NHS issues advice on how public can avoid A&E this winter

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds ANL-150319-095542001

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds ANL-150319-095542001

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NHS chiefs have issued advise for how the public can help with the expected increase in demand on the county’s health service over the winter period.

Last year Suffolk experienced an upsurge in demand for urgent and emergency care - from patients with less serious problems to those with acute needs.

In West Suffolk there was a marked increase in acutely sick elderly patients and conditions associated with frailty.

Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)has issued advice to help the public stay out of Accident and Emergency over the festive period.

At a winter media briefing on Thursday, health bosses said the public should be prepared - to stock up with cold remedies and pain killers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, to stave off upset stomachs with rehydration mixtures and to keep plasters and bandages on hand for and cuts and scrapes.

They advised having the flu vaccine, especially is you are over 65, have a long-term health condition or are pregnant - as you get the jab for free. They said to seek help from your pharmacist - as qualified health professionals , they can advise on anything from a cold to long-term conditions.

They advised eating well and drinking at least eight cups of fluids a day and to keep your home warm - by getting the temperature right you can avoid many illnesses, especially chest infections.

They also advised that if you have recently visited your surgery, optician or dentist and have concerns relating to the same condition that they treated you for, ask for their help first instead of attending A&E. If you are unsure if you need urgent or emergency care, please call NHS 111 - trained professionals are there to help you.