18 December 2018

Prepare in advance to avoid any unnecessary GP visits this summer

Prepare in advance is the message going out to the Eastern Bay of Plenty residents this Christmas and New Year. 

As our population expands over the Christmas months, with all the out of town visitors, so does the demand increase on our local services. With our public holidays all falling on week days this year the demand will fall on the remaining week days to maintain health services and support. 

"It's a really good idea to prepare yourself before the holiday period. Make sure you have enough of your repeats because it does clog up ED to go in if you run out of medicines," says Dr Sarah Gardiner, a GP for Med Central in Whakatāne, and Church Street Surgery in Ōpōtiki. 

If you are heading out of town camping or on holiday, packing some of the basics such as plasters, antiseptic cream, insect bite cream, allergy medication, and some basic paracetamol gives you something to use to either avoid medical assistance or help you in the meantime while you seek medical support. 

"It is just common sense, but we can forget these things when we are packing all excited to rush off for our holidays. Ensuring you pack a basic medical kit can mean you can deal with smaller issues as they arise, rather than relying on medical intervention," says Dr Rachel Shouler, GP Liaison for Eastern Bay Primary Health Alliance. 

"Having a bit of forethought can be the difference of having your holiday ruined or being able to carry on with your plans." 

Phoning your GP day or night for healthcare advice is the reminder for all Eastern Bay locals. 

A nurse triage service answering after-hours calls for all of the Eastern Bay's GP Practices has been in place for over eight years now and is also running successfully for Western Bay practices for over two years. 

"Calling your doctor and getting transferred to the nurse can help you confirm if you need to go into ED or reassure you that you can wait until your regular GP is available to book again," says Dr Sarah Gardiner. 

All visitors to the Eastern Bay of Plenty who are not registered with a local Doctor can access the same service by calling 0800 306 236.

Pharmacies available after hours

All pharmacies: closed on Christmas Day 

Unichem Adamson's Pharmacy: Open Boxing Day 10:30am -1pm and 2:30 - 4:30pm 

Ohope Beach Pharmacy: Open Boxing Day 10am-1pm. Open 1st and 2nd January 2019 

Phoenix Pharmacy: Open 1st and 2nd January 2019 

Refer to the Friday classified section of the Beacon and Eastern Bay Life for Duty Pharmacies hours.

Dr Sarah Gardiner
Dr Sarah Gardiner says people should prepare in advance to avoid any unnecessary GP visits. 


James Fuller
Communications Advisor - Bay of Plenty District Health Board

Last updated: December 27, 2018