A national health campaign urging people in Scotland to prepare for the winter period was launched today.
A group of children were joined at Glasgow's Snow Factor by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Alex Neil and NHS 24's Director of Nursing and Care, Sheena Wright, to launch the Be Ready for Winter campaign.
The NHS Scotland campaign advises people that by re-stocking their medicine cabinet, checking their repeat prescriptions and knowing when their GP surgery is closed, they can ensure they are well prepared for the winter.
Alex Neil said: “Just a few simple steps like finding out what services are open and stocking up your medicine cupboard can help prevent winter coughs and colds from spoiling the holiday season. It will also ensure that emergency lifesaving services are kept free for those who really need them.”
This year, GP surgeries will be closed for two days at Christmas (Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th December) and again for two days at New Year (Tuesday 1st and Wednesday 2nd January).
NHS 24's Director of Nursing and Care Sheena Wright said: “I would urge people to take the time now to re-stock their medicine cabinet with items such as paracetamol, cough mixture, throat lozenges and cold and flu treatments, to deal with any winter ailments that may inevitably strike.
"Your local pharmacist is a good source of information and advice on re-stocking your medicine cabinet. If you need to visit your GP, try to schedule an appointment before the festive period and submit your repeat prescription request in plenty of time. Remember you can also access urgent out of hours GP services through NHS 24.”
The national Be Ready for Winter campaign is supported by NHS Scotland in partnership with NHS 24, the Scottish Ambulance Service, all 14 Scottish Health Boards and the British Medical Association in Scotland.
Dr Alan McDevitt, Chairman of the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said: “While it’s important to be prepared, patients should be reassured that over the holiday season, even if their GP surgery is closed, they will be able to see a GP if they need to. Anyone experiencing health problems during the holidays should contact NHS 24 for advice.”
Age Scotland spokesperson Doug Anthoney said: "We welcome this initiative and encourage older people in Scotland to follow the advice it offers. With our free Hot Tips calendar you can also find out about steps that you can take all year round to make sure that you stay safe, warm and well in winter."
General advice and information on how to stay healthy this winter can be found at www.nhsinform.co.uk/winter or contact NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88.