Time running out for people needing repeat prescriptions before Christmas

29/10/2015 Stock image for corporate communications use by NHS Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group.

Pharmacist Ben Holbrook of the Larkhall Pharmacy in Bath helps promote Ask Your Pharmacist week.

The cut-off date for people in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire who need to order their repeat prescription ahead of the busy festive season is fast approaching.

To ensure that medicine can be ordered and collected ahead of the Christmas and New Year period, when many pharmacies will be closed or operating with reduced opening hours, people must get their repeat prescriptions in no later than Friday 16 December.

After this date, pharmacies across the region will not be able to guarantee that medicine will be ready for collection on or before Friday 23 December, which for many sites will be the last day before January with normal opening hours.

Nadine Fox, Director of Medicines Optimisation, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “We really do not want any person to be caught out this Christmas by not having enough medicine.  

“Ordering repeat prescriptions early not only ensures people can start enjoying the festivities safe in the knowledge they have enough of what they need to stay well, but also helps our pharmacy colleagues to effectively manage all requests that come in.

“It’s no secret that all NHS services are incredibly busy at this time of year, and anything that people can do to help take some of the pressure off, such as making sure they have sufficient medication, will be greatly appreciated.”

Although most pharmacies in the region will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, a select number of outlets will remain open on the bank holidays.

Opening hours for all pharmacies for the entire festive period are set to be released in the coming days.

People are advised to keep their eyes on the ICB’s social media pages and website, where all the upcoming closures and opening times will be listed.

Helen Wilkinson, Community Pharmacy Clinical Lead, said: “Community pharmacies are a fantastic addition to the local health and care system, with most sites able to provide more than just a repeat prescription service.

“Pharmacists are not only experts in medicine, but, as qualified healthcare professionals, they can also give out excellent health and care advice, with most pharmacy locations having a private consultation room in which people can discuss their symptoms in absolute confidence.

“Additionally, pharmacists can provide information on common over-the-counter medicines that can help with a wide range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats and tummy trouble.

“If a person’s symptoms suggest something more serious, pharmacists can then signpost and, wherever necessary, refer people to alternative services.”

Christmas and New Year opening hours for all local pharmacies will be available shortly at www.bsw.icb.nhs.uk, which is also the go-to location for up-to-date information on all local health and care services.