Public Urged To Use Health Services Wisely Over Festive Season

NHS Forth Valley is gearing up to cope with extra demands over the festive season and once again urging local people to make use of local GP, pharmacy and minor injuries services to avoid putting extra pressure on the busy Emergency Department at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

Despite frequent appeals to seek help from other sources, people still regularly attend the Emergency Department with coughs and colds, earache, toothache, constipation and chronic ailments such as back pain.

NHS Forth Valley’s Medical Director, Andrew Murray, said: “Please think carefully before going to the Emergency Department at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, where we can sometimes see more than 200 patients a day. Seeking advice elsewhere for minor, non-urgent health problems ensures that people who are really unwell can be seen more speedily. It is also worth remembering that anyone who presents with a serious illness or injury will always be given priority so those with less serious issues may face longer waits.

The dedicated nurse-led Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at Stirling Health and Care Village will remain open every day over the festive period from 9.00am until 9.00pm. It can treat adults and children over the age of one for cuts and grazes, minor burns, sprains and strains. It can also help with minor eye and ear injuries and X-ray and treat broken bones including broken ankles and wrists.

A small number of pharmacists in Forth Valley will be open for short periods of time on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and the 2nd January 2020 – details are available on the Winter Zone of NHS Forth Valley’s website

Under a scheme called Pharmacy First, all pharmacists in Forth Valley are now able to provide free treatment for a range of common conditions without a GP prescription. These include urine infections, conjunctivitis, skin conditions (such as eczema, dermatitis and reactions to insect bites) skin infections (such as cellulitis and impetigo) and thrush.

GP practices will be open as normal on Monday 23rd, Tuesday 24th and Friday 27th December 2019 as well as Monday 30th, Tuesday 31st Dec 2019 and Friday 3rd Jan 2020 (they will only be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and New Years Day and the 2nd January 2020). Anyone who is concerned about their symptoms and don’t feel they can’t until their GP surgery re-opens should call NHS 24 free on 111 for advice. Information and advice on many health conditions can also be accessed free on 0800 22 44 88.

Local opticians across Forth Valley can provide advice and support for a wide range of eye conditions such as blurred vision and eye infections. They can treat and advice on the management of many eye conditions or refer you directly to hospital if the problem is more serious.

For more winter health information and advice visit