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NHS says ‘Help us help you’ over Christmas and New Year

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NHS help is available to those in need throughout the Christmas and New Year period, but patients are urged to use services wisely.

On bank holidays, services will be reduced but anyone who needs medical assistance is encouraged to seek help and not put off their concerns.

  • The 111 service is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. 111 should be the ‘go to’ service when other services are closed or if a caller is not sure what sort of help they need. Either visit the website www.111.nhs.uk or dial 111. If a patient is assessed as needing an appointment, the 111 team can book in an appointment with a GP or at the nearest emergency department or urgent care centre.
  • GP practices are working together to provide services for patients on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Residents are advised to call their regular surgery where they will hear a recorded message explaining how to contact the nearest GP extended access hub, if the help of a GP or nurse is required.
  • A number of pharmacies will be open for a few hours on each public holiday. Pharmacists can offer advice on a range of issues and sell low-cost medicines to relieve symptoms. They are highly trained and will tell patients if something needs more urgent medical attention. For pharmacy opening times over the festive period, click here.
  • Those in need of urgent mental health support should call 111 and select option 2 to speak to specially trained staff. The Mental Health Helpline provided by Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust (HPFT) is available free 24/7 via 0800 6444 101. There is also an option to use a webchat service, www.hpft.nhs.uk, from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday.
  • For those with Covid-19 symptoms, testing sites across Hertfordshire will be open every day over Christmas and New Year to ensure that patients can get a test quickly and easily. To book, visit www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119.

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