PATIENTS are being urged to deal with any health problems before they become urgent and before GP surgeries close for the Christmas holiday.
They are also being advised to check they have sufficient prescription medicines to see them through the festive period.
GP practices will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. They will also be closed, as usual, the weekend immediately after Christmas – December 28 and 29.
The Cwm Taf out-of-hours service will be operational from 6.30pm on Christmas Eve but it is designed to deal with patients with urgent medical conditions only.
Urgent medical conditions are those which cannot wait to be dealt with until the patient’s own GP surgery re-opens.
Nigel Waskett, clinical director of the Cwm Taf University Health Board GP out-of-hours service, said: “Please make sure that routine problems or problems that may become urgent are dealt with by your own GP, if possible before the bank holiday.
“Visiting your own GP will be safer for you as they have access to your full health records and all the GP practice staff and equipment.
“This also means the out-of-hours service will not have to deal with routine GP work and can concentrate on helping those patients who may have more urgent health problems.”
Patients who contact the Cwm Taf GP out of hours service may be given advice about self care over the phone or they may be given an appointment for a face-to-face consultation at a primary care centre.
Those patients who are terminally ill or seriously unwell will be seen at home.
Dr Waskett added: “The Cwm Taf GP out-of-hours service provides medical advice and treatment for urgent healthcare problems only – this means for problems which the patient or their carer feels can’t safely wait until they are able to contact their own GP practice.”
If you are suffering from diarrhoea and vomiting symptoms please do not go to A&E. The Cwm Taf website contains advice about how to recognise and manage symptoms. For more advice contact NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47.
Advice to help you stay well over the Christmas holiday:
Repeat prescriptions - Help your GP to spend time on more serious cases by ordering repeat prescriptions in advance of the bank holiday.
Ask your pharmacist - local community pharmacists can provide advice and treatment for many minor or self-limiting conditions along with advice about any ongoing medication. There will be limited pharmacy opening on December 26 (details are available on the Cwm Taf website)
NHS Direct Wales – If you need information and advice about health, illness and health services (including phone numbers and opening times) to enable you to make decisions about your healthcare and that of your family, contact NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47.