Stoptober – the 28-day quit smoking campaign – is back.

Stoptober, the 28-day stop smoking campaign from Public Health England, is back from 1st October. Stoptober has driven over 1 million quit attempts to date and is the biggest mass quit attempt in the country. It is based on research that shows that if you can stop smoking for 28-days, you are five times more likely to stay smokefree for good.

All the support you need to quit

Everyone’s quitting journey is different, but with Stoptober, you won’t be on your own. Join the thousands quitting smoking with Stoptober and get all the support you need to help you on your quit journey.

There a lots of ways to quit and Stoptober can help you choose what works for you. You can quit using medication (including nicotine replacement therapies such as patches and gum) or e-cigarettes. Stoptober offers a range of free support to help you including an app, daily emails, Facebook Messenger and lots of encouragement from the Stoptober online community on Facebook. In addition, you can get expert face-to-face advice from local stop smoking services.

Those who use stop smoking aids and who get face-to-face support from their local stop smoking service are up to four times more likely to quit successfully. Stopping smoking is the best thing you can do for your health and the health of those around you. If you can make it to 28 days smokefree, you’re 5 times more likely to stay quit for good.

Just search ‘Stoptober’ or visit our campaigns page to find out more.

How healthy is your heart?

Heart disease (including heart attack and stroke) is still the leading cause of death amongst men. Throughout September alone, 12,700 people will die from a heart attack or stroke.

To increase awareness about heart health and reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke, Public Health England (PHE) is urging adults to take three minutes out of their day to take the Heart Age Test.

The Heart Age Test is being re-launched as part of the One You Adult Health programme to mark the start of PHE’s Healthy Heart campaign, which will run throughout September in partnership with leading cardiovascular charities.

The Test offers an online assessment for anyone over 30 which allows a person to input basic physical and lifestyle-related information, and provides an immediate estimation of their ‘heart age’. Having a heart age older than your chronological age means that you are at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

New One You campaign encourages adults across the country to get more active by building just 10 minutes of brisk walking into their daily lives

Modern day life makes it hard to be healthy, so it’s not surprising that most of us are not fitting enough physical activity into our days. Sitting down at work and commuting by car or public transport means we’re not active for a lot of the working day and technology allows us to shop and stay in touch without ever having to leave the sofa.

However, a brisk ten minute walk can make a huge difference to your health – it gets the heart pumping faster, can make you feel better, more energetic and improve your mood. Over time, brisk walking can help to lower the risk of serious illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The One You campaign is encouraging adults to start improving their health by walking briskly for 10 minutes each day and to help, people are being encouraged to download the ‘Active 10’ app. This free app shows how much brisk walking you’re doing, when you can increase your pace and how you can fit more brisk walking intoyour day. It also sets goals and provides hints and tips to keep you going, and has been endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

50,000 people have already downloaded the app and are on their way to a healthier lifestyle, so why not join them?

Search ‘Active 10’ online to find out more and to download the app.

Keep your shirt on and ‘cover up mate’ this summer

Men in Wiltshire who spend a lot of time outside are being urged to ‘Cover up Mate’ this summer to protect their skin and reduce their risk of developing skin cancer.

Cover up Mate is a national campaign targeting men who work outside including farmers, builders, sportsmen and gardeners, because they are much less likely than women to slap on the sun cream.

Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair, Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said,
“A sun tan is a sign of damage to the skin, and sunburn increases your risk of developing skin cancer later in life. Outdoor workers such as farmers or those working in the construction industry often just want to get on with the job, but they may end up paying the price for not protecting their skin.”

Summer is a busy time for farmers especially when the sun is shining, making it easy to forget what damage it can do to your skin. Local farmer, Anthony Hues is supporting the Cover up Mate Campaign, and said, “It really is a case of making hay while the sun shines for farmers and it makes a change to work outside in the good weather rather than the rain! Cover up Mate has made me realise how important using sun cream is and I owe it to myself and my family to take the risk of skin cancer seriously and will definitely be slapping on the sun cream in future.”

Dr Jenkins continues:
“We don’t want to put anyone off enjoying the sun, but it’s important to remember to take some quick simple precautions to lower the risk of skin cancer and be sun safe.”


Top sun safe tips

  • Use at least factor 15 sunscreen with 4 stars and use plenty of it
  • Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin – don’t forget your neck and ears and your head if you have thinning or no hair
  • Wear sunglasses and a hat
  • Get to know your skin and check on a monthly basis to detect any change in the colour or size of moles. If you are concerned that a mole is changing you should see your GP in the first instance. The sooner a cancerous mole is discovered the better the chance of successful treatment.

Cover Up Mate and reduce your risk of skin cancer

19 July 2017 – As part of the national Cover Up Mate campaign Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging men who spend long periods of time outdoors cover up and to protect themselves from the sun. 

The number of people being diagnosed with skin cancer is increasing and men are being targeted as they are less likely to slap on the sun cream and don’t realise the harm they are doing to their skin.  

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill from Market Lavington Practice said:
“Being outdoors is essential for farmers, builders, groundsmen and sportsmen, but it’s important they understand the risks associated with the sun and take steps to keep themselves safe from skin cancer. Getting burnt, even if it is just slightly, does increase your risk in the long term.”

Skin cancer rates in the South West are higher than average and figures released by Public Health England show that between 2005 and 2014, deaths related to skin cancer increased by 22 percent in men, but there was no increase in deaths among women.

Dean Smart, a construction worker in Marlborough is supporting the cover up mate campaign and said:
“I would urge anyone who works outside to cover up and make sure they wear suncream.  It’s great working outside when the sun is shining and I didn’t really think about the risks of skin cancer that come with it – I will definitely be slapping on the sun cream and covering up from now on.”
Dr Sandford-Hill continues:
“The good news is that’s it’s easy and simple to keep yourself sun-safe when working outside.  By taking just a few minutes to apply sun cream and ensure you’ve got your hat and sunglasses can help protect you from skin cancer.”

Top sun safe tips include:

  • Use at least factor 15 sunscreen with 4 stars and use plenty of it
  • Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin – don’t forget your neck and ears and your head if you have thinning or no hair
  • Wear sunglasses and a hat
  • Get to know your skin and check on a monthly basis to detect any change in the colour or size of moles. If you are concerned that a mole is changing you should see your GP in the first instance.  The sooner a cancerous mole is discovered the better the chance of successful treatment.

Act F.A.S.T. campaign returns to empower people to call 999 at any sign of a stroke

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups is supporting the annual ‘Act F.A.S.T.’ stroke campaign.

On 2 February 2017, Public Health England will relaunch the national “Act FAST” stroke campaign, working closely with the Stroke Association. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of stroke and to encourage people who recognise any single one of the symptoms of stroke, in themselves or others, to call 999 immediately.
Running from until 31 March 2017 the campaign includes TV, radio, social media and outdoor advertising and is supported by PR.

The F.A.S.T. (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) acronym has featured in the advertising for a number of years and is a simple test to help people identify the most common signs of a stroke, and to emphasise the importance of acting quickly by calling 999. F.A.S.T. teaches people what to look out for in themselves and in others:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time to call 999

There are some of other symptoms that people should be aware of as these may occasionally be due to stroke. These include:

  • Sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion
  • Sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall, especially with any of the other symptoms

Acting F.A.S.T. as soon as stroke symptoms present themselves can not only save lives but potentially limit long-term effects.

A stroke is a ‘brain attack’, caused by a disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. It’s a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. So recognising the signs of stroke and calling 999 for an ambulance is crucial.

Approximately 110,000 people have a stroke each year in England. It is the third largest cause of death, and the largest cause of complex disability; over half of all stroke survivors are left with a disability.

The sooner somebody who is having a stroke gets urgent medical attention, the better their chances of a good recovery.

One of the main objectives of the campaign is get people who witness somebody showing stroke symptoms to overcome any initial reluctance to call. They are being asked to ‘Make the Call’ and dial 999.

Act FAST. Make the Call. Dial 999.

Visit our campaign page for more information.

Parents in the South West urged to spot the deadly signs of sepsis

A nationwide campaign to help parents spot the symptoms of sepsis to protect young children and save lives has been launched today by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The campaign is principally aimed at parents and carers of young children aged 0-4 and will include a new film featuring mother and campaigner Melissa Mead, who lost her baby son William to sepsis in December 2014.

The UK Sepsis Trust estimates that there are more than 120,000 cases of sepsis in adults and children, and around 37,000 deaths, each year in England.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
“Sepsis is a devastating condition that we need to far get better at spotting across the NHS. By raising awareness and improving clinical practice we will save lives in the fight against this horrible illness. I’d like to thank those who have worked with us to campaign for better awareness of sepsis, including Melissa Mead and other families who have tragically lost children to sepsis.”

Campaign supporter and UK Sepsis trust ambassador Melissa Mead said:
“Sepsis is a cruel, ruthless condition which doesn’t discriminate and can affect anyone. I hope this campaign reaches as many people as possible, so all parents out there know about sepsis and how serious it can be. The more parents know, the quicker they can act if they suspect their child may be suffering from sepsis – it could be life-saving.”

“I will never hear my sweet child say ‘mummy I love you’. I will never know the man that William would have grown to be. So please, it is too late for me to ‘think sepsis’, but it’s not too late for you.

Millions of leaflets and posters are being sent to GP surgeries and hospitals across the country from tomorrow. These materials, developed with the Royal Colleges, will urge parents to call 999 or take their child to A&E if they display any of the following signs:

  • Looks mottled, bluish or pale
  • Is very lethargic or difficult to wake
  • Feels abnormally cold to touch
  • Is breathing very fast
  • Has a rush that does not fade when you press it
  • Has a fit or convulsion
Morwenna Tudor from Gloucester, whose daughter Penelope contracted sepsis in 2014, said:
“Penelope had sepsis when she was 22 months old. She probably got it from chicken pox, which initially masked the symptoms of lethargy, lack of interest in food and drink, and struggling to urinate. Thankfully, our doctor realised and sent us straight to hospital where medical staff acted fast. After several surgeries, blood transfusions and a six week stay in hospital, and what was a terrifying and emotionally exhausting time for us as a family, we were able to bring Penelope home. She has some long-term damage to her hip joint and it’s possible she may have to have a hip replacement in the future. We had no idea about sepsis until Penelope was ill, so we fully support this campaign and urge all parents to ‘think sepsis’.”
Caroline Gamlin, NHS England South West Medical Director, said:
“Sepsis is a major killer, claiming over 37,000 lives each year, which is why it is so important for parents to know what action to take when their child is unwell. This campaign will help parents identify when their children are seriously unwell and to encourage them to seek urgent medical attention. We know that acting quickly can save a child’s life.

“Right across NHS England we have started a new movement to tackle this condition head on, from nurses and doctors on the wards, to paramedics seeing patients in their homes, staff across the NHS are being made more aware of how to spot and deal with sepsis.”

Dr Ron Daniels BEM, Chief Executive of the UK Sepsis Trust which will help deliver the campaign, added:
“With sepsis claiming over 37,000 lives annually in England, this awareness campaign is a crucial step forward. Clinicians and members of the public can save thousands of lives every year if they just ask: could it be sepsis?”

“The UK Sepsis Trust welcomes this initiative, but system-wide improvements to sepsis care must follow. We’re delighted to have developed campaign materials that will empower parents to identify sepsis symptoms in their children and seek medical attention immediately.”

Sir Bruce Keogh, National Medical Director for NHS England said:
“This time last year NHS England published a blueprint for action to tackle this dangerous condition, and since then a huge amount has been done. NHS England has made available funding worth up to £2m for big hospitals to implement systems that speed up the recognition and treatment of sepsis. Pop-up reminders for sepsis also now appear on GP systems, and information on sepsis is included in the ‘Red Book’ for new parents. For healthcare professionals, NICE has published guidance and Health Education England has produced educational materials.

“This work has been driven by the desire of doctors, nurses and other health professionals to unite and take action. This campaign is an important addition to our ongoing work – we will never treat sepsis in time unless everyone ‘thinks sepsis’.”

The campaign, delivered by Public Health England and the UK Sepsis Trust, comes on top of a number of measures already taken by the NHS to improve early recognition and timely treatment of sepsis. We have introduced a national scheme to make sure at-risk patients are screened for sepsis as quickly as possible and receive timely treatment on admission to hospital. We are also working with Health Education England to make sure all health professionals have the knowledge and skills to identify and treat sepsis.

The campaign will involve a range of activities including the release of a series of new symptom awareness films led by Melissa Mead and supported by other families who have been affected by the condition, including Hayley Astley whose daughter Layla contracted sepsis aged 13 weeks and Patrick Kane, now 19, who developed the condition aged nine months. The campaign is also being supported by a partnership with Netmums, the UK’s biggest, most trusted and influential parenting site.

For further information on sepsis, visit nhs.uk/sepsis or www.sepsistrust.org

15,500 missed GP Practice appointments across Wiltshire in three months

An equivalent of 516 days of general practitioner time was lost during July –September 2016 because more than 15,500 GP, nurse and healthcare assistant appointments were missed across Wiltshire’s 55 GP Practices.

Known as ‘Did Not Attend’ appointments they have a huge impact on the health economy, prevent other patients from being seen and waste the time of ever-stretched doctors and nurses.

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is urging patients to take a few minutes to cancel their appointments if they are no longer required, or if they are unable to attend. Practices will then be able to offer those slots to other patients who require them and help to reduce appointment waiting times.

Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire CCG said:
Every missed appointment it is a missed opportunity for practices to see another patient. Between July and September that means practices could have seen another 15,500 patients, which is staggering. Simply by cancelling unwanted appointments, even if it is a few minutes before, it means that other patients have an opportunity to be seen more quickly and perhaps see their own GP. We were aware that most practices experience several DNAs each day, but the volumes we are seeing are quite frankly, shocking.

On average a GP will conduct 30 appointments per day and based on the total number of missed appointments for July – September 2016, the equivalent of 516 days of general practitioner time has been lost.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, a GP at Market Lavington Surgery explains on behalf of Wiltshire Practices:
As doctors, we understand that people lead busy lives, that plans often change and quite often many people feel better by the time of their pre-booked appointment, so needing to change or cancel it is not a problem – please just remember to let your surgery know.

At a time when NHS resources are stretched to the hilt, it’s really important that people understand the impact they have if they simply do not turn up. Everyone has responsibility to look after the NHS – it’s tax payers money after all – and we urge Wiltshire people to cancel when they don’t need the appointment so that those most in need are able to be seen more quickly.

People supported to Stay Well this Winter with free flu vaccination

As a major campaign launches to help keep people safe this winter, eligible people are being encouraged to get a free flu vaccination to help prevent serious illness.

Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group are supporting Public Health England’s Stay Well this Winter campaign, which launches today (October 12),  and aims to ensure people who are most at risk from suffering ill-health this winter get the support they need to prevent them becoming poorly.

To help with this, all GPs throughout the county are offering free flu vaccinations to:

  • all two, three or four year olds, i.e. born between 1 September 2011 and 31 August 2014
  • those aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
  • pregnant women
  • those aged 65 years and over
  • those in long-stay residential care homes
  • carers

In addition to this, if they prefer, eligible adults can access their free vaccination at many pharmacies and this year, for the first time in Wiltshire (not including Swindon), all children in school years 1, 2 and 3, i.e. born between 1 September 2008 and 31 August 2011, will be able to access the immunisation directly at their school.

As there are many different flu strains which change each year, even if people had the vaccination last year they should still take up this year’s offer and protect themselves again from the virus.

Flu is not the same as the common cold. It is caused by a different group of viruses and often tends to start quicker, is more severe and lasts longer. Some people are more susceptible to the effects of flu and for them, it can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions worse. In the worst cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital, or even death.

Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health, Jerry Wickham said:
“I would urge those eligible not to put off getting the vaccine as it’s the safest and most effective way to help people protect themselves from flu and reduce the risk of falling seriously ill.

“Winter can be a difficult time for some but with the collective support from our partners and ourselves we hope to give people the best chance to be safe and well.”

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group added,
“Flu is highly contagious and spreads rapidly, causing serious life threatening complications for those most at risk, such as the elderly, expectant mothers and people with long term conditions.  Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect these vulnerable people from catching flu.

“I urge everyone who is offered the vaccine for free on the NHS to have it. Please don’t underestimate the severity of flu, get your jab now to protect yourself through the winter and stay flu safe.”

For advice and information about the flu vaccination, people should speak to their GP, practise nurse or pharmacist. For more information people should also visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk or www.wiltshireccg.co.uk.

header-image

Stoptober – the 28-day quit smoking campaign – is back.

Based on research that if you stop smoking for 28-days you are five times more likely to quit for good, England’s seven million smokers are being encouraged to take part in this year’s Stoptober campaign, starting on 1 October.

Visit the Stoptober website to find out about a range of free and proven support available to help you start your quitting journey for 28 days and beyond.

From the app, email and social media support including Facebook Messenger, to more information about the expert face to face support that your local Stop Smoking Service (LSSS) can offer, as well as the different types of stop smoking aids available to you; including medicines and e-cigarettes – Stoptober is here to help you. 3

Everyone’s quitting journey is different, but you will not be alone. Nearly a million people have taken part since Stoptober began five years ago, so join in with the biggest stop smoking challenge of its kind, search Stoptober and find the right support for you.

For more information, visit our campaigns page.

More than 4,700 missed GP Practice appointments for Wiltshire – in one month

In July 2016 more than 4,700 GP, nurse and healthcare assistant appointments were missed across Wiltshire’s 58 GP Practices, an equivalent of around 156 days of general practitioner time.

Known as ‘Did Not Attend’ appointments they have a huge impact on the health economy, prevent other patients from being seen and waste the time of ever-stretched doctors and nurses.

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is urging patients to take a few minutes to cancel their appointments if they are no longer required, or if they are unable to attend. Practices will then be able to offer those slots to other patients who require them and help to reduce appointment waiting times.

Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair of Wiltshire CCG said:
“For every missed appointment it is a missed opportunity for practices to see another patient. Simply by cancelling unwanted appointments, even if it is a few minutes before, it means that other patients have an opportunity to be seen more quickly and perhaps see their own GP. We were aware that most practices experience several DNAs each day but 4,700 missed appointments in the course of one month is, quite frankly, shocking.”

On average a GP will conduct 30 appointments per day and based on the total number of missed appointments for July 2016, this is the equivalent of 156 days of general practitioner time that has been lost.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, a GP at Market Lavington Surgery explains on behalf of Wiltshire Practices:
“As doctors, we understand that people lead busy lives, that plans often change and quite often many people feel better by the time of their pre-booked appointment, so needing to change or cancel it is not a problem – please just let your surgery know. 

“At a time when NHS resources are stretched to the hilt, it’s really important that people understand the impact they have if they simply do not turn up. Everyone has responsibility to look after the NHS – it’s tax payers money after all – and we urge Wiltshire people to cancel when they don’t need the appointment so that those most in need are able to be seen more quickly”.

Current challenges are of real concern

An ageing population, increasing health care costs and a professional shortage in the health industry are all challenges faced by Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Tasked with buying health services across Wiltshire, the CCG needs to make substantial savings in order to continue to provide the best health services for the people of Wiltshire.

Simon Truelove, Interim Accountable Officer at Wiltshire CCG comments:
“People are living longer which is a good thing, but they are not always living well. In Wiltshire, over 22% of our population is over 65 and there are 75,000 people in the county living with long term health conditions.

“A significant proportion of our annual budget is spent on helping older people and those with long term health conditions to live well. This does have an impact on our ability to provide services elsewhere in the system as we only have one pot of money available to us.”

Dr Richard Sanford-Hill a GP at Market Lavington Surgery said:
“Meeting the challenges of providing health care for an increasingly ageing population is difficult. In my own practice a majority of my routine appointments are attended by people aged over 65, and those people often have complex long term needs.

“Having a lot of people registered with our practice we are struggling to keep up with demand and are looking at ways that we can continue to support our patients by doing things differently. Our Emergency Care Practitioners (ECPs), are one example of how we are changing the way people access healthcare in the area. Our ECP’s are based in the community and provide health advice and support to people in their own homes. The fantastic service delivered by our ECP nurses means that we can free up GP capacity to review the care and support of people who are more vulnerable and at much greater risk of going into hospital.”

Simon Truelove continues:
“It is not only our ageing population that is of particular challenge, across the Wiltshire, BaNES and Swindon health and social care economy there is likely to be an annual funding gap of £100m by 2017 unless we can find ways to save money right across the system. In addition, a shortage of health and social care professionals, when demand is outstripping capacity, means that we are facing some very real challenges over the coming years.”
Dr Richard Sanford-Hill adds:
Financial pressures and an ageing population are not new issues but ones that we must address with some urgency. Key to relieving these pressures is by providing healthcare in or as close to home as possible and here in Wiltshire we are making good progress towards achieving this.

“I have been a GP in Market Lavington for over 20 years and over that time have seen considerable changes in the NHS. Compared with some areas of the country Wiltshire is doing relatively well retaining and recruiting GPs. However, some practices in the county are struggling to recruit and attract locums which does increase the workload for the remaining GPs. Unfortunately allied to this there is a big problem recruiting other health care workers, such as nurses and carers. This gap in resourcing places greater strain on the services we provide and means that we are continuously looking for ways in which we can provide services more efficiently.”

Simon Truelove continues:
“It’s not all doom and gloom though, we have made some great strides forward to help address some of the issues we are facing. Working together with Wiltshire Council through the Better Care Fund and the CCG’s Transforming Care of Older People programme is making a real difference to the lives of people in the county. Our joint approach has enhanced the support people receive in or as close to home as possible and we are tackling head on the issue of social isolation which can have a big impact on someone’s health and wellbeing.”

“We know that we face a tough road ahead, but by working with our health colleagues across the county we can carve the right path through. This will ensure that we continue to provide the best health services for the people of Wiltshire now and in the future.”

With a population of over 480,000 spread throughout a mainly rural county, delivering on its core objective of providing quality health services as close to home as possible is a challenge, but one that the CCG has defined as essential in order for health care provision in Wiltshire to remain sustainable.

Website banner

New campaign launches to encourage those with a persistent cough or breathlessness to go to their doctor

On Thursday 14th July, a new Be Clear on Cancer campaign is launching across England. The campaign highlights that a cough for three weeks or more could be a sign of lung disease, including cancer and that if you get out of breath doing everyday things that you used to be able to do, like mowing the lawn, it could be sign of lung or heart disease, or even cancer.

While it may well be nothing serious, the campaign makes it clear that if you have either of these symptoms you should go to your doctor. Finding these conditions early makes them more treatable.

The campaign will be live until 16th October and will see adverts running on TV and radio, in magazines and online. Click here to find out more.

Web banner

The Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Up with Disney campaign is back

The Change4Life 10 Minute Shake Up with Disney campaign is back and encouraging families to ‘Just Keep Moving’ as they kick off a summer of activity, inspired by this year’s Disney·Pixar film, Finding Dory.

Families can once again take part in the 10 Minute Shake Ups as well as enjoying Finding Dory inspired family swim sessions at local pools across the UK, all approved by the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA). The swim sessions provide an interactive hour of storytelling fun and activity for the whole family.

Too much inactive time is bad for a child’s physical, social and mental wellbeing, yet just 21% of boys and 16% of girls currently meet the daily national recommended level of activity of 60 minutes Being active helps children to build social skills, boost self-confidence, improve bone and heart health and maintain a healthy weight. Every 10 minute burst of exercise can make a real difference in helping children reach the 60 minutes they need each day.

Make this a non-stop summer of fun activity and search Change4Life online now for Disney and Finding Dory inspired 10 Minute Shake Ups and don’t forget to book your swim session at www.disney.co.uk/justkeepmoving.

Stay well this winter and avoid the flu

23 October 2015

With the drop in temperature over the last few weeks you can’t fail to notice that winter is on its way and with it comes the start of the cold and flu season.

To help you to stay well this winter, GPs and pharmacies throughout the county are offering an annual flu vaccination to people most at risk from developing complications. Pregnant women, those over 65, people with long term health conditions and their carers, are all eligible to receive a free vaccination to help them to stay well this winter.

In addition, children in school years one and two and children aged two, three and four are entitled to receive a free nasal spray vaccine that is quick, painless and non-invasive. Parents of children aged two to four are encouraged to book an appointment with their GP to vaccinate their child against the flu virus. Parents of children in school years one and two are asked to complete a consent form to allow the school immunisation teams to administer the nasal spray flu vaccine to their children. For children in areas where the vaccination is not offered through their school, parents should make an appointment with the local GP.

Dr Lindsay Kinlin, spokesperson for Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and GP at The Avenue Surgery in Warminster comments:

“Most people with the flu start to feel better after a few days. Bed rest, plenty of liquids and a mild pain relief such as paracetamol is often all that is required. However, for more vulnerable people, like the very young or the elderly, flu can be extremely dangerous and in some serious cases, can be fatal.

“For those people, having the flu vaccine is the best way to help them to stay healthy this winter. If you are pregnant, over 65, have a long term health condition or care for someone that does make sure you remember to take up the offer of your free flu vaccination. You can make an appointment with your local doctor or there are a number of pharmacies in the county that are offering the vaccination to people in vulnerable groups free of charge.”

Wiltshire Council corporate director, Maggie Rae said:

“We want as many families as possible protected and the flu vaccine is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus that can make people seriously unwell, particularly those in at risk groups.

“I would urge people to get the vaccination as soon as possible as the virus does evolve and we want families to stay safe during the winter months and beyond.”

Dr Lindsay Kinlin continues:

“To help stop the spread of flu and the chance of catching it, good hygiene is really important. Washing your hands regularly with soap and water, using a tissue to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and putting used tissues in the bin all help to prevent catching or spreading the flu virus.”

The flu is not the same as the common cold. The flu is cause by a different group of viruses and often tends to start more suddenly, be more severe and last for longer. If you think you have the flu try to avoid interacting too much with other people until you start to feel better.

The main differences between the flu and a common cold are:

Flu symptoms:

  • Come on quickly
  • Usually include fever and aching muscles
  • Make you feel too unwell to continue your usual activities

Cold symptoms:

  • Come on gradually
  • Mainly affect your nose and throat
  • Are fairly mild, so you can still get around and are usually well enough to go to work

Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health, Keith Humphries said:

“A flu vaccination is the type of thing that’s easily put off and put off until it’s forgotten about.

“However, the vaccination process is quick and simple and will help protect people as much as possible from this virus, which for some people can have particularly devastating consequences.”

For further information on how to stay well this winter visit http://www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk/stay-well-this-winter.