AS we start the New Year, the NHS is reminding everyone of the importance of looking after ourselves and each other.

For many the winter season can pose problems for health and wellbeing, especially for older people and/or those with a long-term health conditions. Cold and wet weather, ice, snow and windy conditions all play their part in making existing health conditions worse and making people vulnerable to picking up winter illnesses such as colds, sore throats, asthma, norovirus and most commonly the flu. Many can also experience loneliness due to being more shut off due to the dark nights and colder weather.

There are some simple steps people can take to maintain their health and wellbeing during the winter months and as part of the preparations for the New Year ahead, NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), is urging people to get organised with their health too by looking after themselves and each other.

Dr John Caine, local GP and chair of the CCG, said:

“The sense of community is so important and it’s essential that people are mindful of people who may be more isolated or vulnerable over the winter months.  We recommend checking on older neighbours, ensuring they have the basics such as adequate heating and food provisions especially during very cold weather spells.

“Ensure you have your basic first aid kit topped up at home with basics such as cough medicine and pain killers so that you can self-treat minor issues at home.  It is also incredibly important for everyone to carefully consider which health service to use when so the urgent services can focus on those who are most in need”.

 

The CCG is also reminding local residents to use Patient Access to keep on top of repeat prescriptions by just using their phone.

 

Dr Caine continues:

 

“Another thing we are all guilty of over the festive season is overindulging. While that is all part of the celebrations, it is important that everyone maintains the most active healthiest lifestyle they can. There are many ways you can do this by eating a balanced diet and enjoying walks in the local park or a new fitness class, or by doing more day to day exercise such as taking the stairs and walking to the local shop”.

 

Active West Lancs offers a variety of programmes and activities to help borough residents improve their health and wellbeing. Free Active Weight classes are starting mid-January at various locations across the borough and there are also health walks, walking football, tai chi, gym and line dancing sessions available to try. More information, including how to access courses and classes, is available at http://activewestlancs.org/.

 

Councillor Yvonne Gagen, portfolio holder for Leisure, said:

 

“Make 2020 the year you make your health a priority. Active West Lancs can help you achieve your goal, so take a look at the website and find the activities that are right for you”.

 

The following health services are available to people in West Lancashire:

 

Pharmacy Pharmacies offer free, confidential and expert advice about minor health concerns.

Online Access trusted advice and information by visiting www.nhs.uk

NHS111 When you need medical help or advice fast, but it is not a 999 emergency, call NHS111 service for FREE from mobile/landline

GP GPs are open in core hours during the day, although local practice times may vary.

Extended Access Local GP’s are available evenings/weekend, seven days a week, 365 days-a-year. To book an appointment, call your GP practice or visit www.nhs.uk/GPaccess

GP out-of-hours You can still speak to a GP even after your practice has closed by using the GP out-of-hours service. To access this service, simply call NHS111 or visit www.111.nhs.uk.

Dental For emergency treatment when your dentist is closed, call ‪0300 123 4010‬.

Walk-in Centre and Urgent Treatment Centre Both centres can treat minor injuries and ailments, and are open seven days a week, 365 days-a-year and open 8am-8pm. Ormskirk Urgent Treatment Centre (Ormskirk Hospital, Wigan Road, Ormskirk, L39 2AZ), call 111 for appointment. Skelmersdale Walk-in Centre (The Concourse, Skelmersdale, WN8 6LJ) You will be seen in priority order, which will be decided by a clinician.

Patient Access www.patientaccess.com