Cheshire East Council and its partners are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.
This week, we urge residents to ensure they are accessing health services appropriately.
During the winter months, health services can become overwhelmed through excess demand.
To help limit the impact, it’s important that residents are aware which service is right for them at a given time. The advice is to:
· Call NHS 111 if you urgently need medical help or advice but it is not a life-threatening situation. You can also call NHS 111 if you're not sure which NHS service you need;
· Call 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk;
· Visit a walk-in centre or minor injuries unit if you have a minor illness or injury (cuts, sprains or rashes) and it can't wait until your GP surgery is open;
· Ask your local pharmacist for advice – your pharmacist can give you advice for many common minor illnesses, such as diarrhoea, minor infections, headache, travel advice or sore throats; and
· Make an appointment with your GP if you are feeling unwell and it is not an emergency.
If you start to feel unwell, even if it is just a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets more serious – get help from your pharmacist. The sooner you get advice the better.
If you’ve been described antibiotics or other medication, don’t forget to pick up your prescription before the Christmas holidays start as many GP surgeries and pharmacies will be closed during that time.
Make sure you also speak to your pharmacist about medicines you should have in stock to help get you and your family through the winter season. Also check to see if older neighbours, relatives and friends have the necessary medication.
If you do need help over the holiday period, when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 or visit www.nhs.uk, where you can be directed to a local service that is open.
Councillor Paul Bates, cabinet member for communities and health at Cheshire East Council, said: “Residents have a range of services they can access if they feel unwell or need advice during winter. But it’s important that the services they do access are appropriate to their needs.
“You can do your part in helping to take the strain off health services by stocking up on medication before the Christmas holidays, keeping an eye on vulnerable members of the community and ensuring you get help and advice as soon as you start to feel unwell.”
For further winter-related advice, visit: www.facebook.com/cheshireeastcouncil
Residents can help friends and neighbours, who do not have internet access, by printing off information from the website and giving it to them.