Ordering prescription medicines in advance of Christmas

Residents in North Yorkshire and York who are on repeat medication are being urged to order in advance of Christmas week to avoid running out.

In the run-up to Christmas, pharmacy processing times may take a little longer than usual because of the volume of prescriptions.

NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Vale of York CCG advise people should order their repeat prescriptions 7-14 days in advance (usually repeat prescriptions are ordered seven days before they are due) to ensure they are ready to collect before the Christmas holidays.

Some GP surgeries and pharmacies are specifically asking patients to order their repeat medication by 10 December to ensure it’s ready before Christmas Eve – and by 17 December if it’s needed before New Year’s Eve.

Dr Nigel Wells, NHS Vale of York CCG Clinical Chair, said: “The lead-up to Christmas can be a busy time for the NHS and local health services, so those on repeat prescriptions are advised to order them well in advance so they can enjoy the festive season in good health.

“Having a medicine cabinet at home with some simple over-the-counter remedies like paracetamol, ibuprofen, and anti-diarrhoea tablets is also recommended so you can treat any common illnesses or ailments yourself, without needing to see a GP.

“Many winter illnesses are self-limiting, which means they will clear up on their own so they can be treated at home using over-the-counter products from your local pharmacy.”

NHS North Yorkshire CCG prescribing lead, Dr Tim Rider, added: “Christmas can be a busy time so it’s easy to forget to order prescriptions, but taking a few minutes to order and collect any essential medicine you will require well in advance will save you a lot of anxiety over the holidays.

“If you order your repeat medication directly via your GP Practice, please be patient – surgeries across North Yorkshire and York are exceptionally busy at the moment. The easiest and quickest way to order your repeat medicine is via the NHS App, or GP Online Services – you can do this from the comfort of your own home, without having to leave the house.”

Ian Dean, Chief Executive Officer of Community Pharmacy North Yorkshire, said: “Before you order, please check what medicines you already have at home and only order the items that you need and please do not stockpile medicines. Excess supplies of medicines at home can be dangerous and is also wasteful. Once dispensed, medicines cannot be re-used and have to be destroyed.”

While the majority of GP surgeries are closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, some pharmacies in the Vale of York and North Yorkshire will be open and are the best place to go for help with minor health concerns.

Please check with local Community Pharmacy for their opening hours, as they will vary over the Christmas and New Year period. More information can be found on the NHS website at www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-Pharmacy

You should use the NHS 111 phone or online service if you require urgent medical help or advice for a non-life-threatening condition; or call 999 if you have a medical emergency, such as breathing difficulties, chest pains or if you’ve been in a serious accident.