My View, Nick Tupper: Spare a thought for NHS this Christmas

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As we enter a busy time for the NHS in Doncaster, here’s a quick guide to the local services that can provide health advice and care at short notice.

Most of Doncaster’s GP surgeries will be closed for up to four days in a row over the next two weeks due to this year’s Christmas and New Year bank holidays falling next to weekends.

So please, if you are on regular medication, check that you have enough to see you through the festivities and, if not, order a repeat prescription from your GP before Christmas Eve.

There will be GPs on duty in Doncaster all the time your own surgery is closed – day and night – and they are easy to contact. All you have to do is ring your normal surgery number and you will be automatically transferred through to the out-of-hours GP service, or an answerphone message will tell you the number to ring.

The Doncaster Same Day Health Centre, which opened a few weeks ago at Cavendish Court, on South Parade, is open every day of the year from 8am to 8pm. Ring 01302 123 3103 for an appointment – it’s not a walk-in – and you will be seen within 24 hours.

A lot of illnesses, or symptoms, can be treated at home by having a well-stocked medicine cabinet and by getting plenty of rest. Be prepared with essential medicines in case you get ill, such as aspirin and cough medicine. Your local pharmacist will be able to advise you.

Pharmacists are a mine of useful information and can be found on many local high streets across the borough. They are highly trained professionals who can give you advice on common illnesses and the medicines you need to treat them. Most pharmacies also have a quiet area for consultation if you need to speak to the pharmacist in private.

There are also minor injuries units based at Montagu Hospital, Mexborough; Goole Hospital and The New Selby Memorial Hospital, which are open every day, with the exception of Montagu, which doesn’t open on Christmas Day. They can treat injuries such as scalds, infected wounds, sprains, cuts, grazes and suspected broken bones.

The A&E sign at Doncaster Royal Infirmary stands for accident and emergency, not anything and everything, so please don’t go there unless you have a serious illness or are badly injured, as staff working there will be under a lot of pressure at this time of year. In fact, spare a thought for the many Doncaster health and social care staff who will be working through the holidays looking after local people.

Have a very Merry Christmas, stay safe and please remember to keep an eye on any elderly neighbours, particularly if they are living on their own. Many are too proud to ask for help, but they may need it.