We are advising patients to order their repeat medication in good time, to avoid running out during the Christmas and New Year period.

During the Christmas period, we experience much higher volumes of calls into our NHS 111 contact centres, due to the increased likelihood of becoming ill during the winter months.

To help reduce demand across the whole health economy, we are recommending that patients who are on regular medication speak to their GP or pharmacist in good time to ensure that they have enough medication to see them through the Christmas and New Year period, when many GP surgeries and pharmacies will be closed.

Dr Andrew Catto, Chief Medical Officer at IC24, said:  ‘As many people will understand, there is always an increased pressure on health services during the winter months. Our NHS 111 service is free to call, and available 24/7 when patients need medical help fast but it is not an emergency situation. However, during the Christmas and New Year break we receive a very high volume of calls from patients who have run out of routine repeat medication and need help accessing a repeat prescription.’

Dr Catto continued: ‘The best advice we can give patients is to try and plan ahead as much as possible. By ensuring that you have enough repeat medication to see you through the Christmas break you will not only help reduce the strain on local health services, but you will give yourself the best chance of staying well this winter.’