Winter is always a challenging time with high demand for NHS services. This year is no exception, with the pandemic bringing additional pressures and concerns that we are working together to manage.
Your support during this time has been a huge help and greatly appreciated by us all. And yet, in spite of the success of the vaccination programme, we do need to ask you to keep your support going throughout the winter months.
This will help ensure that we can continue to deliver services to the people who need them most and to the highest possible standard, particularly urgent care, cancer and GP services.
With the continuing threat posed by COVID-19, and the challenges facing the NHS, it is important that GP practices and hospital facilities are kept as clear as possible for those people who most need them.
That’s why we’re asking people to continue their support for our doctors, nurses and all of our frontline health and care workers, as well as those who support them.
How can you help? By following these ten simple tips:
- Get your COVID-19 booster vaccine as soon as you become eligible for it AND are invited to receive it
- Take up your offer of your first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine if you have not already done so. You will not only be protecting yourself – but everyone you come into contact with
- Get your flu jab this season if you are eligible – COVID-19 is not the only respiratory virus circulating, especially in the winter when you have flu/coughs/colds
- If you think you have COVID-19 (high temperature, new continuous cough, loss of taste/smell) then please self-isolate and book yourself in for a PCR test
- Ensure you have a supply of over-the-counter medicines and treatments at home (kept in a safe place), such as paracetamol and plasters, so that you can be prepared for common illnesses and minor injuries
- If you are a parent or provide care for a child or young person use our Healthier Together website (https://what0-18.nhs.uk/) if you have any concerns about their health and wellbeing. It will put your mind at rest or point you in the direction of the help you need.
- Local pharmacies are a great source of support and advice. They can help with minor ailments and you don’t need an appointment to attend.
- Use NHS 111 online (111.nhs.uk) – alongside the urgent treatment centre at St. Mary's Hospital for help when you need urgent care but it’s not an emergency
- Follow the national advice about Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air where possible – not just for the pandemic, but to help keep down the number of other bugs which thrive in the winter months.
- Please be kind and respectful to the staff that you come across as they try to help you – they are working in difficult circumstances currently but are doing their best to provide you with the support you need.
The NHS aims to be there for you when you need us.
Thank you for all you are doing to support us and for following these tips. We are really grateful.