Make the right choice to get the best care in Tower Hamlets over the festive period

If you’re injured or taken ill in Tower Hamlets over the Christmas and New Year period there are many ways to get the right NHS care, when and where you need it.

The festive period is one of the busiest times of the year for the health service but it’s also a good time to change the way we all think about NHS care. The NHS now offers a range of local, easily accessible services so that you can get the treatment you need, quicker, easier and without having to go to hospital, which is better for everyone.

It’s important to remember that A&E is for those who need emergency care. Choosing the right service ensures everyone can access the treatment and advice they need.

As well as knowing where to go for treatment, it is important to plan ahead. If you have a long-term health condition, make sure you are prepared by requesting any repeat prescriptions that you might need in advance of the upcoming bank holidays.

If you do find yourself caught out, contact your regular pharmacy or call 111 for help with emergency medication. It is also advisable to keep your home medicine cabinet well stocked with items such as painkillers and over-the-counter cold remedies in case you need them.

Over the festive period, people in Tower Hamlets have a number of healthcare options:

  • Pharmacy: Many common illnesses such as coughs or colds can be easily treated by visiting your local pharmacy. A pharmacist can offer advice on how to best look after yourself at home with rest and over-the-counter treatments. You don’t need an appointment and many pharmacists have private consultation areas. Visit to find a pharmacy near you. There are pharmacies open in Tower Hamlets throughout the festive period, including on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. A full list with their opening times is available here.
  • GP: If you have a health concern and need an urgent appointment, call your GP surgery. If the surgery is closed, a recorded message will tell you who to contact. Not registered? Visit the NHS website to find a GP near you.
  • Evenings and weekends: Late evening and weekend appointments are available through the GP extended access service – allowing you to be seen quickly at a time convenient to you. Appointments are available every weekday evening between 6.30pm and 10pm, and between 8am and 8pm on Saturdays and Sundays. For those who need one, appointments are also available on bank holidays – including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Appointments can be booked by calling your own GP practice during normal working hours or by calling NHS 111.
  • NHS 111: If you can’t wait to see your own GP, you can call the free NHS 111 number for quick and easy access to clinical support and assessment – at any time of day or night. GPs, nurses, paramedics, and pharmacists give urgent advice over the phone. If you need to be seen, they will be able to direct you to the best service and can prescribe medicines over the phone if required. You can also access the service online at any time by visiting
  • NHS website: Visit the NHS website to find services near you, A-Z guide and advice how to look after yourself and your loved ones over winter.

Remember, for life-threatening emergencies, you should always call 999 immediately.  

For more information on helping you and your family stay well this winter, visit


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