How to help you and your loved ones stay well this winter

Your local NHS today issues an eight-point ‘call to action’ to help residents to stay well this winter.

With the continuing threat posed by Covid-19, and the challenges facing the NHS across the area, it is important that local GP practices and hospital facilities are able to be available for the people who most need them. Local health and care teams are working more closely together than ever before to make sure people can get the support they need.

Doctors who work in surgeries and hospitals across North and Mid Hampshire urge you to please:

  • Get your Covid-19 booster vaccine as soon as you become eligible and you are invited
  • Take up your offer of your first or second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine if you have not already done so. You will be protecting both yourself and everyone you come into contact with
  • Get your flu jab, if you are eligible – Covid-19 is not the only virus in circulation, especially in the winter months
  • Self isolate and book a PCR test if you think you have Covid-19 symptoms (high temperature, new continuous cough, loss of taste/smell)
  • Ensure you have a good supply of over-the-counter medicines and treatments at home, such as paracetamol and plasters, so that you can self-care if you become unwell
  • Remember that pharmacies are a great, local resource. They can help with minor ailments and you don’t need an appointment to attend
  • Use NHS 111 online – they can give you expert advice and support (and book you into appointments directly) without having to leave your own home
  • 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.

Dr Charlotte Hutchings, local GP and clinical director (North and Mid Hampshire), for NHS Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Covid-19 or winter bugs can affect anyone, but for some people – especially anyone with a long-term condition – the risk of serious illness is much greater and so it is absolutely vital to protect yourself with vaccinations when you are invited. 

“The NHS will always try to there for you when you need us, but there are some easy, essential things that everyone can do to help themselves, and the frontline teams who are working so hard. Please make sure you know your local options for getting healthcare in a hurry, that you are prepared in case illness strikes, and that you take every chance to protect yourself with a vaccination.” 

Dr Lara Alloway, chief medical officer at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospitals in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester, said: “Winters are always challenging times for all our health and care services, and this year is no different. Since the pandemic we are now seeing unprecedented levels of demand, and our teams across the patch are working tirelessly to deal with the pressures we are facing.

“We are incredibly grateful for how supportive the local community has been in both support of our staff and following the guidelines brought about by COVID-19. The pandemic has had a huge impact on all of our lives, and as it continues to do so, it remains so important we don’t take our foot of the pedals now and do all we can to keep ourselves well, so that our hospitals can focus our resources on those who need our services the most.”