Free health advice to avoid unnecessary visits to over-stretched hospital A&E

Schoolchildren are being vaccinated

Schoolchildren are being vaccinated

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A special health advice service is being offered at Milton Keynes’ into shopping centre as part of a national campaign to avoid unnecessary visits to the hospital A&E.

The NHS is taking part in ‘Feeling Under the Weather?’ campaign in a bid to raise awareness of alternative healthcare services to A&E. The aim is to prevent winter ills ruining the New Year, especially for those over 60 and their carers.

To support the free advice available to these groups online, the MK Clinical Commissioning Group (MK CCG) will have a number of healthcare representatives at the intu Shopping Centre, from 10am – 4pm today (Saturday, January 10, who will be on hand to provide winter wellbeing advice for people. The aim is to help those most at risk of cold weather ailments identify their most appropriate care and support when they begin to feel unwell.

The team will also be inviting commuters and sales shoppers to take part in a scratch card quiz, aimed at testing their knowledge on maintaining positive health and wellbeing during the winter months. The ‘Feeling Under the Weather?’ scratch cards are a fun way to identify where common winter ailments can be identified early and treated, with some surprising results that could really help people to avoid lengthy GP or A&E waits this year.

Dr Nicola Smith, GP chairman of NHS Milton Keynes CCG, said: “Feeling Under the Weather?’ is a national campaign aimed at getting people accessing the right treatment, quickly. We are encouraging everyone to identify their ailments early. Flu and chills can quickly develop into something more serious.

“So ask your local pharmacist for advice, or call NHS 111 or your own GP or surgery. Walk-in and Urgent Care Centres can also be accessed for the more serious conditions and may offer more appropriate treatment than your local hospital’s A&E can offer.

“At the event, people can discuss their local healthcare options and discover alternative places to receive advice and treatment. We often find that people can look after themselves better before their symptoms become major, once they know what to look out for. The campaign encourages people with winter related symptoms to act quickly; cold weather does not necessarily go hand in hand with illness!”

Milton Keynes CCG is also hosting additional ‘Feeling under the Weather?’ events across the area which include free mini health check-ups. For details visit the CCG website: www.miltonkeynesccg.nhs.uk/under-the-weather. Twitter @NHSMKCCG and #undertheweather.