Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) is urging its local community, and in particular, parents, to keep A&E off the Christmas wish list this year and prepare for the festive period by stocking up on not just food and drink.
The Trust’s Deputy Medical Director and Consultant Paediatrician, Dr Martin Farrier has put together a list of the key items that should be included in first aid boxes to help avoid an unnecessary trip to the emergency department, and the best places to call for care if you do need help, in the first instance.
He said: “Stocking up doesn’t just need to be about presents and festive treats. Store cupboard staples such as Calpol and Ibuprofen will also reduce the symptoms of coughs and colds at Christmas, keeping those sniffles and sore throats at bay as best you can, so make sure they’re readily available for you as and when you need them.
“Medicines such as paracetamol, anti-inflammatory gels, antihistamines and indigestion relief will also all play their part in combatting any of those over-indulgences or seasonal aches and pains.”
While no one wants to be ill over festive period, help is available for you, should you need it, though, as GPs and pharmacies tend to have limited services at this time, planning ahead is advised – especially when it comes to long term conditions.
“It makes all the difference to your healthcare providers if you arrive in the right place at the right time, and planning is key over the Christmas and New Year Bank Holiday period,” said Dr Farrier, “by submitting your repeat prescriptions to the GP early, you’re helping everyone to help you.
“While there will be limited GP services, they are a sensible first port of call for most illnesses but if it is more urgent than your GP surgery can manage, contacting NHS 111 is your next place to seek help.”
However, Dr Farrier is keen to stress that WWL’s emergency department (A&E) will be available to those people with serious or life or limb-threatening situations.
He said: “Even with the best planning, not everyone will avoid seeing me or my colleagues this Christmas and, if you do need us, we will be there. Though, like most NHS organisations across the country, WWL is experiencing consistent pressure on our urgent and emergency care system, which can mean longer waits, so please only attend our Emergency Department with genuine emergencies or life-threatening illnesses.”