Patients reminded to request repeat prescriptions in good time for the holidays

Ealing residents advised to visit pharmacy for winter illnesses

Christmas and New Year can be a busy time when mundane chores like checking medicine supplies can be overlooked. But local GPs are warning people to order repeat prescriptions early to ensure they have enough to tide them over the holiday period when GP practices and pharmacies are closed.

Patients on repeat prescriptions are advised to request them ten working days before the winter break to allow enough time for processing by both GP and pharmacy. This means that all repeat prescription requests need to be made by 10 December.

For added convenience, patients are encouraged to register for GP online services to order repeat prescriptions or even book practice appointments from a smartphone, tablet or computer.

With the weather turning colder, people are recommended to seek advice from their pharmacist at the first signs of a winter illness, even if it’s just a cough or cold.

Older people can be more susceptible to developing serious health problems when it is cold outside so they are reminded to think about keeping their houses warm and staying active. At the same time, the general public is asked to keep an eye on elderly neighbours in the cold weather.

Dr Mohini Parmar, Chair of Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group and local GP, commented:

“It’s important for patients that rely on repeat prescriptions to stock up in good time for the winter holidays to help them to stay well over the break.

“We recommend that people with an underlying health condition like bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes, heart disease, stroke or kidney disease; or who are aged 65 or over, take extra care in the cold weather.

“At the first sign of a cough or cold, it’s worth asking your high street pharmacist for advice. If they can’t help you, they’ll be able to refer you to a service that can. 

“And if you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine, it’s not too late – contact your GP practice or pharmacist to organise it.”

Some pharmacies will be open on Christmas day, Boxing day, and New Year’s day. Check here for details of pharmacies and opening times: http://bit.ly/2BCNAVQ

Notes to editors

1.         NHS Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is the GP-led organisation responsible for planning and buying (commissioning) health services for people living in Ealing.

2.         For more details on how to access GP online services, visit nhs.uk/gponlineservices.

3.         Around 25,000 more people die over the course of each winter compared to other times of the year and there are a range of conditions worsened by the cold weather – 80 per cent of these deaths are accounted for by people with circulatory diseases (such as heart disease, lung illnesses and stroke), dementia and respiratory diseases (such as asthma).

Exposure to cold indoor or outdoor temperatures increases blood pressure, thereby increasing the risk of heart failure, kidney disease, stroke or dementia. Cold temperatures can also make blood more likely to clot, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke. In addition, cold can also affect the respiratory system, which reduces the lungs’ ability to fight off infection explaining why lower temperatures are linked with bronchitis and pneumonia.

For information on how to stay well over the winter, visit http://ow.ly/eFEn30gTumb  

4.         The injected flu vaccine is offered free of charge on the NHS to the following groups of people who are at risk:

•           Those who are 65 years of age or over  

•           Pregnant women

•           People with certain medical conditions

•           People living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility

•           People that receive a carer's allowance, or are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if their carer falls ill

5.         The nasal spray flu vaccine is offered in GP practices to children aged 2-3.

Children in reception and years 1, 2, 3 and 4 are being offered the flu nasal spray in a school setting.

6.         Sir Trevor McDonald has joined forces with the NHS in North West London to launch a major campaign encouraging those aged 65 and over and others at risk to have their flu vaccinations. Visit http://ow.ly/QFgq30gTthG  to see Sir Trevor McDonald speak about the flu jab.

7.         More information on benefits and discounts that may be available to help pay for heating bills is available at Age UK. Visit http://ow.ly/F7gn30gZsYY for details .

8.         More information on pharmacies that will be open on Christmas day, Boxing day and New Year’s day is available at: http://ow.ly/DzR830h3mHR.  

Posted: 7 December 2017