1. Get vaccinated against the flu
Last year, due to lockdown restrictions, not as many people as usual had the flu. Scientists are now concerned that more people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can have the NHS flu vaccine at: your GP surgery, a pharmacy offering the service, your midwifery service if you’re pregnant, or a hospital appointment. You can find a pharmacy offering the flu vaccine near you on the NHS website.
For more information and useful FAQs on flu and the flu vaccine, visit the NHS North Central London CCG website.
2. Use NHS 111
When you have an urgent illness or injury that is not life threatening or you aren’t sure what to do, visit NHS 111 online or call 111 (free from mobiles and landlines). NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including bank holidays.
NHS 111 makes it easier for you to get the right advice or treatment. Depending on the situation, when you contact NHS 111 you can:
- find out what local service can help you
- be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP
- get a face-to-face appointment if you need one
- be given an arrival time if you need to go to A&E – this might mean you spend less time in A&E
- be told how to get any medicine you need
- get self-care advice
If you have hearing loss, are Deaf or have difficulties communicating you can also access NHS 111 by textphone on 18001 111. British Sign Language (BSL) users can use the NHS 111 BSL interpreter service.
If you need help in a language other than English, call 111 and ask for an interpreter. If you or your loved one has a life-threatening illness or injury you should always dial 999.
3. How your local pharmacy can help you this winter
Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals, who can offer you clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains. They have the right training to make sure you get the help you need and can tell you if you need to see a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional.
Be prepared this winter too by restocking your medicine cabinet. You can treat most common minor illnesses, such as coughs and sore throats, at home using over-the-counter remedies, and you can order your repeat prescriptions without needing to go to a GP surgery or pharmacy using the NHS App or GP online services.
4. Evening and weekend GP appointments
Evening and weekend GP appointments are available seven days a week at GP hubs across Barnet.You can request an appointment at any of the GP hub locations in the borough where you are registered with a GP. Appointments take place by phone, video, or face to face – depending on your clinical need. All appointments must be booked in advance. Appointments are available on all bank holidays.
To book an appointment in Barnet phone 020 3948 6809 between 6.30-9pm, Monday to Friday or between 8am and 8pm at the weekend and on bank holidays or contact your own GP practice during normal opening hours.
If you're not registered with a GP, make sure you sign up ASAP. Anyone in England can register and receive care from a GP practice. You do not need proof of address or immigration status, ID or an NHS number.
5. Access NHS services securely on the NHS App
The NHS App is a simple and secure way to access a range of NHS services on your smartphone or tablet.
You can view your health records on the NHS App and see information about your allergies and your current and past medicines. If your GP has given you access to your detailed medical record, you can also see information like test results and details of your consultations.
You can search for, book and cancel appointments at your GP surgery on the NHS App, and see details of your upcoming and past appointments.
Using the NHS App, you can order repeat prescriptions – see your available medicines, request a new repeat prescription and choose a pharmacy for your prescriptions to be sent to.
You can search trusted NHS information and get health advice on hundreds of conditions and treatments on the NHS App. You can also answer questions to get instant advice or medical help near you.
6. What to do if you need mental health support
If you’re feeling anxious, low or out of sorts, contact your GP practice about talking therapy. Your GP is there to help you – physically and mentally – and can refer you to the right service.
You can find expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing on the Every Mind Matters website.
If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis, you can call our local NHS mental health helpline for 24-hour advice and support.
Check out this great blog by our colleagues at Inclusion Barnet on Mental Health at Christmas too, it's full of useful advice and tips.
7. Stay active and keep warm indoors and outdoors
It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors. Keeping warm over the winter months can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression. Regular exercise can help improve your mental health, reduce the risk of falling and can be beneficial for recovery if you do get ill. We're not talking regular trips to the gym either - walking up and down stairs, dancing, gardening, housework, or taking part in online fitness classes will all help. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it’s something you enjoy and keeps you moving.
Barnet Council have excellent tips and advice on looking after yourself this winter.