Individuals are urged to review their medication supplies and consult NHS 111 online before seeking health advice, particularly during the Christmas and New Year bank holidays and amidst junior doctor strikes, which are scheduled for three days starting from 07:00 on 20 December and six days from 07:00 on 3 January.

Helen Farmer, Director for Access to Care programme at Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership, said: “As we approach the Christmas bank holiday period, we’re asking everyone in the area to ensure they’re prepared for their medical needs. NHS staff across Bradford District and Craven will continue to deliver care to those who need it over Christmas and New Year, but along with an already busy winter, and nine days of junior doctor strikes, we anticipate emergency services to be busier than usual.

“Order and collect any repeat prescriptions early and ensure you have enough medication to last the long weekends. You may also want to consider keeping a small stock of basic medicines in case needed for minor illnesses or injuries. Some pharmacies may be open over the bank holidays. Use the NHS website to find an open pharmacy near you: www.nhs.uk/find-a-pharmacy.

“By planning in advance, you will be protecting yourself and reducing pressures on emergency services.”

Planning ahead is stressed as a means of self-protection and a way to alleviate pressures on emergency services. For non-life-threatening emergencies or general health advice, the use of the NHS 111 online service is recommended, diverting individuals to the most suitable healthcare services promptly. Emergency services should only be contacted via 999 in life-threatening situations.

Given that cold weather can exacerbate certain health issues and lead to more severe complications, particularly for those aged 65 and older or individuals with long-term health conditions, checking on vulnerable friends, neighbors, or relatives is crucial during temperature drops. Ensuring the safety, warmth, and adequate provisions of food and medication for vulnerable individuals will enable them to avoid venturing outside during extremely cold weather.

Emotional support is available throughout this period through Guide-Line between 8 am and 12 am at 08001 884 884 or the Healthy Minds website. In cases of urgent mental health crises requiring 24/7 support, individuals are advised to contact First Response at 08009521181.