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Winter 2018/19 communications toolkit

Welcome to the winter communications toolkit.

This toolkit provides a ‘one-stop-shop’ for resources to help GP practices raise awareness within their practice and local community.  This includes posters and leaflets, articles for GP websites and suggested social media activity. It also provides links to other resources and promotional for national campaigns from NHS England, Self Care Forum and PHE.  The toolkit will be updated on a regular basis to ensure the most up-to-date resource are available at all times.

Background: Winter campaign

The local winter campaign for Suffolk and North East Essex will run until March 2019.  It focuses on the following:

  • Self care – treating winter illnesses at home
  • Flu vaccination – book your flu jab now
  • Being prepared – stocking up your medicine cabinet/repeat prescriptions
  • NHS services – guide to local NHS services

All activity will also support the following national campaigns. You can access a range of resources on the links below.

‘Help Us Help You’ – The national NHSE ‘Help us Help You’ campaign incorporates messages around staying well, NHS 111, flu, Pharmacy and extended GP access.  All GP practices should have received a resources pack for this already, alternatively you can download materials from the national campaign resource centre HERE

Local resources/Materials

The system has developed a series of resources that GP Practices can use to help raise awareness, particularly around self care.  These include:

Posters and flyers – for display stands and patient waiting areas
Winter illnesses – posters and flyers are available to download from the ‘related documents’ section on the right of this page.

Digital screens – to upload to screens in waiting areas 
A selection of Jpeg images are also available that can be uploaded to digital screens in waiting areas.  These can be downloaded from the ‘related documents’ section on the right of this page.

Website resources – to upload to practice websites
Practices are encouraged to update their website with patient information about current campaigns.  You can use the following copy/text on your website.  A series of images than can be used are available to download from the ‘related documents’ section on the right of page.

Website copy

Don’t swallow up your NHS – use it wisely this winter

Winter illnesses such as colds and coughs, sore throats, and upset stomachs can easily be treated at home with medicines available at low cost from your local pharmacy – no GP appointment or prescription required.

Winter self-care essentials include:

  • pain relief (paracetamol)
  • cough and sore throat remedies
  • first aid kit
  • upset stomach treatment
  • rehydration treatment
  • heartburn and indigestion treatment

Having these winter essentials at hand will not only save you time and help you to feel better quicker, but help save the NHS much needed resources.
Your local pharmacist can also offer you advice and guidance on the best treatment for you – no appointment needed.  Pharmacists are available on every high street and in supermarkets with many open evenings and weekends. Local CCGs will be issuing opening times for pharmacies over the Christmas and new year bank holidays from mid December.

Website copy

Use antibiotics on your doctor’s advice
Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, but they are frequently being used to treat illnesses such as coughs, earache and sore throats that can get better by themselves. Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.

Despite the risks of antibiotic resistance, research shows that 38% of people still expect an antibiotic from a doctor’s surgery, NHS walk-in centre or ‘GP out of hours’ service when they visited with a cough, flu or a throat, ear, sinus or chest infection.

Now’s the time to get your free flu jab!
Local residents in at risk groups are being reminded to get their free flu jab.  Adults over 65; those with long term health conditions; children aged two to eight; carers and pregnant women may all be eligible.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people see their GP and tens of thousands are hospitalised because of flu.  Symptoms of flu can be very unpleasant and last for several weeks. It can lead to more serious complications like middle ear infections in children, and pneumonia or bronchitis for those with underlying health conditions, and in some cases it can be fatal.

Flu is a highly contagious illness that spreads rapidly through the population.  It can cause serious complications for at risk groups, such as the elderly, expectant mothers and people with long term health conditions.

Although it’s not possible to know which strains of flu will circulate each winter, the flu vaccination is still the best protection against an unpredictable virus which can cause severe illness and deaths amongst vulnerable groups.

Vaccines are available until March 2019, so contact your GP or pharmacy now – it’s free because you need it. For more information visit www.nhs.uk/staywell/

Social media

Practices are encouraged to help raise awareness of campaigns through their social media channels – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  You can use any of the following tweets and Facebook posts on your accounts.  Alternatively, please follow the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), West Suffolk Hospital or CCG accounts and retweet their activity. A series of images that can be used on social media are available to download from the ‘related documents’ section on the right of page.

Tweets
Now’s the time to get your free flu jab! Over 65; long term health conditions; children aged 2 – 9; and pregnant women may all be eligible.
Winter is coming! Time to stock up on essential medicines to help you treat coughs, colds & sore throats at home.
Antibiotics are not always the answer! Taking them when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk. Always take your doctor’s advice.
Coughs & colds, sore throats & upset tummies can be treated at home with basic medicines – no GP apt required!

 

Facebook posts
Now’s the time to get your free flu jab! Over 65; long term health conditions; children aged 2 – 9; and pregnant women may all be eligible.
Winter is coming…..Coughs & colds, sore throats & upset tummies can all be treated easily at home with basic medicines available from your local pharmacy – no prescription required! Save yourself time, and save the NHS money, see your pharmacist.
Minor winter illnesses such as colds and coughs, sore throats and upset tummies can be treated at home with medicines which you can easily buy from your local pharmacy – no prescription required! Please use your NHS wisely this winter.
Children can get between eight to 10 colds a year, and a cough can last at least three weeks before it starts to improve. Most minor childhood illnesses don’t need a GP appointment and can be treated with basic medications that you can buy at your local pharmacy. Have a look at our guide to childhood illnesses.
Antibiotics are not always the answer! Taking them when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk. Always take your doctor’s advice.

Articles for Practice/local community newsletters

Practices are encouraged to promote campaigns within their local community.  The following article, which is a more general article about winter health can be used in Practice newsletters or local community newsletters such as PPGs, parish councils and community groups.  Images to go alongside it are available to download from the ‘related documents’ section on the right of page.

Article: Stay Well this winter

Winter weather can be seriously bad for our health. Being cold can aggravate existing conditions and raise the risk of increased blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. However, there are lots of things you can do to stay well this winter.

  • Get expert advice – If you start to feel unwell, even if it’s a cough or a cold, don’t wait until it gets more serious. Seek advice on the best treatment from your local pharmacist.
  • Make sure you get your free flu jab- Flu is a highly contagious and can cause serious complications for at risk groups. Adults over 65; those with long term health conditions; children aged 2 – 9; carers and pregnant women may all be eligible for a free flu vaccination – ask your GP today.
  • Stock up your medicine cabinet – A well-stocked medicine cabinet can help you treat common winter ailments such as coughs, colds, sore throats and sickness bugs at home.
  • Keep warm – Keeping warm, both inside and outdoors, over the winter months can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.
  • Get the right help – Make sure you’re receiving all the help you are entitled to. Learn how to make your home more energy efficient and take advantage of financial schemes to keep up with energy bills. Visit Keep Warm, Keep Well for details.

For further information on staying well this winter visit www.nhs.uk/staywell

Help us to help you this winter

Winter is here and we can’t get away from the cold weather and the inevitable bugs that come with it.
BUT there’s an awful lot you can do to help us to help you over the winter months.

Treat things are home

Winter illnesses such as colds and coughs, sore throats, and upset stomachs can easily be treated at home with medicines available at low cost from your local pharmacy – no GP appointment or prescription required.

Winter medicine cabinet essentials include:

  • pain relief (paracetamol)
  • cough and sore throat remedies
  • first aid kit
  • upset stomach treatment
  • rehydration treatment
  • heartburn and indigestion treatment

Having these winter essentials at hand will not only save you time and help you to feel better quicker, but help save the NHS much needed resources.

Your local pharmacist can also offer you advice and guidance on the best treatment for you – no appointment needed.  Pharmacists are available on every high street and in supermarkets with many open evenings and weekends.

Find a pharmacy need you here

Use antibiotics on your doctor’s advice

Antibiotics are essential to treat serious bacterial infections, but they are frequently being used to treat illnesses such as coughs, earache and sore throats that can get better by themselves. Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.

Despite the risks of antibiotic resistance, research shows that 38% of people still expect an antibiotic from a doctor’s surgery, NHS walk-in centre or ‘GP out of hours’ service when they visited with a cough, flu or a throat, ear, sinus or chest infection in 2017.

Get a flu vaccine

Certain groups are at particular risk from flu and vaccination is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus. That’s why the flu vaccine is free – because eligible groups really need it. If you (or someone you care for) falls into one of the following groups, contact your GP practice for a free flu vaccine:

  • adults age 65 and over
  • children age 2-3 and in reception classes through to year 5
  • pregnant women
  • anyone with an underlying condition such as COPD, bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, spleen problems (like sickle cell), liver disease or a chronic neurological disease like multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy
  • anyone with a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medication such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • anyone who receives a carer’s allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • anyone who has a learning disability and are on their GP learning disability register.

If you don’t fall into one of these groups but would still like a flu vaccine, then call into your local pharmacy.

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