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Featured Monday, Dec 10 2018

Healthcare and advice available over Christmas and New Year


Residents of East Berkshire are being advised on how they can access healthcare and advice over the Christmas and New Year period.

Sarah Bellars, Director of Nursing, NHS East Berkshire CCG said “We want people to know that should they unfortunately become unwell over the Christmas and New Year period, help is at hand.

“If your GP practice is closed and it is not a 999 emergency, then you are advised to call NHS 111. They can give health advice, direct you to the most appropriate service and if needed, can book you an appointment to see a health care professional. The call is free of charge and the service is available 24 hours a day.  This means no lengthy waits in hospital waiting rooms with other potentially unwell people.

“Alternatively, you can visit one of our three Urgent Care facilities or a selected number of pharmacies for minor illnesses such as coughs and colds. To help ensure the NHS delivers an effective service for all over the festive period, people should only visit A&E or call 999 for major, life-threatening illnesses and injuries.”

Most GP practices across Slough, Bracknell, Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead will continue to operate a normal service until Monday 24 December. We do however advise that you check with your individual practice.

Patients should ensure that they have sufficient medication to cover them over the holiday period and ensure that any request for repeat prescriptions are ideally made by Wednesday 19 December.

The ‘Extended hours Service’, which offers evening and weekend appointments for people who find it difficult to take time off work, or have other commitments during daytime hours, will also continue to operate as normal on both, Christmas and New Year’s Eve (24th and 31st December). We are arranging for some additional GP capacity on the 25th and 26th December as well as 1st January. People are reminded that these are pre-bookable appointments via their individual GP surgeries only and appointments cannot be booked on the day. If you would like to book an appointment, please speak to your GP practice reception staff today.

All GP practices will be closed on Christmas Day (25/12) and Boxing Day (26/12). However, people will still be able to access GP care, whether this is for an urgent appointment or medical advice, by calling NHS 111 or online via www.111.nhs.uk

Our three Urgent Care facilities will be open throughout Christmas and New Year period with walk-in services available for people at Bracknell Urgent Care Centre (BUCC), Slough Walk-In Centre (SWIC) and St Mark’s Urgent Care Centre (SMUCC) in Maidenhead. Here are their opening hours:

  • BUCC is open 8am-8pm, 7 days a week (including Bank Holidays) – no change to opening times over Xmas and New Year
  • SWIC is open 8am-8pm, 7 days a week (including Bank Holidays) – no change to opening times over Xmas and New Year
  • St Mark’s UCC is open 8:30am -5pm on weekdays / 8:30am – 1pm on weekends and Bank Holidays – no change to opening times over Xmas and New Year

People may also seek medical advice from local pharmacies, some of which will be operating on restricted opening hours between 24 December – 1 January. Click here for pharmacy opening times.

Having a well-stocked medicine cabinet can help you take care of yourself and family at home. Don’t forget to make sure you have all your routine medicines such as pain relief for adults and children so you are not caught out.

Pharmacy opening hours on Bank Holidays are subject to change. Patients are therefore advised to check if pharmacies are open by telephone before making a journey.

GP practices and the ‘Extended GP hours service’ will be open as normal on the 27th & 28th December, with some additional clinical capacity in place to help with any increased demand.

On Tuesday 1 January 2019, all GP practices will again close with people advised to use 111, walk-in centres or pharmacies.

All services will resume as normal from Wednesday 2 January 2019 with additional clinical capacity at the Extended GP hours Service again in place to help deal with any increased demand.