Where to get healthcare out-of-hours this Christmas
UK Doctor’s surgeries will be
closed for four days over Christmas, but research from Which?* shows
that many people don’t know what healthcare services are available
out-of-hours or are unclear about which service they should use.
Although more than a third (35%) of those surveyed had used an
out-of-hours healthcare service in the past year, there was lack of
knowledge about what services are available and when they can be
used. More than half (52%) of the people Which? surveyed
didn’t know that they could call an out-of-hours GP service when
their surgery was closed.
Which? has the following guide to the options available and when
they should be accessed:-
NHS Direct (England & Wales) / NHS 24 (Scotland)
► Provides confidential telephone advice 24 hours a day, every day
of the year
► Use for general health information or advice, or if you are unsure
what treatment or advice you need; their websites also
contain useful health information
► NHS Direct is on 0845 46 47 or
► NHS 24 is on 08454 242424 or
Out-of-hours GP services
► Your surgery answerphone should tell you what to do when the
surgery is closed or connect you to an out-of-hours service
► Use when you need advice quickly but the condition is not
► You may receive telephone advice or a home visit, or be asked to
visit a GP.
Walk-in-services (urgent care centres, sometimes called
‘walk-in centres’ or ‘minor injuries units’)
► Treat minor illnesses and injuries and are usually open from early
morning to late evening, seven days a week (check on NHS Direct or
► You don’t have to make an appointment but it’s worth phoning ahead
to check that they can treat you or a family member.
► Offer an increasing range of services, which may include advice
about minor ailments and certain medicines; some may be open until
Accident & Emergency
► Use for emergency injuries and illnesses, such as breathing
difficulties, blood loss and suspected broken bones. Usually
open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
► Use 999 (or the European-wide 112) when someone needs immediate
emergency care, such as for a suspected heart attack or major
Nikki Ratcliff, Head of Services Research, Which?, says:-
“Nobody likes to think about the possibility of getting ill or
getting injured at Christmas, but unfortunately it can happen, so
it’s best to be prepared. Make sure you know what services are
available in your area, what they’re for and how to access them so
that if you do need to seek help, you know where to go.
The emergency services are facing their busiest time of year and
receiving an unprecedented number of calls, so avoid calling 999 or
visiting A&E unless it’s a genuine emergency, and instead consider
the other health services that are available.”
the 12th Day of Christmas, My Pharmacy sold to me...
Click above to read this very funny
cartoon, with thanks to
Pharmacies in Liverpool - (one on Argyle Street, Ropewalks and one
on Everton Road, West Everton) are open on
Christmas Eve and New Years Eve; Ropewalks from 8.30am to 3pm on
both days and West Everton from 8.30am to 6pm. They are closed
Christmas Day and New Years Day and operating at normal opening
hours of 8.30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
Working Time opt-out in jeopardy after North West’s Labour MEPs vote
to scrap it
on 18 December 2008,Labour MEPs,including your local North West MEPs
have voted to undermine the ability of British workers to choose how
many hours they work, at the worst possible time for the British
economy, Sajjad Karim, local Conservative MEP, warned this week.
The UK and 14 other EU countries are able to opt-out of the
stipulation in the Working Time Directive that workers can put in no
more than a 48 hour week. However, a long campaign by
socialist MEPs, this was led by British Labour MEP Stephen Hughes
who has fought to scrap the opt-out.
The European Parliament held a vote on the matter on Wednesday in
which more than half of all MEPs voted against the opt-out. 12
Labour MEPs joined them, whilst five sided with their own government
in retaining a worker's ability to choose.
MEPs are now at odds with national governments of the EU, who agreed
in June that they would defend the right of countries and workers to
opt-out. The matter will now be settled in a 'conciliation'
which brings together representatives of the parliament and national
governments to find a solution. As a majority of EU countries
now use the opt-out, Conservatives will be pressing the government
to ensure the Council of Ministers does not give ground.
Sajjad Karim MEP said:- "Labour MEPs from the North West have
defied Gordon Brown and defied British workers. Socialist MEPs
have won the battle today, but they must not be allowed to win the
Workers in (REGION) will be disappointed to hear their MEPs think
they know best about how many hours they are allowed to work.
work extra hours either to pay the bills, or to rise up the ladder;
how dare Labour MEPs stand in their way. Scrapping our Working
Time opt-out is even more nonsensical in today's economic climate
than ever before.
The British government must dig in and defend the opt-out. 15
EU nations now take advantage of the flexibility provided by the
opt-out and none of them should back down."