Public health campaign offers advice on how to ‘Stay Well This Winter’


Article By: Melissa McAlees, News Editor



NHS England and Public Health England (PHE) have launched an awareness campaign to keep vulnerable people well over winter.

The Stay Well This Winter campaign encourages people most at risk of a preventable hospital admission, to take actions that will help them stay well during winter. This includes getting a flu vaccination, keeping homes warm and getting advice from a pharmacist at the first sign of illness.

It also incorporates key advice around common winter illnesses and the range of services available to help people make the most appropriate choices for their healthcare needs.

Professor Keith Willett, medical director for acute care at NHS England, said: “It is vital that the most vulnerable people take preventative steps to keep healthy and stay well. We have a high number of A&E attendances over this time that are due to issues that could have been avoided had people sought advice at the first sign of illness.”

The advice issued by the Stay Well This Winter campaign includes:

• Set household thermostats to no lower than 18 degrees centigrade;

• Wrap up warm;

• Consume hot meals and drinks to keep energy levels up;

• Seek advice from a pharmacist in the early stages of a cough or cold;

• Stay active;

• Check on friends and neighbours who may be vulnerable.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) 43,900 excess winter deaths occurred in England and Wales in 2014/15, with 27 per cent more people dying in winter months.

Research shows those aged 75 and over, and those with conditions such as heart disease, lung problems or dementia are most at risk, with an estimated 36,300 excess winter deaths in this age group.

The campaign is led by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) and the Public Health Agency (PHA) and will run from October 2016 to the end of March 2017 across a range of channels, including television, outdoor advertising, social media and websites.

Dr Carolyn Harper, director of public health at the PHA said: “This campaign is about encouraging people to take better care of themselves, planning ahead so they are prepared to face the winter in better health, while ensuring that our health service remains focused on delivering care where it is most needed.

“It will support older and vulnerable people to stay well, and when they need care, assist them, their families and carers to make informed decisions on the best services to use. I am hopeful that it will also help reduce hospital admissions and ease pressures on finite services.”

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