Talk Before you Walk this Winter

Stay healthy and safe this Christmas

With the long bank holiday weekends around Christmas and New Year fast approaching, it is important to think about your health and what to do if you are feeling unwell. During public holidays pharmacies and GP practices operate under reduced opening hours meaning it is advisable to ensure you have anything you might need prior to the start of the holiday.

If you or someone you care for requires medicines regularly, make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you have enough medicine to last over the holiday period. This can be a very busy time for the local NHS, so picking up a repeat prescription in advance could help keep staff free to deal with those who may need more urgent support.

To protect against flu, don’t forget to have your flu jab! It is free for those between 2-5 years old, pregnant women, those who are over 65 and people with long term conditions. Speak to your GP or pharmacist for more information.

Common ailments such as colds can often be effectively treated at home with readily available medicine, so make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit including:

  • paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain and/or fever (in adults and children);
  • medicine to combat diarrhoea;
  • rehydration mixture;
  • plasters;
  • a thermometer.

However, if you are worried or not getting better here are some good ways to get expert medical help and advice – without going to A&E.

Call NHS 111

When you need help quickly but it’s not an emergency, call NHS 111 where friendly, highly-trained staff are available to talk to you direct about your health concerns. Advisors are supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. They will ask questions about your symptoms and then offer healthcare advice or direct you to the service that can help you best.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is FREE to call from landlines or mobile phones.

Health information is also available around the clock at:

Speak to your local pharmacist

Your pharmacy is a good place to start when you need health advice. Pharmacists can not only provide over-the-counter medication for everyday ailments such as coughs and colds but can also offer advice about minor illnesses, such as earache, stomach upsets and diarrhoea.

Pharmacies offer stop smoking advice, the morning-after pill, advice on how to manage your medicines – and most have private consulting rooms so you don’t need to explain what’s wrong with the possibility of other people listening in.

Check your local pharmacy’s opening times, particularly over the Christmas and New Year holiday period by clicking here.

Talk before you Walk – where to go for help

Emergency departments and 999 are for serious or critical conditions or life-threatening emergencies only.

There are many real alternatives available so ‘Talk before you Walk’ to make sure you get the right NHS care for you.

Bracknell Urgent Care Centre
Royal Berkshire Bracknell Healthspace
London Road
Bracknell
RG12 9BG
Open from 8am to 8pm every day of the year

The centre treats minor injuries and illnesses that need immediate assessment and treatment but don’t require a visit to A&E. The centre is led by nurses and supported by a GP at all times – but it is not an alternative to your GP surgery which should be contacted first if at all possible.

Waiting times vary, depending on the time of day and the number of patients, and staff will prioritise certain groups of people, including children and the elderly.

Call 111 to speak to someone before you visit.

Slough Walk-in Health Centre
Upton Hospital
Albert Street
SL1 2BJ
Tel: 01753 635505
Open from 8am to 8pm every day of the year

The centre is available for people with minor illnesses and injuries that don’t require an x-ray.

No appointments are necessary.

St Marks Urgent Care Centre
St Marks Hospital
112 St. Marks Road
Maidenhead
SL6 6DU
Open Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5.00pm; Saturday and Sunday (Bank Holidays) 9am to 1.00pm.

The centre is for minor injuries and ailments including bites and stings, foot and hand injuries, cuts and bruises, back pain, strains and sprains, burns and scalds, eye problems, panic attacks, breathing problems, fever, rashes etc.

Additional services include weekday x-rays for minor fractures (for all patients over two years) and advice and support for long-term conditions such as high blood pressure and heart and lung diseases.

Call 111 to speak to someone before you visit.

For further information visit NHS Choices at www.nhs.uk/Pages/HomePage.aspx.