Every year, winter comes around, and every year the NHS braces itself for a challenging time. This year is no different, and unfortunately will be even more challenging. The NHS continues to deal with backlogs, staff sickness, and rising numbers of a range of infections to name a few issues.
With the added complexities this winter poses, local health services are urging patients to do their bit to help ease the pressure.
Health services and NHS staff are already stretched, so the need for the people of Birmingham and Solihull to take steps to look after themselves and others, to reduce their chances of becoming ill, is more important than ever.
Getting the flu jab is more important than ever this year, as more people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it due to the previous years' lockdowns.
The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn or early winter before flu starts spreading, however you can still get the vaccine now and in the coming weeks.
If you’re looking forward to all those things you missed out on last winter, don’t let COVID-19 ruin your plans this year! You can help protect yourself and others by getting two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and ensuring you get your booster vaccination when eligible.
You can also take other steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including wearing a face covering in busy places (particularly when indoors), washing your hands regularly and by testing yourself twice a week using the rapid lateral flow tests which you can order to your home free of charge.
Dr Richard Mendelsohn, Chief Medical Officer at NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We can all do our bit to help reduce the stress on our local services this winter, and it is important to know what help is available if needed.
“If you do become ill, it is important to choose the right service for you. A range of services are available that you can access directly, ranging from mental health support, to bereavement services and information on common winter bugs.
“111.nhs.uk is also a brilliant service available 24/7, which allows you to check your symptoms and will direct you to the best place to get help, and book an appointment if needed.
“I’d also like to urge those who do access healthcare services to be patient with staff; the past 20 months have been gruelling, and our frontline colleagues are continuing to offer the best possible care as we head into this very busy winter.”
Further information on services can be found at: