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People are being asked to check their medication supplies and to visit NHS 111 online first for health advice over what is expected to be a busy period for NHS services during the Christmas and New Year bank holidays and junior doctor strikes.

The strikes will be for three days from 07:00 on 20 December and six days from 07:00 on 3 January.

Helen Farmer, Director for Access to Care programme at Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership, said: “As we approach the Christmas bank holiday period, we’re asking everyone in the area to ensure they’re prepared for their medical needs. NHS staff across Bradford District and Craven will continue to deliver care to those who need it over Christmas and New Year, but along with an already busy winter, and nine days of junior doctor strikes, we anticipate emergency services to be busier than usual.

“Order and collect any repeat prescriptions early and ensure you have enough medication to last the long weekends. You may also want to consider keeping a small stock of basic medicines in case needed for minor illnesses or injuries. Some pharmacies may be open over the bank holidays. Use the NHS website to find an open pharmacy near you: www.nhs.uk/find-a-pharmacy.

“By planning in advance, you will be protecting yourself and reducing pressures on emergency services.”

For general health advice or for anyone who is injured or unwell, but it is not a life-threatening emergency, using the NHS 111 online service is advised to get quickly directed to the most suitable services. People should only call 999 in a life-threatening emergency.

Cold weather can make some health problems worse and even lead to more serious complications, especially for those over 65 or for people who have a long-term health condition. Checking in on vulnerable friends, neighbours or relatives, is particularly important as temperatures drop. Helping vulnerable people by ensuring they are safe, warm, and have enough food and medicine will mean they can avoid going outside during very cold weather.

Emotional support is also available over this period through Guide-Line between 8am and 12am on 08001 884 884 or the Healthy Minds website to get help. For 24/7 urgent mental health crisis support, people should contact First Response on 08009521181.