Four-day closures at GP practices

THE festive closing dates for all GP practices and health centres in the Borders have been announced.

They will close from Christmas Day until Tuesday, December 28, and New Year’s Day until Tuesday, January 4.

NHS Borders advises anyone unwell during that time who cannot wait until their GP surgery reopens to contact the NHS 24 helpline on 08454 242424. If the condition is life threatening, dial 999 for an emergency ambulance.

All community pharmacies will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Many will also be closed, or open for limited periods, on the other public holidays. Visit www.nhsborders.org.uk for opening times.

Dr Sheena MacDonald, associate medical director and chair of primary and community services for nhs borders, said: “It’s important for everyone, particularly elderly people, to take a few simple steps so they are prepared if they are unlucky enough to catch a cough or cold.

“Pharmacists can often provide the best help and advice on restocking your medicine cabinet.”

Dr George Crooks, medical director of NHS 24, said: “There will be two four-day closures this year, so it is essential that everyone is prepared and knows exactly when their local services are available and how to access them.

“Families and elderly people, in particular, should know when their local GP and pharmacy are open over the Christmas and New Year period.”

NHS Scotland is reminding Borderers of its Be Ready for Winter campaign, urging people to restock their medicine cabinet with remedies to treat common winter ailments.

The campaign encourages people to ask pharmacists for help in treating common winter ailments, use routine doctor’s appointments where possible, and only rely on out-of-hours services when they can’t wait to see their own doctor.