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Byline: Dr Mike Scott

HOW many times have you forgotten to buy your Christmas turkey? Once maybe? Perhaps twice? I expect you think I am mad to even ask such as question. I am sure that you would never, ever, forget something as important as the turkey.

Now a turkey is quite an important part of Christmas. But if you forgot about it, it wouldn't be a matter of life and death, would it? On the other hand, forgetting to get your essential prescription before Christmas could be. So why do so many of you forget about your extremely important prescription and realise on Christmas Eve that you are going to run out of your tablets over the holiday.

We will do our best to get the subsequent phone call to the surgery in the spirit of Christmas, but it can't be guaranteed!

So the message of this column is to get organised.

Find out when your surgery and local pharmacy are open over Christmas. Work out what you are going to need and when, and make sure you give the surgery extra time.

Remember that the surgery could be short of staff because of the holiday period. It's only considerate to give them some extra time to process your request. But what if you forget completely? What medicines can you do without for a day or two, and what is an absolute essential? The crucial drugs tend to be for heart conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes and epilepsy. If you are being treated for heart failure with a water tablet it may not be safe to miss it for even one day.

Those of you with asthma should always have a reserve of inhalers, as attacks can be unpredictable.

If you are prone to severe chest infections, discuss with your doctor as to whether steroids and antibiotics are needed.

You might think drugs for dementia would be the ones forgotten most. In fact most panic calls seem to be for contraceptive pills and sleeping tablets.

You can get the morning-after pill over the counter; you are unlikely to get an emergency doctor struggling through the snow at Christmas to deliver a prescription for sleepers! It's worth discussing your needs. They can supply painkillers, cough remedies, flu treatments, antihistamines, smoking cessation aids and medication without prescription.

Forward-planning goes a long way, we have never forgotten to buy a turkey but we did forget to defrost it one year. We had ham for a Christmas dinner!
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 13, 2010
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