NHS Forth Valley (FV) is gearing up to cope with extra demands over the festive season and once again urging 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.