East Staffordshire patients advised to use alternatives to A&E

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Health chiefs across East Staffordshire are asking people to consider using alternatives to accident and emergency units.

There has been a large increase in demand locally, and health leaders are reminding people suffering from minor illness or injuries to use options other than A&E and allow the hospital to focus on those people with serious conditions, who need to be seen urgently.

A&E is only for the most serious and life-threatening cases. Alternative sources of care for non-critical ailments are pharmacies, NHS 111, Minor Injuries Units and GP Out-of-Hours services.

Is someone you care for feeling under the weather? Speak to your pharmacy first

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East Staffordshire CCG is encouraging families and carers to keep a close eye on their loved ones to prevent thousands of people dying prematurely from the cold this winter.

This winter, 24,000 older people could die prematurely - that’s nearly 200 preventable deaths a day, more than eight per hour, or one person every seven minutes.

Winter conditions can be bad for your health, particularly for those aged 65 and over or those who have a long term condition. So keeping warm over the winter months is important to help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.

Dr Charles Pidsley, local GP and Chair of East Staffs CCG, said: “Making sure you and your loved ones are looking after themselves properly and taking medication as prescribed if they need it is really important. Also check that they are eating well, taking exercise and seeing others for mental and physical health and wellbeing.

“With the weather getting colder make sure that those you care for have a warm home. This should be at least 18 degrees. Windows should be kept closed at night.

“When the weather is particularly bad make sure you check up them and advise them not to go out. It helps to make sure they have a well-stocked medicine cabinet too, so that they can manage common minor ailments at home.

“If they do become ill make sure they seek help and advice from their pharmacy straight away before symptoms gets worse. This will help them recover much quicker and avoid an unwanted stay in hospital.”

If you need to speak to the NHS urgently call 111. They can advise you on the best course of action.

Access self-care advice and information on the right NHS services at www.nhs.uk/staywell

If your child is ill over Christmas will you know where to go?

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East Staffordshire CCG is urging those looking after children over Christmas to make sure they know about basic common illnesses so they know what to do if a child is unwell.

Winter illnesses are circulating and many GP surgeries will be closed over the festive period so parents and carers should be ready deal with common childhood illnesses, such as coughs and colds.

Make sure that your medicine cupboard is well stocked with essentials such as pain relief, cough medicine and oral rehydration sachets, and make sure everything is in date.

Publication of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Sustainability and Transformation Plan

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Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent’s  Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for developing local health and social care services over the next five years has been published today, Thursday 15 December 2016, for further public discussion and feedback.

This follows on from a series of ten “Conversation Staffordshire” and “Conversation Stoke-on-Trent” events hosted by both local Healthwatch organisations during November and December.  Full reports on the events will be made available by Healthwatch. 

Be prepared for Christmas and issue your repeat prescriptions now

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As Christmas approaches, there are lots of things to think about and medication needs can often get forgotten - but health chiefs in East Staffordshire are reminding patients to be prepared and stock-up now.

Many GP practices and pharmacies will have limited opening hours between Christmas and New Year, so East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is advising those with long-term conditions to order and collect their repeat prescriptions in plenty of time.

Repeat prescriptions can be ordered online by using GP Online Services, a simple website that can also be used to make and cancel appointments and view medical records.