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.