Chair of Newham CCG Dr Zuhair Zarifa on where to get help at Christmas


- Credit: Archant

The festive period is one of the busiest times of the year for the NHS. It’s estimated that up to 40 per cent of people who visit A&E do not need to.

It’s important to remember that A&E should only be used by people with serious health problems requiring emergency treatment. If you are ill or injured over the festive period, you may well be able to access quicker and more appropriate treatment elsewhere.

Many common illnesses like coughs or colds can be best and most easily treated by visiting your local pharmacy. Your pharmacist can offer advice on how to best look after yourself at home with rest and over the counter treatments. There are a number of pharmacies in Newham open on Christmas, Boxing and New Year’s days. (To find a pharmacy go to the NHS Choices at GP practices are closed over the bank holidays. If you are unwell and your GP is closed please call the Newham out of hours GP cooperative service on 020 7511 8880 and a GP will advise you or you will be directed you to the best service for your condition.

Other alternatives to A&E include walk-in services. These can treat most minor injuries that are urgent, but not life threatening - including suspected broken bones, cuts and rashes as well as minor burns, bruises, bites and stings. The walk-in service at 10, Vicarage Lane, Stratford, E15 4ES is open between 8am and 8pm every day of the year. Winter can be an anxious time for parents when there are more infections around and children can develop high temperatures and be really out of sorts.

A new helpline 07572 140 892, has been set up for parents who are worried about children. It is open from 6pm to 10pm evenings and 8am to 8pm at weekends. A drop-in clinic runs every Saturday at Canberra Children Centre, Didsbury Close, East Ham, E6 2SX from 10am to noon. These give parents advice and reassurance to reduce anxiety and avoid the need to go A&E or visit their GP, if they don’t need to attend.