BUDDIES are being urged to stock up on essential medicines as Renfrewshire shivers its way into the New Year.
Bosses at NHS Scotland want people to make sure they have enough powders and potions in their medicine cabinets in advance of the Hogmanay celebrations.
In total, NHS 24 took more than 38,500 calls over the four-day festive weekend, including 36,000 to the core service, with a further 2,500 calls to the Scottish Flu Response Centre.
Now they are gearing up for another mad rush as the bells ring out for 2010.
The busiest day over the Christmas period was Monday, December 28, when almost 13,500 calls were received by the service.
Dr George Crooks, NHS 24 Medical Director, said: “Monday was in fact our busiest ever day during the four-day Christmas period, with 50 calls a minute coming in at the peak.
“The service coped extremely well with the demand.
“It was noticeable on Monday that many people had thought their doctor’s surgeries would be open and many calls related to repeat medications.
“We would advise people to ensure they are well stocked up on repeat prescriptions ahead of this weekend’s Hogmanay break.
“Although many doctors work hard throughout the holidays supporting out of hours services at this time of year, GP surgeries across Renfrewshire will be closed for four days from Friday to Monday.
“We would urge people who take regular medication to ensure they have enough to see them through the coming weekend.
“Remember that many minor illnesses such as coughs, colds and flu can be effectively treated at home if people are prepared.
“While you’re filling up the trolley ahead of the New Year celebrations, it really is worth ensuring essential items such as painkillers, sore throat remedies and cough bottles are also on your shopping list.
“This can make all the difference if you or a family member becomes ill over the New Year period.”
Knowing where to find those winter health essentials is important too.
Dr Crooks added: “We’re advising people to check pharmacy opening times and ensure they’re stocked up on the medical essentials in advance of the forthcoming four-day GP closures.
“Winter is undoubtedly NHS Scotland’s busiest time of year and it is important that people know who to turn to if they are unwell.
“Pharmacists provide a range of services to deal with minor illnesses and ailments and, in many cases, can provide something over the counter to help ease symptoms.
“We’re advising people to seek the pharmacist’s advice as the first step and only make an appointment with their GP if they have an illness or injury that just won’t go away.
“Of course, prevention is always better than cure. By making sure you eat well, get lots of sleep, wash your hands regularly and dispose of tissues properly after a single use you can help prevent illness ruining your celebrations this New Year.”