This winter, NHS England and NHS Improvement is relaunching its Winter Response ‘Help Us, Help You campaign’ to help the public understand how they can stay well this winter and get the best out of their NHS.
The NHS is here to help you when you’re poorly. Every 24 hours the NHS comes into contact with more than a million people and it can be especially busy during the winter months.
Exposure to cold indoor or outdoor temperatures increases blood pressure and can increase the risk of heart attacks, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.i Research also shows that for every one-degree centigrade drop below five degrees in outdoor average temperatures, there is more than a 10 per cent increase in older people consulting their GP for breathing problems, a 0.8 per cent increase in emergency hospital admissions, and a 3.4 per cent increase in deaths.ii
The ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign highlights that the public can benefit by following the expert advice of NHS staff; to prevent an illness getting worse; to take the best course of action; and get well again sooner. This includes:
- Encouraging people to call NHS 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk online to find out what to do and where to go when they have an urgent but non-life-threatening medical concern instead of worrying, self-diagnosing, or second-guessing what they should do. NHS 111 can also be contacted via Next Generation Text on 18001 111 or by NHS 111 BSL interpreter service. To use the BSL service and for more information in alternative formats visit nhs.uk/111
- Asking pharmacists, who are qualified healthcare professionals, for advice before minor ailments or winter illnesses get worse. For more information including alternative formats about how your pharmacy team can help visit nhs.uk/pharmacyadvice
- Using evenings and weekends appointments with a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional at a local practice or another nearby NHS service
- Checking in on older neighbours, relatives, and friends who may need a bit of extra help this winter
- Encouraging those who are most at risk from cold weather – over 65s and those with long term health conditions – to prepare for the lower temperatures by stocking up on food supplies and making sure they have any necessary medication
People who could be at particular risk from flu including people with underlying health conditions, a learning disability and adults aged 65 years old and over are still encouraged to get the free flu vaccination. The vaccination is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus. That’s why the flu vaccine is free for those who are eligible because they really need it. If you are eligible for the flu vaccine, contact your general practice or pharmacist to get it now.
To find out more about how you can stay well this winter visit nhs.uk/winteradvice