.

By keeping a selection of essential medications at home you can treat minor conditions in a timely manner. The Royal Pharmaceutical's recommended list can be found here.

Your local pharmacist can offer expert advice on how to manage common symptoms including headaches, sore throats, coughs, colds and stomach upsets, when to seek medical advice, and what to take if you are on other medication.

You do not need to make an appointment to see the pharmacist, a consultation area will be available for private consultations and many pharmacies are open late in the evenings and at the weekend when your doctor's surgery is closed.