How to stay well over Christmas and New Year

Doctors in North Yorkshire are urging patients to check their stocks of repeat medication ahead of the Christmas period.

With most GP practices closed for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, other local NHS services often experience increased demand, with the NHS 111 telephone service receiving high volumes of calls from patients who have run out of their vital medication.

NHS Hambleton Richmondshire and Whitby, NHS Harrogate and Rural District and NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are asking patients to check their repeat prescriptions to make sure they have enough medication to see them over the Christmas period.

Dr Charles Parker, the clinical lead for NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG, said: “While we do ask patients to only ‘order’ repeat prescriptions when necessary, it is really important people have enough to see them through periods when their GP practice is closed, such as the Christmas period.

“By ensuring they have enough of their prescription medication, patients will be doing their bit for the NHS by freeing up urgent care services for people with more serious health problems.”

Patients are also being asked to remember that their usual pharmacy may be closed at times over the Christmas period, though other local pharmacies may be available. You can find details of pharmacy opening times in your area on your local CCG website.

If patients feel they need urgent health care over the festive period, they should dial 111. If appropriate, patients may then get an appointment at one of the local urgent treatment centres.

If it’s an illness or injury that is serious or life threatening, patients should always call 999 for an ambulance or go to the nearest emergency department.

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People experiencing anxiety and depression this Christmas encouraged to seek help through talking therapy

Published on Nov 29, 2018

North Yorkshire GPs are urging residents to seek help if the strains of Christmas begin to take a toll on mental health.

With the pressure to socialise, temptation to overindulge and finances stretched, this can be a particularly stressful time of year.

The inclement winter weather and dark days mean it can also be especially difficult for people who are alone or have been bereaved.

NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging residents to refer themselves to an NHS talking therapy service in North Yorkshire known as IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies), if they feel they are at a low ebb.

Dr Peter Billingsley, Associate Chair of NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the clinical lead on mental health, said: “We know that the winter and festive period is particularly challenging for people who experience mental health difficulties. If you, or someone you care for, start to feel the need for mental health support, you can contact the IAPT service directly which means you don’t have to see your GP first.

“We also think it’s important for patients to know that the IAPT service is not a crisis or urgent response service for people who are severely unwell. You should always dial 999 in a medical emergency, call NHS 111 for any urgent concerns or ring your local GP practice if you feel IAPT is not for you and you are looking for alternative support.

“You can also visit to find contact details for your local crisis support team.”

One in four people will experience difficulties in their mental health at some point in their lives. Significant events or a build-up of stresses such as work place problems, a change in life circumstances, a traumatic event or a specific phobia could lead to difficulties managing mental wellbeing. Problems with low mood, depression and anxiety can develop and make it difficult for us to cope with life’s daily demands.

IAPT can support people experiencing mild to moderate difficulties with any of the following:


anxiety and worry

panic attacks

health anxiety

social phobia

specific phobias

post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Andrew Wright, North Yorkshire IAPT Service Manager with the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust said: “To make sure IAPT is right for you, you will be offered a focused initial assessment over the phone, (alternative arrangements can be made if required).

“At the end of the assessment you will be directed to the most appropriate support for your needs. This might include guided self-learning, attending a psychoeducational course, computerised guided self-help, or in some cases cognitive behavioural therapy.

“If you would prefer to discuss things with your GP first, please make an appointment. Your GP can also help you refer to IAPT, or to a suitable alternative.”

IAPT is a national NHS programme to increase the availability of talking therapy treatments recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to treat anxiety and depression.

More information can be found here:, or dial 01947 899270 if you are a patient registered at a GP practice in the NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG area.

Local IAPT service contact details for patient self-referrals:

Northallerton, Gibraltar House, Thurston Road, Northallerton, DL6 2NA

01609 768890

Whitby (also for NHS Scarborough and Ryedale CCG patients), Whitby Hospital, Springhill, Whitby, YO21 1EE

01947 899270

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