This year, many GP surgeries will be closed on Saturday, December 24 and reopen on Wednesday, December 28.
The New Year break is from Saturday, 31 December and surgeries will reopen again on Wednesday, January 4, 2017.
Local opening times may vary so it is advisable to check. NHS 24’s Medical Director Professor George Crooks explains: “It is important people know where to go if they need health advice or information over the holidays.
“GP surgery opening times may vary across Scotland so it is vital you know when your local surgery will be available. Pharmacies can help with treatments for common complaints but again, do make sure that you know when your local pharmacy will be open.
“It’s a good idea to have some over the counter medicines at home and if you are on any long term medication make sure you have enough to last over the holidays, order only what you need but make sure you get it in plenty of time.
“We would also remind people of the wide range of health information available at NHS Inform which also now includes a self-help guide to enable people to understand their symptoms and make a choice about how they deal with it.”
Dr Alan McDevitt, chair of the BMA’s Scottish GP Committee, says it’s important people know what services are available: “GPs and other healthcare staff will be working in out of hours units across Scotland throughout the festive break to ensure that people who become ill and need to be seen before their GP practice re-opens can get help.
“Be prepared by finding out when your local surgery is going to be open, order repeat prescriptions early and stock up on remedies for seasonal illnesses from your local pharmacy.”
NHS 24 will be available throughout Christmas and Hogmanay via the 111 free telephone number and online health advice and information can be found at www.nhsinform.scot