GP surgeries and pharmacist teams say they are ready for the challenges of winter.
Business continuity plans are in place to ensure pharmacy and GP services across winter are able to help the public get emergency medication when they need it.
Pharmacies and surgeries are also playing a vital part in providing flu vaccinations to the public. Getting the flu jab is one of the best ways of protecting yourself from and preventing the spread of flu.
A network of community pharmacies provides the NHS Urgent Medicines Supply Advanced Service (NUMSAS). This enables pharmacies to receive direct referrals from NHS111, when a patient calls for emergency supplies of medicines if they are unable to access their normal service. Patients are referred to registered pharmacies for a consultation and the dispensing of urgent medication if appropriate.
Across Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and South Cumbria teams have helped 23,697 patients with urgent medicines request in the last 12 months.
A new initiative has also been launched with pharmacies across Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and South Cumbria to support patients with taking new medicines when they leave hospital.
The scheme is called Transfers of Care Around Medicines (TCAM) and it involves community pharmacists providing advice to patients about their new medicines after they are discharged from hospital, reducing the chances of them having to be re-admitted.
NHS England’s medical director for Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and South Cumbria, Dr Kieran Murphy, said: “Last year was challenging in terms of weather and our GP, pharmacy, dental and ophthalmology staff really went the extra mile to provide services.
“We have plans in place to ensure provision across the region, and we are also asking the public to think carefully about which service they use and to get their flu jab.
“Using your local pharmacy for advice on minor illnesses is a quick way to get expert help and NHS.UK and the NHS child health app are excellent sources of advice. If you have an urgent medical need, call 111 or go to 111.nhs.uk.”
GP extended access services, usually provided in hubs across Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and South Cumbria now offer additional GP and nurse appointments for patients, which are available in the evenings and over the weekend, with services also available over the festive period. Patients can find out more about local extended access services from their practice reception or on their practice website.