NHS and the council offer advice as cold weather warning is issued

Following the Met Office cold weather alert across the North West, the local NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCG’s) and Sefton Council are reminding people to stay warm and to examine their options should they or their family become ill.

The Level 2 alert means that between 0600 on Wednesday 4 January and 1500 on Friday 06 January, there is an 80 per cent chance of severe cold weather. This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services.

Dr Rob Caudwell, local GP and NHS Southport and Formby CCG chair, said: “We’d like to remind people about the options available to them if they or a member of their family becomes ill. The cold weather will put added pressure on health services so it’s really important to use the right service.”

Dr Andy Mimnagh, local GP and NHS South Sefton CCG chair, said: “If you do become ill we ask that you think about self care before seeing your GP, visiting the walk in or dialling 999. Your chemist can offer advice and medication for minor illnesses without an appointment and NHS 111 is available for non-emergencies.

“I would also advise those who are eligible to have a flu jab to get protected. Whether you are pregnant, have very young children, are an elderly person or have a health condition, such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes or are an older person you will be eligible for the vaccination.”

Cllr Ian Moncur, cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing at Sefton Council, said: “During this cold spell we’d like to encourage residents to look out for those who may be living alone, check in with neighbours and take weather conditions into account when planning to travel. Help and advice is available from pharmacies over the festive period for minor illnesses, we would encourage people to use these services before seeing GP and A&E departments. ”

The Public Health England Cold Weather Plan  sets out a series of actions that health and social care organisations, voluntary and community groups, and individuals can take and plan for cold temperatures to help reduce cold-related illnesses and deaths.

Top tips to prepare for colder weather:

  • look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold and ensure they have access to warm food, drinks and are managing to heat their homes adequately
  • try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over
  • stay tuned for weather forecasts, ensure you are stocked with food and medications in advance (have deliveries or ask a friend to help)
  • take weather into account when planning your activity over the following days
  • avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold related illness or falls
  • discuss with friends and neighbours about clearing snow and ice from in front of your house and public walkways nearby, if unable to do so yourself

Remember to examine your options should you or a family member become ill during winter, more information can be found here: www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk/your-health-and-services  // www.southseftonccg.nhs.uk/your-health-and-services

For more information on the weather in your area please visit: www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/cold-weather-alert/#?tab=coldWeatherAlert