Health and care professionals in the region have advised people to familiarise themselves with the healthcare options nearest to them that will be open over Christmas.
Many pharmacies and GP practices across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire will be closed from the end of the day on Christmas Eve until Tuesday 29 December.
Think NHS 111 first
While hospital emergency departments will remain open 24 hours a day, some minor injuries units in the region will also be open to offer care and treatment.
Any person wishing to use these facilities is advised to contact NHS 111 first, either by phone or online, to help ensure you are directed to the most appropriate service.
People contacting NHS 111 first will also be given a specific time at which to arrive at either their nearest hospital or minor injuries unit, which will help reduce crowded waiting rooms and ensure those most in need are given priority.
Dr Andrew Girdher, Clinical Chair of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:
“This year, more than ever, has shown us that the NHS never completely shuts down and, as we approach Christmas and New Year, I want people to know that the NHS will continue to be there for them.
“But we all know that the festive period can be particularly busy for the NHS, and sometimes those small Christmas-related illnesses and injuries, such as upset stomachs, minor burns and sore throats, are best treated at home with medicine that can be bought over the counter.
“To support our busy hospitals and minor injuries units, both of which have reduced capacity to help with social distancing, please always contact NHS 111 before leaving home, as this will mean you are signposted to the service that’s right for you, which in turn ensures staff are able to tend to those most in need.
“Of course, when it comes to very serious health conditions which could be life-threatening, do not hesitate in phoning 999 straight away.”
Pharmacies open on Christmas Day
A handful of pharmacies across the region will be open on Christmas Day for people in need or urgent medication or quick healthcare advice.
These include Facechoice Pharmacy in Swindon, which is open between 10am and 1pm, Shaunaks Pharmacy in Corsham, which is open between 11am and 1pm, and Jhoots Pharmacy in Odd Down, which is open between 1pm and 3pm.
The CCG’s Prescription Ordering Direct (POD) service, which helps people to arrange repeat prescriptions by phone or email is open throughout the festive period, except on weekends and bank holidays.
Christmas opening times for all pharmacies in the region can be found online by visiting at www.bswccg.nhs.uk.