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​Make sure you get the right NHS help this Christmas


Lewisham residents are being asked to consider how they use their local hospitals over the festive season, as doctors and nurses continue to provide round the clock care throughout one of the busiest times of the year.

Throughout Christmas and the New Year, some NHS services, such as GP Practices and pharmacies, are not open as long. Together with the cold weather and seasonal viruses such as flu doing the rounds, this means that many doctors and nurses will be spending the festive season delivering much needed care to patients.

However, it's worth remembering that whilst some services may not be open as long, there is a wide range of NHS services that can provide urgent advice and treatment in addition to A&E. 

Whether you've slipped and fallen on the ice; cut your hand carving the turkey; or strained your back putting up the tree, choosing the right NHS service for your symptoms means you'll be seen quickly and get the treatment you need. It also eases the pressure on A&E and 999 services meaning they can concentrate on helping those with life-threatening conditions who are most in need of their care.

To support our hardworking doctors and nurses, this Christmas, NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group will be tweeting 'The 12 days of Christmas' with a difference. The tweets will remind people that alternative services to A&E are available, and that this winter, you should only visit A&E if it is a serious, life threatening emergency. Each day we will be sharing a tweet about a seasonal ailment and the best place to get it treated during the holiday season.

Dr Marc Rowland, says: "There are a number of NHS services available that can treat you much quicker than A&E if you feel unwell this Christmas. We know it can sometimes be confusing knowing which one is right for you when you're not feeling 100 per cent. That's why we'll be tweeting this Christmas to reach out to local people with some examples of illnesses and injuries typical at this time of year, and advice on where they can be best treated."

The Health Help Now app is a really useful tool for local residents to find the best NHS service to meet their needs anywhere in Lewisham. To find out more go to the website: http://www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net/ or search on your smart phone app store for 'health help now'. 

Remember, you can call NHS 111 24 hours a day, seven days a week for urgent medical advice and support, or visit www.nhs.uk to find the right service out of hours.'

During the festive season, self-care is the best for hangovers; treat this at home simply by combining a well-stocked medicine cabinet with plenty of rest.  For minor ailments, local pharmacists can provide expert advice on how to help manage illnesses, as well as providing guidance on the best treatments.