Campaign aims to keep Wharfedale people healthy over winter period

Ilkley Gazette: A flu jab is one of the ways to stay safe and well this winter - check if you are eligible with your GP A flu jab is one of the ways to stay safe and well this winter - check if you are eligible with your GP

Doctors are launching a campaign to urge patients in Wharfedale to look after their health this winter and get the right NHS treatment if they are ill.

The winter campaign focuses on helping people to make the right choices about which health services they use over the winter.

The NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in West Yorkshire have joined together to fund the campaign so that as many people as possible across the region get the messages.

Demand on emergency services increases dramatically at this time of year and doctors want to encourage patients to stop and think: does this injury or illness really need emergency treatment?

Radio adverts will be aired, backed up by a new website – nhsstaywell.org – which will be give information on how to make the right choice.

Topics covered include: not using A&E when you don’t need it; stocking your medicine cabinet; repeat prescriptions for long-term conditions; and using the symptom checker on nhs.uk. Additional messages about staying safe in icy conditions, the importance of hand washing to keep bugs at bay; and avoiding accidents after a night out also feature.

Dr Colin Renwick, clinical chair at Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG, said: “We want people to stay well this winter, but if they do get ill the campaign gives them all the information they need to get the right treatment, even if that’s self-care, so that our accident and emergency service is left for those people who really need it.

“We need to make sure that everyone knows about the range of NHS services that they can use if they fall ill this winter. If you use an alternative to A&E when you aren’t seriously ill, it could mean that you end up waiting for less time to receive care.

“This will also leave emergency services to devote time to helping those with life-threatening and emergency conditions, such as heart attacks, strokes and serious injuries.”

Treatment options include: self care – with a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home; pharmacist for expert advice on common illnesses and the best medicines to treat them; GP (doctor) for illnesses that just won’t go away; call 111 if you need urgent healthcare; A&E or 999 only if you need very urgent medical attention.

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