Talk Before you Walk

Stay healthy and safe this winter

Along with the chilly winter days comes the annual increase in people feeling poorly or under the weather.

Thankfully, with the help of a well-stocked home first aid kit, most people recover well from winter’s crop of minor illnesses without needing to see a doctor. However, for those who are worried or not getting better there are some good ways to get expert medical help and advice – without going to A&E.

The three local clinical commissioning groups – Slough, Windsor, Ascot & Maidenhead and Bracknell & Ascot – have issued some helpful, practical advice about the many options available.

Call NHS 111

When you need help quickly but it’s not an emergency. NHS 111 is available free 24 hours a day every day of the year. Friendly, highly-trained advisors, supported by experienced nurses and paramedics, can talk through your concerns and offer healthcare advice or direct you to the service that can help you best.

Health information is also available around the clock at:

Speak to your local pharmacist

A good starting place when you need health advice, local pharmacists can not only provide over-the-counter medication for everyday ailments but can also offer advice about minor illnesses, such as ear ache, stomach upsets and diarrhoea. Most have consulting rooms to protect patient privacy.

Check your local pharmacy’s opening times over the festive period at:

Christmas and New Year pharmacy opening times

Talk to your GP surgery

GPs, practice nurses and other members of the team can help with a range of services by appointment – but remember if you phone at a particularly busy time they may need to take a message and arrange to call you back later.

Protect yourself against flu

If you are pregnant, over 65 or have a long-term health condition (such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease) you are entitled to a free flu jab from your GP. If you haven’t had your jab this winter, make an appointment as soon as possible.

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 a number of local and easily accessible alternatives available for minor injuries and illnesses:

  • Bracknell Urgent Care Centre, Royal Berkshire Bracknell Healthspace, London Road, Bracknell RG12 9BG – 8am to 8pm every day of the year; tel: 01344 55 11 00

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.

  • Slough Walk-in Health Centre, Upton Hospital. Albert Street SL1 2BJ – 8am to 8pm every day of the year; tel: 01753 635505

For minor illnesses and injuries that don’t require an x-ray. No appointment needed.

  • St Marks Urgent Care Centre, St Marks Hospital, 112 St. Marks Road, Maidenhead SL6 6DU – Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5.00pm; Saturday and Sunday (Bank Holidays, including Christmas Day) 9am to 1.00pm; tel: 03000 242000

For minor injuries and ailments. 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.

For further information visit NHS Choices