While we may be celebrating this Christmas and New Year differently, your local NHS will still be here to support the whole family.
A range of services and support will be available throughout the bank holidays, from mental health support, GP appointments, emergency dentists and Urgent Treatment Centres or Minor Injuries Units.
While we continue to work in different ways to support the NHS response to coronavirus, we are all here for you. Please do get in touch if you are feeling unwell or are worried about a child or someone you care for, and we can find the right way to support you.
If you need support from your GP while the practice is open before the Christmas and New Year bank holidays, please visit their website or give them a call and the team will advise of the best way to get in touch with a GP or nurse – this could be over the phone, a video consultation or a face to face appointment if you do need to be seen in person.
During the bank holidays when your GP practice is shut, or whenever you need support and aren’t sure who to contact, the NHS 111 service should be your first point of call. The team at 111 can arrange an out of hours GP appointment, provide specialist mental health support, put you in touch with an emergency dentist and even book an appointment slot at a local Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC), Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) or the Emergency Department. You can contact the 111 team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week online at 111.nhs.uk or by calling 111.
Of course for life-threatening physical or mental health emergencies, you should continue to call 999 or visit the Emergency Department immediately.
We know it can be difficult not seeing family and friends this Christmas and the restrictions are impacting us all differently, so it is really important we take care of our wellbeing. The NHS Every Mind Matters website (https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus) has lots of useful resources for looking after your wellbeing, including support for parents, dealing with money worries and loneliness. And Solent Mind has a great Winter Wellbeing Toolkit, to support your own and others wellbeing this festive season.
If you do need mental health support, you can access specialist help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by contacting NHS 111 online (111.nhs.uk) or phoning 111 and the Mental Health Triage Service can find the right local service for you. We have also included details of additional local support available in the mental health section, below.
If you are under the care of mental health services, you should continue to contact your care team as usual. In life-threatening emergencies, where there is a danger to yours or someone else’s life, always call 999 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.
While you may be busy finishing your Christmas shopping list, don’t forget to check you have enough medication, particularly if you take repeat prescriptions, and order ahead in good time. A number of pharmacies will be open over the Christmas and New Year bank holidays but these will be to provide urgent prescriptions and essential over-the-counter medication. The list of opening times are available at https://www.england.nhs.uk/south-east/our-work/pharmacy-opening-hours – please call ahead to check the pharmacy is open and has the medicine you need before travelling.
Before visiting any health or care service this festive season, please always call ahead first, unless you have an appointment, and do not visit if you have any of the symptoms of coronavirus. Find out what to do if you think you have symptoms and guidance on self-isolating at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19 or by calling 111 if you can’t get online. And for the latest guidance on coronavirus restrictions in your local area, visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Support is also available for people who are vulnerable or self-isolating and who do not have support from families, friends or their local community and who may need urgent assistance with practical issues. Find out more from the local helpline numbers available below.
However you are celebrating Christmas this year, please remember to follow the latest guidance in your area. If you’re out and about, always wash your hands, cover your face and make space. Doing your bit to help prevent the spread of coronavirus helps to protect you, your friends, family and those in our community who may be more vulnerable.
The following services are also available to help you and your family stay well
Pharmacists are an essential part of the NHS and need your help and support during the pandemic. Please treat staff with respect. They are doing their best to provide you with the medicines and advice you need.
If you have a prescription to collect and are self-isolating:
For everyone else, if you are going into a pharmacy in person, follow social distancing rules and the rules put in place by the pharmacy to protect you and their staff. Sales of some medicines may be restricted in quantity by pharmacies to ensure that there is enough for everyone.
Festive pharmacy opening times are available at https://www.england.nhs.uk/south-east/our-work/pharmacy-opening-hours.
Mental health support
As well as the support outlined above, local services are also available. If you aren’t sure what to do or who to contact, contact the 111 service online (111.nhs.uk) or over the phone and the team will find the right support for you.
Urgent Treatment Centres and Minor Injuries Units
Urgent Treatment Centres (UTCs) and Minor Injuries Units (MIUs) can help with a number of conditions including:
If you need to visit a UTC or MIU, local details are below and you can now call 111 or visit 111 online (111.nhs.uk) before visiting to book an appointment slot.
Southampton – the Royal South Hants Urgent Treatment Centre (0333 999 7613), on the site of the Royal South Hants Hospital, Brintons Terrace, is open 8am – 8pm every day (including bank holidays) – with the last walk in patient accepted at 7.30pm. For an updated list of what the service treats, visit https://www.southamptonutc.nhs.uk.
Support for people who are vulnerable
If you need support while you stay at home and are vulnerable or self-isolating and do not have support from family or friends, there is help available to support you.