Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

DR Paul Bowen, GP with McIlvride Med­i­cal Prac­tice, Poyn­ton, and GP Chair of NHS East­ern Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group (CCG) WIN­TER is a par­tic­u­larly chal­leng­ing time for the NHS. Health prob­lems such as asthma and other res­pi­ra­tory con­di­tions can be trig­gered or wors­ened by cold weather – which can be es­pe­cially dan­ger­ous for older peo­ple, whose im­mune sys­tems are not as strong.

But it’s also an an­nual prob­lem that GP surg­eries and A&E de­part­ments be­come in­un­dated with peo­ple suf­fer­ing from com­mon ill­nesses like coughs and colds – which usu­ally clear up by them­selves in a few days and don’t need to be treated by a doc­tor.

That’s why it’s so im­por­tant for us all to:

• Be pre­pared with a well-stocked medicines cab­i­net • Be self care aware • Be re­spon­si­ble and help the NHS by giv­ing health pro­fes­sion­als more time to spend time with peo­ple who re­ally need it.

As such, I’d like to re­mind East­ern Cheshire res­i­dents about the al­ter­na­tives to A&E and to draw at­ten­tion to the CCG’s on­go­ing Choose Well cam­paign – which en­cour­ages peo­ple to choose the right health ser­vice at the right time.

We make an ex­tra ef­fort to pro­mote the cam­paign dur­ing the win­ter pe­riod, so we will be ad­ver­tis­ing Choose Well on lo­cal ra­dio sta­tions, as well as in all of East­ern Cheshire’s paid-for and free news­pa­pers.

We’ll also be pro­mot­ing the cam­paign on all our so­cial me­dia chan­nels, and will be hold­ing stalls in some of the area’s su­per­mar­kets and li­braries.

The best al­ter­na­tives to A&E are: Self-care – The best op­tion for: • Coughs, colds and sore throats

• Up­set stom­achs

• Gen­eral aches and pains • Flu. Think phar­macy! – Your com­mu­nity phar­macy can:

• Pro­vide health ad­vice and medicines for var­i­ous con­di­tions

• Help you decide what medicines to keep at home to man­age com­mon ail­ments

• Of­fer con­fi­den­tial ad­vice on health con­cerns with­out an ap­point­ment

• Pro­vide NHS treat­ment for com­mon con­di­tions like thrush, cys­ti­tis and con­junc­tivi­tis

• Pre­scribe emer­gency hor­monal con­tra­cep­tion and fam­ily plan­ning ad­vice. Call your lo­cal prac­tice – • When you feel you need to speak to a doc­tor or nurse about an ill­ness that isn’t life threat­en­ing

• If the surgery’s closed, call NHS 111.

De­pend­ing on your symp­toms, your NHS 111 ad­vi­sor might re­fer you to the GP out-of-hours ser­vice.

Visit www. east­erncheshireccg.nhs. uk and search for ‘Choose Well’ for more in­for­ma­tion.

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