Christmas can often be a very demanding time of year.

Be prepared in case you or your family need help or support over the long weekend.

Find out when your local services are open

There are different services ready to help you if you become ill, ranging from advice and support for minor ailments through to life saving emergency care.

Opening times may vary over Christmas so find out in advance when your local services are open.

Use the national NHS website to search for your nearest pharmacy www.nhs.uk/service-search/pharmacy or dental surgery www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-dentist along with opening times.

Know where to get urgent care if you need it

Minor Injuries Units are available to help with urgent care needs. Visit www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/miu for more information on where they are and when to use them.

Emergency care is available 24/7.

In a life-threatening situation please call 999 and ask for an ambulance.

Don’t leave anything until the last minute

If you have repeat prescriptions or concerns about your health, speak to your local practice and allow time for orders to be prepared or to get the advice you need. Often you will not need to see a GP as other people in the practice can help with a range of issues or signpost you to the right service.

Stock up your medicine cabinet

There are no definitive lists of what you should have available at home as it varies depending on your personal circumstances.

Think about what you would need for everyday ailments – for example antacids (for indigestion), painkillers, cough lozenges, antiseptic cream or eye drops.

If you have any allergies or ongoing conditions, please speak to your local pharmacist.

Think home not hospital

Not everyone will be able to be home for Christmas, but if you, a family member or friend are being admitted, start to think about what will happen when you leave hospital. Do you need to make any changes at home or look for extra care? The best place for people who are able to leave hospital is at home.