Here are my top tips for the public to support their local NHS this winter.
1. Don’t delay, get your flu jab today!
No one wants to spend Christmas and New Year suffering with aches, pains and all of the other nasty symptoms that the flu brings. So, get the jab to protect yourself and your family and have a great time this Christmas. See your GP or pharmacist to arrange a flu jab now.
Those at most risk of complications from flu are:
• People aged 65 and over;
• Pregnant women;
• Children aged two and three;
• People living with certain long-term conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and heart disease.
2. Keep your medicine cabinet well-stocked
I recommend that as a minimum you should have the following items in your medicine cabinet to get through the winter.
• Cold and flu remedies – capsules or drinks, whatever you prefer;
• Paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain relief;
• Cough syrup;
• Nasal decongestant;
• Antiseptic throat spray;
• Oral rehydration tablets.
For those people with a long-term condition, check your stocks of on-going regular meds and make sure you get enough reserves to get you through to 2018 now. Those with young children should make sure they have medication suitable for their age too.
3. Take care of each other
Do you have an elderly neighbour or relative who lives nearby? Winter is especially tough on our older residents. A kind word, an offer of help or a warm meal might be all it takes to make someone’s life easier during the season of goodwill.
4. Choose the right NHS service
The CCG commissions a number of services for local people, so it’s important to know which service is right for you. Remember, your first port of call for minor illnesses and injuries should be your pharmacist. You can also call 111, 24 hours a day, 365 days a week for a medical emergency that does not require a 999 call.
And in other news, I’m excited to say that by the end of the year, many practices in Mansfield and Ashfield will be offering appointments up to 8pm during the week and on Saturday mornings.
Local residents will be among the first in the country to benefit from this national scheme.
The appointments will all be pre-bookable and some will provide on-the-day slots for urgent needs. You can book these appointments in the usual way, by calling your GP surgery and the appointment will be at local ‘hub’ practice in your local area.