Help Us Help You this winter

As ever, your health and care services in Bucks will be working hard to ensure you get the care you need at the right time this winter.

But you can Help Us Help You, and those in greatest need, by using our services well.

During the winter, flu, norovirus, and respiratory problems mean many frail and vulnerable people get sicker, leading to more emergency admissions, which has a greater impact on hospitals – particularly with our ageing population.

By using the right services at the right time, you can help us ensure we treat the people who are most in need sooner – and often speed up your own treatment in the process.

Here are some of the ways you can Help Us Help You  by using services well this winter (please click on the links below for more information):

  • Get a flu vaccination, particularly if you are eligible for a free one at your GP surgery or pharmacy.
  • Use your pharmacy at the first sign of illness — ask if an over-the-counter treatment or medicine is suitable. Remember to fill prescriptions and get any essential medicines before the seasonal bank holidays.
  • You can also download the Ask NHS app – available on iOS and Android phones and smart devices. This provides patients with a symptom checker, self-care advice and access to book the most appropriate GP appointment
  • Keep A&E free for serious and life-threatening conditions – instead, use services like the NHS 111 telephone line or healthhelpnow.nhs.uk for health information, advice and appointments with appropriate services.
  • You can book an out-of-hours GP appointment by calling NHS 111.
  • Use the Urgent Treatment Centre at Wycombe Hospital for minor injuries and illnesses.
  • We have launched a new service to access appointments in general practice at evenings and weekends, available to all patients registered with a Bucks GP.
  • Common health problems such as coughs, colds, headaches and back pain can often be treated quickly and effectively from home, without the need for prescription medicines or a GP appointment. Here are some more common winter illnesses and advice on dealing with them.
  • Help prevent the spread of norovirus, or the ‘winter sickness bug’ – if you think you have it, please avoid GP surgeries or hospitals. Norovirus is best self-treated at home in most cases – call 111 for advice if you are unsure.
  • Keep warm and eat well to help prevent flu, colds or more serious conditions.
  • Please remember vulnerable neighbours and relatives — check they have food, medication and a warm home. More advice on how to be a good neighbour here.