Have yourself a careful little Christmas

20th December 2019

NHS Lanarkshire is asking people to be aware of the common medical mishaps this festive season and know where to go for the right help and advice.

It follows the launch of its winter health campaign earlier this month calling on people to avoid unnecessary visits to A&E so that medical staff are free to deal with emergencies.

In their “12 Days of Christmas” campaign, NHS Lanarkshire highlights these potential accidents and complaints that can frequently occur over Christmas and New Year:

1. paper cuts to fingers, mouths and even eyeballs
2. electric shocks from overloading sockets or dodgy fairy lights
3. minor burns from cooking, hot gravy or candles
4. falling over while decorating the tree or hanging up mistletoe
5. sore and upset tummies from overeating or undercooking
6. cuts from breakages or carving the turkey
7. falling or tripping after drinking too much alcohol
8. cuts to hands while preparing the veg
9. small children swallowing bits off new toys
10. injuries in the rush to the New Year sales
11. panic attacks due to stress
12. tripping over discarded packaging, wrapping or other clutter

Lanarkshire’s A&E services are already among the busiest in Scotland, with people typically waiting up to four hours, or even longer during peak times. Last winter almost 34,000 people visited A&E in Lanarkshire, many of whom could have been helped safely and quickly by other local health experts.

Dr John Keaney, NHS Lanarkshire’s divisional medical director for acute services and A&E consultant, explains: “It is not uncommon for people to turn up to A&E with very minor conditions. We have had people looking for help removing false nails and eyelashes, and we also get people attending with conditions which have been present for days or weeks who have not taken simple painkillers or tried to contact their Health Centre.

“We want everyone to have an enjoyable Christmas, however accidents and medical emergencies do happen at all times of the year. That’s why it is extremely important to keep our services free for emergencies.”

NHS Lanarkshire’s winter health campaign offers advice for people to get the right support, at the right time, and avoid unnecessary delays by:

  • Going online to NHS Inform first for self-help with symptoms and a list of local services
  • Preparing by stocking up medicine cabinets, requesting repeat prescriptions and knowing when your local GP surgery is open over the holidays
  • Speaking to a local pharmacist for advice on coughs, colds, stomach upsets, pains, minor infections, burns, scrapes and bruises
  • Making an appointment with a GP if the illness doesn’t go away – surgeries can arrange phone consultations or fast track referrals in urgent situations
  • Calling NHS 24 for out of hours support or if help can’t be accessed any other way

To find out more about the winter health services offered by NHS Lanarkshire visit the website here. To find details of services closest to you, use the services directory on NHS Inform or NHS 24.