South east Londoners urged to know where to go if ill this winter
From coughs colds and flu to dodgy tums, every year winter weather means more illness and greater pressure on health services. That is why NHS Bexley, Greenwich and Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are joining forces this year to urge residents to know where to go if they need medical help.
The call comes after the health service in England came under significant additional pressure last winter as a result of a 'perfect storm' of extreme weather conditions, the worst flu season in a decade and high levels of norovirus.
The three CCGs plan to run a digital winter campaign via social media in addition to the national Help Us Help You winter campaign.
The ads have bright bold artwork, specifically designed to help patients choose the right service when they are feeling unwell. There are so many places to get health advice and treatment that you and your family can access including self care, pharmacies and NHS 111. By making a sensible choice, you can help us to help you stay well this winter. The campaign targets adults within the three boroughs, runs from the end of November to February and will use a traffic light scheme to highlight services available locally.
Dr Sid Deshmukh, local GP and Chair at NHS Bexley CCG, said: "We are urging patients to help us manage the increase in demand this winter. By knowing where to go and choosing the right service, people will access the treatment they need more quickly and help reduce pressure on health services."
Dr Krishna Subbarayan, Clinical Chair NHS Greenwich CCG, said: "Winter is a busy time for the NHS, but we are providing coordinated support in the three boroughs to ensure our patients know what to do and where to go if they think they're coming down with an illness. By acting early on minor ailments, they could prevent more serious complications leading to possible hospital admission."
Dr Faruk Majid, local GP and Chair at NHS Lewisham CCG, commented: "It's really important that residents make the best use of all the health services available in their boroughs, simple things like a well-stocked medicine cabinet and talking to your local pharmacist can really help keep winter conditions under control. We're working with our neighbouring boroughs to raise awareness of these services and help our residents to use the right service.