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Guide to local NHS services available over Christmas period

Local residents are being urged to use NHS services wisely and ensure they choose the right service for their illness or injury over the Christmas and New Year break. 

GP surgeries will close at their normal time on Friday, 22 December and due to the bank holidays, will not re-open until Wednesday, 27 December.  GP surgeries will also be closed on Monday 1 January 2018. 

During this time there will be a wide range of local NHS services available. From pharmacies open on Christmas Day to NHS 111, which is open 24/7 every day, alternative services available include: 

NHS 111
NHS 111 can help you if you need medical help or advice urgently but it’s not a life-threatening situation. Open 24/7, 365 days a year, NHS 111 connects you to a team of fully trained call advisers who are supported by experienced nurses, paramedics, and GPs.  

They will ask questions to assess the symptoms, and give healthcare advice or direct you to a local NHS service. If necessary, they can also call an ambulance or direct you straight to A&E. Calls to NHS 111 are free from a landline or mobile phone. Just dial 111.

Urgent GP appointments will be available over the Christmas holidays. To find out what is available please contact your GP practice. 

When your GP practice is closed you can access the GP out-of-hours service by calling NHS 111.  The NHS 111 team will assess your condition over the phone and if they think you need to be seen by a health professional, they will refer you to the OOH GP service.

Many minor illnesses can be treated at home with basic medicines that are available from your local pharmacy. Stocking up on essential medicines can help you avoid a trip to the GP or even A&E. Medicine cabinet essentials include:      

  • painkillers such as aspirin, paracetamol, and ibuprofen         
  • anti-diarrhoea tablets and rehydration powders  
  • indigestion treatment  
  • bandages and plasters  
  • antiseptic cream or spray  
  • first aid kit 

Local pharmacies can offer expert advice and treatment for a wide range of common conditions and minor injuries. Pharmacies are open across the area during Christmas and New Year; some are even open on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day.  Find one open near you:

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
East and North Hertfordshire

Pharmacies can help with a range of things including aches, hangovers, colds, emergency contraception, and non-prescription medication. General opening times for pharmacies can be found HERE. 

Minor Illness and Injury Units  
There are a number of Minor Illness and Injury Units (MIIU) across the county that can treat a range of minor illnesses and injuries such as sprains and strains, broken bones, minor burns and scalds, minor head and eye injuries, bites and stings. No appointment required, opening hours over the Christmas and New Year period are as follows: 

  • Peterborough MIIU
    Monday – Sunday: 8am-8pm
    Christmas Day: open 8am-8pm
    Bank holidays: open 8am-8pm
  • Ely MIU
    Monday – Friday: 8.30am-6pm
    Saturday/Sunday: 8.30-6pm
    Bank holidays: 8.30-6pm
    Christmas Day: open 8.30am – 6pm
  • Doddington MIU
    Monday – Friday: 8.30am-6pm
    Saturday/Sunday: 9am-5pm
    Bank holidays: 9am-5pm
    Christmas Day and New Year’s Day - closed
Mental Health – 111 option 2

There is a new First Response Service (FRS) in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough which gives those in mental health crisis the opportunity to get access to help quickly, by calling NHS 111 and selecting option 2*.

The new service allows patients or carers to speak to specially-trained mental health staff who can provide advice, support, and signposting to other services. The service is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Click HERE for further information. Calls to NHS 111 are free from a landline or mobile phone.

*Patients registered with practices in Wisbech can access the service via dialling 111. The call handler will then transfer them direct to the FRS service.

Dental emergency and out-of-hours care
If you think you need urgent care, contact your usual dentist as some practices offer emergency dental slots and will provide care if necessary. You can also call NHS 111, who can put you in touch with an urgent dental service.