With winter type bugs and illnesses starting to circulate, and cold weather making some health problems worse, local people are reminded about the range of options to get the right care and remain safe.

Health and care services in hospitals and those closer to home including GP services are coming under increased pressure as winter looms around the corner.

The ongoing threat of coronavirus and social distancing rules mean that services need to work differently, and people are urged to consider all of their health and care choices as the annual ‘winter pressures’ start to hit.  This will ensure emergency services are available for those that need them most; will ensure everyone gets the most appropriate care quickly and will keep everyone, health and care staff and patients, safe.

Whilst self-care is generally the best option for minor, short term conditions, it is important that local people know where to go or who to contact if they are unwell, so that they can receive the best possible treatment in the quickest time for their condition.

  • Community pharmacies can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains. They are often open for longer hours and at the weekend and you don’t need an appointment.
  • NHS 111 – go to 111.nhs.uk or call (dial) 111 if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do.  Its available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • The NHS website is your complete guide to conditions, symptoms and treatments, including what to do and when to get help.
  • GP Practices are offering appointments over the phone and online, and for those patients that need a face to face appointment, they will be seen at the Practice.  Evening and weekend appointments are also available via the extended hours service.

Other things you can do to help us help you:

  • Flu can make some people seriously ill. It’s important to get the flu vaccine if you are advised to, its safe and effective and protects people at risk of flu and its complications.
  • Order any repeat prescriptions well in time, but don’t over order.
  • Keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet and a well-prepared first aid kit can help you deal with the most common illnesses and minor injuries at home.
  • If you have a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, it could be coronavirus (COVID-19).  Self-isolate at home and get
    tested as soon as you can.
  • Keep up to date on the coronavirus response in Bury and what you can do to help stop the spread: bury.gov.uk/coronavirus
  • With walk-through, drive-through and bookable testing appointments available, find out all of your options and how to book: bury.gov.uk/coronavirus-testing

Dr. Jeffrey Schryer, Chair of NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and local GP said:
“This year has been anything but normal, health and care services have had to adapt, and patients have too.  With coronavirus circulating, the double threat of flu and winter bugs starting to affect people in our community, we must all work together to make sure we handle local health services with care.

“If you are poorly and you need support, we are here for you, but we would urge people to consider all of their options.  With a range of support including online and on the phone advice every day, and expert advice about minor ailments and illnesses without an appointment at your local community pharmacy, Bury’s got the right care for you.  If you need support from your GP Practice, try and contact them via online services and only use the Emergency Department (A&E) and the 999 service in critical or life-threatening situations.”

Dr. Chris Brookes, A&E Consultant at Salford Royal, and Group Chief Medical Officer for the Northern Care Alliance, added:

“We are encouraging the public to Help Us, Help You, by keeping A&E free for those who are critically ill and need emergency care, for example those with life-threatening conditions.

“This is even more important during the current pandemic, with A&E capacity limited to adhere to social distancing and the increased infection, prevention and control measures.  Please think carefully about choosing the right healthcare service.

“Emergencies include heart attack or a suspected stroke. If you’re unsure where to go and think you need urgent medical attention, but it’s not life-threatening, contacting NHS 111 can help you make sure you reach the best NHS service for your health need. NHS 111 is available online at 111.nhs.uk as well as by phone.”

ENDS

DATE: 21st October 2020