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NHS services in Berkshire West launch winter campaign

Local NHS services in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire are this week launching a public information campaign to help reduce pressure on services over winter.

The new campaign, supported by Berkshire West CCG, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, aims to inform the public on small actions they can take which will help reduce demand on NHS services and help ensure they can access medical support as quickly as possible.

The campaign is focused around three key themes:

  1. Be Prepared – taking steps to avoid needing to access healthcare services such as having a fully-stocked medicine cabinet, treating colds and minor illnesses at home, supporting vulnerable relatives, and getting Covid-19 and flu vaccines.
  2. Know the Right Place to Go – only using the Emergency Department in the case of life-threatening emergencies, using NHS 111 Online for any urgent medical queries, as well as being able to self-refer to Talking Therapies without needing to see a GP.
  3. See Your GP Differently – highlighting the different ways you may access your GP including online and video appointments as well as face-to-face consultations.

As part of the campaign, an online portal has been created with further information and resources for the public to utilise this winter – at royalberkshire.nhs.uk/winter.

Dr Abid Irfan, Clinical Chair of Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “There is significant pressure on NHS services across Reading, Wokingham, and West Berkshire whether that is GPs, Emergency Department, or Pharmacies. We are all working together to provide best possible care we can but by supporting this Winter campaign you can help your local NHS services over the next few months.”

Steve McManus, CEO at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are already seeing high levels of demands for our services as we head into winter, with frequently more than 400 people arriving at our Emergency Department in a single day. We will always be there to provide support and help, but would strongly encourage the public to take the actions highlighted in this campaign to help reduce pressure and ensure everyone is able to access the health and social care support they need.”

Gerry Crawford, Regional Director, from Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Many of our services are already under pressure, but we are doing everything we can to make sure help is always there for those who need it most.

“There are lots of ways you can help - being prepared and knowing where to get the right support early, whether its advice from your pharmacist for a cold or bug, or self-referring to our Talking Therapies service for support with your mental health. You can make a difference.”

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