Senior doctors in Doncaster are urging local people to choose their health services wisely over the festive season.
From Monday 21 December, many GP surgeries and pharmacies will begin to run reduced opening times, with a select few remaining open during holiday period. Health professionals throughout Doncaster are asking local people to collect any repeat prescriptions they need ahead of time, ensuring a safe and healthy festive break.
December is traditionally one the busiest months for Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH). In 2019, the Trust saw record-breaking demand within its Emergency Departments at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Bassetlaw Hospital, with over 16,250 attendances.
Dr Tim Noble, Medical Director and Respiratory Consultant, said: “With only a few days left until Christmas, we understand that many will be making plans and arrangements for the festive period. We’re asking local people to make their health part of these preparations – collecting their prescription medicines as needed, as well as understanding what services are available should they, or a family member, become ill or injured.
“Please remember to only use the Emergency Department when it’s just that – an emergency. However, if you do feel ill during Christmas, you can still seek advice by calling NHS 111, booking an appointment at the Doncaster Same Day Health Centre and if it’s really urgent, calling 999.”
With Covid-19 restrictions in place, and the potential for opportunistic illness and injuries reduced as a result, the service is currently seeing fewer attendances than last year, but over the weekend (12 and 13 December) still cared for its 5,000th patient in the month.
Dr David Crichton, GP and Chair of NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “2020 has been a very busy year and the additional pressures on services in the winter months makes this even more of a challenge. I would encourage everyone to take time to familiarise themselves with the wide range of local health services which are available to Doncaster residents over the festive period. There is always someone available to speak to; the NHS 111 telephone and online services are always open, we also have 24 hour local pharmacies in the borough for minor ailments. If you do need additional medical advice the Same Day Health Centre and GP Out of Hours service can advise and arrange a face to face appointment if needed.”
Local health professionals would also like to stress the importance of adhering to relevant Covid-19 guidance throughout the festive period. Dr Noble continues: “While we are all looking forward to the holidays, please continue the good work you have all been engaged within for the past number of months. Observe hands, face and space, and try and make any Christmas celebrations as safe as possible.”
In Doncaster, a wide range of primary care services exist, to help keep people fit and healthy. These include pharmacies, local practice, Doncaster Same Day Health Centre, the GP out of hour’s service and community nurses. So whatever issue or complaint people have, there is always a service that can provide the right information, support, advice and treatment. Head to http://www.doncasterccg.nhs.uk/your-care/primary-care/ to find out more.