Be A Wise Owl This Winter – New Campaign Urges People To Plan Ahead

The NHS Forth Valley winter campaign to encourage people across the area to prepare ahead for the winter period got off to a flying start with the help of some wise owls at the Little Critters centre in Stirling.

Forth Valley Pharmacist Sarah Todd, who works in a pharmacy in Cowie, and our very own Dr Wise Owl, Dr Stuart Cumming, NHS Forth Valley’s Associate Medical Director for community health services, joined forces with these wily birds to promote the plan ahead message.

The NHS Forth Valley ‘Be Health-Wise this Winter’ campaign outlines the simple steps that people can take to keep themselves well during the winter months and also highlights where people can access local health treatment and advice over the festive period.

According to Dr Cumming, who is also a GP at Killearn Health Centre, winter is a very busy time for the NHS and the Be Health-Wise campaign is a really good way of reminding us how we can do our bit to look after our own and our family’s health and in doing so preserve our front line services for those in most clinical need.

He explained: “Winter is the time for coughs, colds, flu, and tummy bugs and a lot of the symptoms can be managed at home. To do this, it’s important to stock up on over the counter medicines such as paracetamol, ibuprofen and rehydration salts. This year GP surgeries will be closed for four days over Christmas and four days over New Year but a number of pharmacies in Forth Valley will be open on a rota system during this holiday period to ensure that local people can access medicines and talk to a pharmacist for health advice. Anyone who is concerned about symptoms and doesn’t feel they can wait until their GP surgery or pharmacy re-opens, can call NHS 24 on 111.

“It’s also important to remember that the Minor Injuries Unit at Stirling Community Hospital offers treatment to patients from across Forth Valley, including those in the Falkirk area, over the age of one and will be open every day throughout the festive period from 9am – 9pm. This includes Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and 2nd January 2016.”

Pharmacist, Sarah Todd said: “This campaign is a great way of reminding people about the excellent range of services provided by our community pharmacies. We can provide advice and treatment for many common winter illnesses and highlight what’s appropriate for adults and children. We would urge anyone who takes prescription medicines to check they have enough for the holidays and order what they need in plenty of time however if people run out of their usual medicines or dressings they can speak to a pharmacist about an urgent supply rather than attending an Emergency Department.”

Notes to Editors

Pharmacies across Forth Valley operate a rota-system over the festive period. Details of the opening times can be found on the winter zone on the NHS Forth Valley website www.nhsforthvalley.com/winter

General advice and information on how to stay healthy this winter can be found at www.nhsinform.co.uk or contact NHS inform on 0800 22 44 88.

Dr Owl will be delivering his messages across radio, television and newspapers, as well as Facebook and twitter (@NHS24 #healthwise) throughout December 2015. You can join in the conversation and share your own top tips via #healthwise.

For more information please contact NHS Forth Valley’s Communications Department on 01786 457243.