Festive period advice in your area

At Healthwatch Lancashire, we want to make sure you stay safe and well throughout the Christmas Period.


The NHS Choices website has information about how you can stay well this Winter, click here to visit their website… 

Please click on a link below for information about your local area…

East Lancashire

West Lancashire

North Lancashire

Chorley and Southribble

Fylde and Wyre



East Lancashire


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Feeling under the weather? Speak to your local pharmacist for advice

Blackburn with Darwen and East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups are encouraging people with a bad cough, a cold or sore throat, to pop down to their local pharmacy for quick health advice.  

Pharmacists are experts in many aspects of healthcare so seek early advice for minor winter illnesses. They can offer advice on a wide range of long-term conditions and common illnesses such as coughs, colds and stomach upsets. You don’t need an appointment and many have private consultation areas, so they are a good first port of call. Your pharmacist will say if you need further medical attention.  

They also ask those caring for or visiting an older friend or relative to get early advice from their local pharmacist or from www.nhs.uk/asap if they are feeling under the weather. If you’re over 60, a minor illness can get worse quickly.  

Dr Chris Clayton, Clinical Chief Officer at NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG, said: “It’s easy to forget that our local pharmacists can provide expert guidance on how to help manage long-term conditions, or give advice on the best treatment for a cough or cold.

“It is essential though that older people seek help as soon as possible to prevent a trip to hospital if their condition gets worse. And the earlier the better is the approach to take.”

 Dr Mike Ions, Chief Clinical Officer at NHS East Lancashire CCG, said: “Pharmacists are the experts in medicine and already give advice on a range of minor conditions. 

 “People often don’t seek advice for their wheezes, coughs and sneezes because they don’t think it’s serious enough, or they don’t want to waste their pharmacist’s time.  But no problem is too small for your local pharmacist, who is a highly trained and trusted source of health advice.”


Make sure your Christmas is Dementia Friendly

Dementia Friendly Rossendale and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, are together raising awareness of some simple measures, suggested by the Alzheimer’s Society, which can help loved ones with dementia enjoy Christmas.    

Christmas is traditionally a time for good friends and family to enjoy spending time together; for others, it can be one of the most difficult times of the year, especially for those living with dementia.

The noise, change of routine, and maybe some unfamiliar guests can cause distress and confusion leading to behaviour that can be difficult for everyone to handle.

Brian Topping, Chair of Dementia Friendly Rossendale, said: “It’s really important that the community supports each other, especially at Christmas time.  Lots of families will be dealing with difficult memories and supporting family members living with dementia.

“There are a few things you can do to help not only the person with dementia enjoy Christmas, but yourself and family members also.  In order to do this, it’s essential that you remember your own needs, and remember to take time for yourself.”

This is some of the advice as recommended by the Alzheimers Society:

• Plan ahead – if the house is unfamiliar to your guest, putting labels on doors could help, for example the bathroom

• Safety – make sure you leave lights on and doors open so the person with dementia is less likely to get confused if they are up at night. Ensure doors to the outside are closed securely if needed

• Mealtimes – don’t overload your guest’s plate. A full plate can be quite daunting for someone who has difficulties eating. They may be self-conscious when eating, so avoid making them the centre of attention

• Alcohol – drinking excessively can cause arguments and accidents. Ensure drinking stays within sensible limits

• Quiet – if the house becomes busy, designate a ‘quiet room’ and agree not to watch television or listen to music in there

• Emotional needs – think of some activities the person may enjoy doing in quieter moments. You could maybe look at old photos together, or involve them in cooking or cleaning

• Religion – think about their usual or past religious attitudes. Would they like to go to church or listen to hymns?

• Singing – it might be enjoyable for the person to sing carols. Singing stimulates both the mind and the body


A leaflet produced by the CCG on the behalf of Dementia Friendly Rossendale, listing the things you can do to help, as well as a number of personal experiences from relatives and carers, is available to download from the CCG website at http://bit.ly/1OW5lmF


Book out of hours appointments at your GP

Patients in Blackburn with Darwen are being urged to contact their GP surgery if they need to see a doctor during the festive period– even during closing hours.

Extra out of hours appointments are available during Christmas and New Year, with details available on the answerphone at the surgeries.

People should call their surgeries or visit the nearest pharmacy rather than visit hospital.

Dr Chris Clayton, Clinical Chief Officer, at Blackburn with Darwen CCG said: “We want patients to call their GP even if the surgery is closed and book appointments with the out of hours team – easing unnecessary pressure on other services like the Accident and Emergency department.

“Extra out of hours appointments are available throughout Christmas and New Year so there is no need to go to the hospital, unless it is for a severe injury and illness.” 

 Many people attend urgent services when it is unnecessary and they could be better treated – often quicker – elsewhere. 

If someone is seriously ill or injured, and their life is potentially at risk, 999 should be called immediately. An emergency is a critical or a life-threatening situation, such as:

• Suspected heart attack

• Chest pain

• Unconsciousness

• Heavy blood loss

• Suspected broken bones

• Deep wounds such as stab wounds

• Severe breathing difficulties

• Head injuries


For all other illnesses and injuries, visit your GP or your pharmacy. 

Dr Chris Clayton, Clinical Chief Officer, at Blackburn with Darwen CCG said: “We want patients to call their GP even if the surgery is closed and book appointments with the out of hours team – easing unnecessary pressure on other services like the Accident and Emergency department. 

“Extra out of hours appointments are available throughout Christmas and New Year so there is no need to go to the hospital, unless it is for a severe injury and illness.” 


West Lancashire





Examine your options this Christmas and New Year

With everyone in full preparation for festivities over Christmas and New Year, the local NHS in West Lancashire is offering a reminder that health services will be opening at different times over the bank holidays.


Skelmersdale Walk-in Centre (The Concourse, WN8 6LJ) Tel: 01695 588640
Open weekdays 7am – 10pm and weekends 9am – 5pm except:
Christmas Day: 9am – 5pm
Boxing Day: 9am – 5pm
New Year’s Day: 9am – 5pm

West Lancashire Health Centre (Ormskirk Hospital, L39 2AZ) Tel: 01695 588800
Open 8am – 10pm weekdays and weekends except:
Christmas Day: 9am – 5pm


All pharmacies will be open Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, however closing times may vary. Please contact your local pharmacy for more details. The following pharmacies will open on the bank holidays: 

Fishlocks Chemist (Burscough, L40 4BY) Tel: 01704 894391
Christmas Day: 10am – 1pm
Boxing Day: 11am – 4pm
New Year’s Day: 11am – 4pm

Asda Pharmacy (Skelmersdale, WN6 6LA) Tel: 01695 567010
Boxing Day: 9am – 6pm
New Year’s Day: 9am – 6pm 

Morrisons In-store Pharmacy (Ormskirk, L39 3RB) Tel: 01695 573289

Boxing Day: 9am – 5pm


Routine GP appointments will be available 26 to 28 December 2015 and 1 to 3 January 2016, 9am to 5pm. This service is available from either West Lancashire Health Centre or Skelmersdale Walk-in Centre. To make an appointment call 01695 574634.

GP out-of-hours service

If you need to see doctor in the evening or outside of the above hours, GP out of hours services are available; just call 111 and you can speak to a local GP over the phone or face to face if necessary.  

NHS 111

When you need medical help or advice fast, but it is not a 999 emergency, you can also call the NHS 111 service.  NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free from mobiles and landlines.


If you need emergency treatment when your dentist is closed for the holidays you can call Tel: 01772 777397.

Dr John Caine, chair and local GP of NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Accessing the right health service is important to allow us to deliver the best care that you need. However, at busy times such as Christmas and New Year, it is imperative that everyone thinks carefully about the options open to them. A&E is available for serious illnesses and life-threatening injuries only, so we recommend patients seeking assistance consider the other alternatives listed above.”

The local NHS in West Lancashire is backing the Examine your Options campaign. Examine your Options reinforces the message that A&E and 999 services are for life-threatening and serious conditions.

To find your local NHS services, go to www.nhs.uk to use the free service finder.


North Lancashire


Plan your medications for Christmas and New Year

With Christmas and New Year fast approaching, GPs in the Lancaster, Morecambe, Carnforth and Garstang areas are reminding people to plan ahead by stocking up their medicine cabinets and ordering repeat prescriptions.

To ensure everyone stays well over the Christmas period it is important to make sure medicine cabinets contain all the essential items ahead of reduced opening times, bad weather or sickness.

Those who take regular medication should make sure they have ordered enough medication to last through the festive period or ask their GP practice for a new prescription.

Dr Alex Gaw, a Morecambe GP and Clinical Chair at NHS Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group, said:  “No one wants to interrupt their festive period to drive off in search of medication, or the out-of-hours service because they have run out of their prescription.

“Make sure you have everything you need to deal with minor health problems or your long term conditions at home, so you can make the most of Christmas with family and friends.”

A new initiative called Patient Online means patients can now register with their GP practice to request repeat prescriptions online as well as book appointments and have access to some of their health records. 

Medicine cabinet the essentials include:

• painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, including version for children

• over-the-counter cough, cold, flu and indigestion remedies

• plasters

• bandages

• antiseptic cream

• thermometer

NHS Lancashire North CCG urges local residents to be a good neighbour this Christmas

Lancashire North health leaders are urging people to be a good neighbour this Christmas and check that their elderly friends and neighbours are warm and well.
NHS Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is wishing everyone a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, whilst asking local residents to spare a thought for others during the forthcoming festive period.

For some people Christmas is the most difficult time of the year and can highlight their loneliness or vulnerability. Older people, especially those who are more vulnerable, can become isolated in the winter months, and the cold weather can have a serious impact on their health.

Jacqui Thompson, senior manager for public involvement and partnerships at the CCG, said:

“Elderly people are often lonely due to the fact they have little interaction with others during the day. Many elderly people just enjoy talking with others, and you stopping by just to chat can make their day.

“Looking in on an elderly neighbour can make a huge difference, helping to prevent loneliness and making sure they are safe.  It is the perfect opportunity to check their house is warm and they have enough food in to see them through a spell of bad weather.  The recent flooding and loss of power we have experienced in the area is a prime example of a time when we definitely need to be a good neighbour.”

Each winter, one older person dies every seven minutes from the cold weather. Many of these deaths could be prevented if everyone lived in warm home.

Just a few ways in which you can help include:

Drop in on an older neighbour or friend once a week – more often if the weather turns very cold
Make sure living rooms are heated to around 210C and bedrooms to 180C if possible
If they are using portable heaters, make sure these are safe
Ensure the person you are looking in on is eating well and has tinned meals and soups in the cupboard.  Offer to get their shopping if necessary
Ask if you can collect any prescriptions or take the person to any medical appointments – it is important they attend
If it snows, clear their path or door for them
Jacqui added: “For those who are home alone or feel they have no-one to turn to, they don’t have to struggle with loneliness.  There are a number of services available, and I’d urge them to make contact.”

These include:

The Silver Line – this is a free, confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.  Calls are free on: 0800 470 8090 or email:www.thesilverline.org.uk
Age UK – they offer advice on anything from health to housing. Calls are free on  0800 169 2081. It’s open 365 days a year from 8am to 7pm
Lancashire Wellbeing and Mental Health Helpline — The helpline, set up for the residents of Lancashire, can listen, as well as give information and emotional support for those concerned about their own mental health, or that of someone they know.  It is available Monday to Friday from 7pm till 11pm and 12noon to 12 midnight Saturday and Sunday on Freephone 0800 915 4640


Chorley and Southribble


Simple steps to help you stay well this winter

With the winter season upon us, a number of celebrities have backed the ‘stay well this winter’ campaign and are reminding people of some simple actions which can help you stay well this winter.

Warm: Keep your house warm this winter at least 18°C (65F)
Immunisations: Get your flu vaccination
Neighbours: Keep an eye on elderly neighbours and relatives
Timely: Seek advice from a pharmacist at first sign of illness
Enough: Pick up repeat prescriptions so you have enough while pharmacies/surgeries are closed
Restock: Make sure you have enough food and medicine in the cupboards
The latest data reveals that excess winter deaths contribute to about 1 in 20 of all deaths per year, with older people who may be frail, or who have existing long term health conditions, most at risk.


Fylde and Wyre 


People living across the Fylde Coast have been urged to keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable neighbours during the cold winter months.

With temperatures set to plummet along with continued high winds, heavy rain and a forecast of snow, those people who are elderly and disabled can struggle to keep warm and go about their day-to-day business.

And health leaders in the area have called on those who are able-bodied to keep a watchful eye not just on their family and friends, but also neighbours who may find life difficult at this time of year.

Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) clinical chief officer Dr Tony Naughton said: “We have experienced some very cold and wet weather already as we head towards the festive period.

“All we are asking is that people who are fit and well just pop round to see their more vulnerable neighbours or make a quick phone call to check people are okay.
“It is a fact that more elderly people die during the colder months so it is vital we offer them as much help as possible to keep warm.”

Dr Naughton explained that people can help by offering to check on elderly friends and neighbours, by making sure they keep warm and are adequately fed by taking them meals.

They can also help with shopping and home tasks or give them a lift to shops, GP or pharmacy to pick up medications or get their flu jab. And, most importantly, watch for illness and make sure they seek help before it becomes more serious.

The message from Fylde and Wyre CCG comes as the organisation, which buys health services across the region, is backing the Stay Well This Winter campaign, a joint initiative from NHS England and Public Health England to help the public, and in particular those with long-term conditions and those over 65 prepare for winter and ward off common winter illnesses so they do not require a visit to the hospital.
– See more at: http://www.fyldeandwyreccg.nhs.uk/look-after-elderly-neighbours-this-winter/#sthash.eUpS2Wva.dpuf



Fylde Coast pharmacies have revealed their opening times for the bank holidays around Christmas.

All pharmacies will be open on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, although specific closing times may vary and residents wishing to access these services should check with their local branch for details.

For people wishing to access non-emergency healthcare on Christmas Day, the pharmacy at Whitegate Health Centre in Whitegate Drive, Blackpool, will be open from early until late, while Tomlinson’s Chemist in Market Square, Lytham, will open for a short period around lunchtime.

There will be limited opening times for pharmacies on Monday, 28 December, which is a bank holiday because Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, but facilities will be available in Blackpool, Fleetwood, Lytham, St Annes and Cleveleys.

And on New Year’s Day, pharmacies in Sainsbury’s stores in St Annes and Blackpool will open from 10am to 5pm, while Whitegate Pharmacy will open again from early until late.

Health leaders across the Fylde Coast have reminded residents that pharmacists can offer expert and confidential advice on a range of minor ailments and offer a real alternative to A&E.

A spokesman on behalf of NHS Fylde and Wyre and NHS Blackpool CCGs and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The holiday seasons always provide added pressures to emergency health services and Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s A&E is no different.

“We would urge everyone who finds themselves feeling unwell over the festive period to consider whether their symptoms are serious or life-threatening before going to hospital.

“With plenty of pharmacists opening their doors throughout Christmas, this is a real alternative for those people who are suffering from some minor symptoms.

“It is also worth remembering the walk-in centre in Whitegate Drive will remain open every day throughout Christmas and New Year and is able to treat a wide range of minor illnesses and injuries.”

The three organisations launched the ‘Think! Why A&E?’ campaign 12 months ago in a bid to raise awareness of the alternatives to hospital among people across the Fylde Coast.

Please click here to view Pharmacy opening times during the festive period.