Health chiefs are urging people to look after themselves – and others – and be prepared for Christmas and New Year.

Patients who take regular medication should make sure they have everything they need over the festive period.

The NHS is likely to be under pressure and people are asked to think ahead.

The NHS offers the 111 service, walk-in centres and hospital A&E but the Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees clinical commissioning groups (CCG) want people to make sure they seek help from the right place.

The CCGs say people should make sure their prescriptions are up to date by Christmas Eve and that they can speak to their pharmacist about minor ailments.

NHS 111 is available 24/7 365 days a year and calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

The simple rules are call 111 if: you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency; you think you need to go to A&E you don’t know who to call or you don’t have a GP to call; or you need reassurance or advice.

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Dr David Kelly, local GP and chairman of NHS North Kirklees CCG, said: “Winter is an extremely busy time of year for NHS services, so we want to remind people that if they are ill to use the right services.

“Make sure you have plenty of medical supplies in the house, for example some simple painkillers, a paediatric paracetamol mixture for children and an adequate supply of any regular medications you or your family are being prescribed by your doctor.

“Remember, your local pharmacy can give advice on a wide range of conditions and can help. For simple accidents like sprains, you don’t always

need to go to your GP practice.”

Chair of North Kirklees Clinicial Commissioning Group, Dr David Kelly

Dr Steve Ollerton, local GP and clinical leader of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG, said: “It’s critical that we do what we can to help others stay well.

“Older people make up the largest group admitted to hospital in the winter. Half live alone and one third never or only occasionally socialise with family or friends.

“They can sometimes delay asking for help when they become unwell and so become more ill as a result. This is a golden opportunity for us to look out for our neighbours and make sure they get any help they need.”

Meanwhile Rod Barnes, chief executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “As the festive period is usually a challenging time for the NHS and emergency services, I am urging people to do what they can to alleviate the pressure on our services.

“This includes behaving responsibly, looking after friends and neighbours who may be vulnerable at this time of year and staying safe, whether at home or out and about on the roads or busy town centres.

“This will help to avoid the need to call an ambulance, something no-one wants to do at this time of year.”

For more information see www.nhs.uk or www.kirklees.gov.uk/winter