Accessing health services - what can I do?

The NHS and other public services are under pressure at the moment. You may be worried about how this may impact care if you or a loved one has Parkinson’s. We’ve put together some information to help you get the support you need.

How can I make sure I get my medication?

Some pharmacies may experience a delay with their deliveries. If your medication is delivered directly to you at home, it may be slower to arrive than usual. 

It's always best to try to plan ahead to make sure you have enough Parkinson's medication. But if you do run out, you'll need to get an emergency supply.

In England, Scotland or Wales, call 111 to find the right service that can help you get an emergency supply – whether you have a prescription or not.

In Northern Ireland, GP Out-of-Hours services don't usually arrange repeat prescriptions, but in urgent and exceptional circumstances they may be able to help.

Alternatively, you can get help online:

If you’re travelling, be aware that delays are possible. Aim to take more medication with you than you need to. This will mean you can continue to take your medication as normal if you’re held up. 

    I can’t get my medication. What should I do?

    Call the usual number for your pharmacist. If your pharmacist doesn't have your usual medication, other local pharmacies may be able to get it for you.

    If you can’t pick up your medication, you may be able to arrange for someone to pick it up for you or your pharmacist may offer a home delivery service.

      What happens if an appointment is cancelled or I can’t make it? 

      You should continue to attend your appointments as normal, unless you're told the appointment will need to be rescheduled. If an appointment does need to be rearranged, this will be treated as a priority. 

      If you’re unable to attend an appointment because of transport issues, make sure you contact the appointments team to let them know. If you miss your appointment, you may be discharged. You may be offered a telephone or video appointment instead, which can work well for some people. 

        What if I’m in hospital and the service is disrupted? 

        If you or a loved one are an inpatient when there is a disruption to the service, you’ll be told on a ward-by-ward basis how your care may be impacted. 

          I’m finding it difficult to get a GP appointment. What can I do?

          If you’re unwell or need medical advice, you can visit NHS 111 online or call 111. They may tell you how to look after yourself at home, suggest you see a pharmacist or recommend you see your GP when you can. 

          If the problem is more serious, they may advise you go to your nearest walk-in centre or minor injuries unit. These can help with minor illnesses or injuries, such as sprains, infections or minor burns. They may also recommend you visit your local A&E department.  

          If you need emergency care, you should call 999.

          Pharmacists can offer health advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds or stomach problems. If you're ill and need to take medication, your pharmacist can guide you on how to take these alongside your Parkinson’s medication. They can also help you understand the Parkinson’s medication you’re prescribed and explain how to take it correctly.  

            How should I manage my Parkinson’s if I have to go to A&E?

            If you have to wait to see a doctor in A&E, try to remember the following:

            • Tell staff you have Parkinson’s and how important it is to get your medication on time.
            • Explain to staff what medication you take. Show them your medication card. Ask them to keep a record of it in your notes and check they've recorded everything accurately.
            • Ask a member of staff to let your GP, specialist or Parkinson’s nurse know that you're in hospital.
            • If you can bring your medication in its original packaging, you may be allowed to self-administer it. If you are able to do this, keep taking your medication as you normally would at home.
            • Tell staff if you’ve had deep brain stimulation (DBS).
            • A&E staff may not know a lot about Parkinson’s. Be patient and try to provide as much information as possible about how the condition affects you – the more they know, the more they can help you with your specific needs.

            Get support

            If you are unable to get in touch with a health professional and need further advice, you can call our helpline on 0808 800 0303 and ask to speak to a nurse adviser.

            We can give general information, support and advice. And, if we think you need an assessment of medication or symptoms, we can advise you whether the best person to do this is your GP or consultant.