How to help your NHS this winter

West Berkshire’s Clinical Commissioning Groups are urging people to take the pressure off local hospitals in the coming weeks by only going to A&E in a genuine emergency.

With winter being their busiest time of the year, NHS staff are bracing themselves for an increase in the number of people turning up in their emergency departments but often, people could have treated themselves or their families effectively at home.

Emmer Green GP and Berkshire West CCG’s Urgent Care Lead, Dr Andy Ciecierski said: “ The majority of people who get ill over winter shouldn’t need emergency services.  Very often, with a bit of advice, people can effectively treat themselves or their families for a wide range of complaints from minor cuts and bruises through to headaches, stomach upsets and colds.

“There are many treatments available over the counter which can relieve the symptoms of many common complaints and we are urging people to consider these as an alternative to using other parts of the NHS.”

“We are working closely with hospital, community and social care colleagues to make sure services are in place for those who do need them over the winter period, with a focus of helping to keep people out of hospital.

A well-stocked medicine cabinet or first aid kit can provide everything you need to treat coughs, colds, sore throats, minor cuts and bruises.

If you are unsure what remedy to use ask your pharmacist who will give you advice and who can also recommend what treatments to stock up on from simple pain killers and antacids to antiseptics and sticking plaster.

Ideas for a festive first aid kit include:

  • plasters, in a variety of different sizes and shapes
  • antacid
  • painkillers such as paracetamol (or infant paracetamol for children), aspirin (not to be given to children under 16), or ibuprofen
  • small, medium and large sterile gauze dressings
  • sterile eye dressings
  • scissors
  • alcohol-free cleansing wipes
  • sticky tape
  • thermometer, preferably digital
  • skin rash cream such as hydrocortisone or calendula
  • antiseptic cream
  • cough medicine
  • antihistamine tablets
  • distilled water, for cleaning wounds and as an eye bath.


If in doubt call NHS 111 who will advise on the most appropriate care or treatment or visit NHS Choices

Free booklet gives valuable advice to parents when their children are ill

A comprehensive guide to common childhood illnesses aimed at parents and carers of children aged between birth and five years old is now available in West Berkshire.

The free booklet, funded jointly by local Clinical commissioning Groups (CCGs) and local authorities contains helpful information on general welfare and well-being, common illnesses and how to keep children safe and healthy. It also provides advice on when to consult the GP or health visitor and information on common illnesses such as chickenpox, colds, sore throats and ear infections.

Dr Stephen Madgwick, Chair of the Wokingham CCG said: “This guide is an excellent resource for parents and carers of children aged five and under, offering advice on how to manage everyday illnesses, including coughs and colds, conjunctivitis and a number of other conditions. It also explains how to recognise and act on the more serious conditions like meningitis.

Wokingham Borough Executive Councillor for Health and Wellbeing, Julian McGhee-Sumner said: “We’re very pleased to support this booklet. Health needs vary for different age groups so it’s good to have a succinct, easy to read reference specifically aimed at those caring for very young children. I’m sure it will be broadly welcomed.”

The booklet is available from GP surgeries, health visitors, children’s centres, libraries and online at,,


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