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Getting help over the Christmas period

20 December 2012

Christmas can be a difficult time for families, especially if you’re caring for someone. Many carers tell Carers UK that they find Christmas harder than other times of the year, with limited services, tight budgets and family tensions being just a few of the stress-causing factors. Below are some websites and numbers that you may find useful if you have a crisis at Christmas.

Carers UK

Our website forum is available to Carers UK members 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you're not a member you can join online for free and your user name and password will be automatically emailed to you.

We will have an information signposting service available over Christmas apart from Bank Holidays call 808 808 7777. You can also email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we’ll reply within 5 working days. Our general offices are closed between 24 December and 02 January 2013 (03 January in Scotland). Our normal advice service will resume on January 2nd.

Someone to talk to if things get difficult

Samaritans are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Telephone 08457 90 90 90 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website is

Social services

If your normal office is closed and you need urgent help, then you need to find the "emergency duty team". Numbers are sometimes printed in local newspapers or in the telephone book. An easy way is search online is to use google and type "emergency duty team" and the name of your local council.

In Northern Ireland Emergency social work contacts can be found by going to and finding your own Trust website.

Medical help

If you have a medical emergency, a critical or life threatening problem call 999. Examples of an emergency include unconsciousness, difficulty in breathing, suspected heart attack or stroke, heavy blood loss, serious injury or severe burns. If your health problem is less serious the NHS has helplines.

England - NHS Direct
NHS Direct is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
0845 4647

Scotland – NHS 24
NHS 24 is a 24 hour telephone health advice and information service for people in Scotland.
08454 24 24 24

Wales - NHS Direct Wales
NHS Direct Wales (Galw Iechyd Cymru) is the NHS Direct service for people in Wales. It provides information in English and Welsh.
0845 4647

Northern Ireland
There is no equivalent service in Northern Ireland. You should ring your own doctors surgery, where you will find a message with contact details for the out of hours service to call. This website contains useful information about Health and Social care

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