By being prepared and making the right choices this winter you will be better placed to stay healthy, keep control of your health and wellbeing and get the right care for you and your family when you need it.
The NHS will feel better too. If more people are able to care for themselves that will ease the pressure on our health services and help to make sure the right care is available when people need it.
Being prepared can include making sure you have plenty of warm clothes and food at home and that you think carefully about what you wear if you have to go out in bad weather. Think carefully about how you travel and it is also important to keep an eye out for elderly neighbours who may find the cold weather more difficult to cope with.
Here we explain how you can care for yourself and where to go if you need help and advice.
Remember – always Talk Before You Walk and make sure the service you choose is the right one for you and your family.
Where to go
Firstly it may be possible to treat yourself at home. Always make sure you have a well stocked first aid kit.
Your local pharmacist
Pharmacists offer a range of healthcare services; they provide additional services such as advice about minor illnesses (for example coughs, colds, diarrhoea and vomiting), stop smoking advice, the morning after pill, advice on how to manage your medicines as well as ordering repeat prescriptions. Most pharmacists also offer private consulting rooms so you do not need to talk over the counter. Find out more about your local pharmacy here.
Call NHS 111 if it is not a life threatening emergency and you do not know who to call for medical help or your GP surgery is closed. They also give advice and information on local NHS services. Calls from landlines and mobiles are free.
Visit your GP
GP surgeries provide a range of services by appointment, including medical advice, examinations and prescriptions and can give urgent advice between 8am and 6.30pm Monday to Friday. Check with your GP practice directly for information.
Don't forget - If you are pregnant, are aged over 65, or have a long term health condition (such as diabetes, asthma or a heart condition), you can get a free seasonal flu jab from your GP.
Reading Walk-in Centre
1st Floor, 103 - 105 Broad Street Mall, Reading, RG1 7QA Tel: 0118 902 8300
Reading Walk-in Health Centre provides access to a GP or nurse seven days a week, 365 days a year between 8am and 8pm.
More information on how they can help you is available here.
The Minor Injuries Unit in West Berkshire Community Hospital
London Road, Benham Hill, Thatcham, RG18 3AS. Phone: 01635 273 508
Opening hours are 8am - 10pm every day except Christmas Day when opening hours are 10am - 6pm.
The Minor Injuries Unit are able to treat a wide range of minor injuries and conditions.
More information is available on their website.
Accident and Emergency Departments/999
Emergency Departments and 999 are for serious or critical conditions or life threatening emergencies only. There are many alternatives available – Talk Before You Walk to make sure you get the right NHS care for you.