Are you Winter Ready? Stay Well this Festive season

19 December 2019

Now we’re on the final countdown to Christmas, local GPs are advising patients to plan ahead and reminding Surrey Heartlands’ residents where they can access expert medical treatment to help them stay well during the Christmas holidays this year.

Dr Russell Hills, local GP and Chair of Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group said: “At such a busy and exciting time of year, it’s important that people take some time to prepare for any existing health conditions, and know what to do should they or a member of their family become ill over the festive period”.

“For those with long term health conditions, our advice is to check whether you are up to date with your medication and if necessary, order and collect any repeat prescriptions in advance of Christmas Day, so as not to run the risk of running out of medication and ending up seriously ill over the bank holidays”.

“Now is also a good time to double check that home medicine cabinets are well stocked with over-the-counter remedies so that minor illnesses and injuries can be managed at home – over-the-counter painkillers are highly effective at relieving most minor aches and pains, and antihistamines are useful for dealing with hayfever, allergies and insect bites – all saving you trips to your GP, and more time to spend on Christmas festivities”.


But what should people do if they feel unwell?

During the Christmas period, GP surgeries and pharmacies may operate different opening hours but there is plenty of help across Surrey for those needing advice and support.

We want all Surrey residents to know what to do if they need urgent medical help or are unsure,” says Dr Charlotte Canniff, a local GP and Clinical Chair of North West Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group.

If you think you need medical help and it’s urgent, or you are unsure what to do, call 111 – the free NHS number which is available 24/7 including Christmas day and Boxing Day. Trained staff can connect you with a nurse, doctor, or mental health nurse, and if required, book you an appointment at an out-of-hours service”.

“Pharmacies can also provide useful advice and deal with minor ailments without you having to see your GP about winter bugs like coughs, colds, sore throats, stomach upsets and flu”.

Above all the NHS is urging residents to only use Accident and Emergency at your local hospital for critical or life threatening illness or injury, and make use of the many alternative – and often quicker – services in the area.

For those who find the festive period a little more challenging, and might who struggle with their mental health, there are a number of services open to all Surrey residents, including specialised services for children and young adults. Full details can be found at


For a full list of Surrey Pharmacies and their opening hours over Christmas and New Year, visit

For GP opening times and more information on extended access appointments, contact your GP.