Looking after your mental health is important whatever the time of year

Bedfordshire and Luton Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are highlighting the importance of looking after your mental health.

For some, January can exacerbate difficult thoughts and feelings. This is due to the ending of the festive period, an increase of debt and long dark winter days. However, it’s important to remember mental health affects people all through the year.

The CCGs said that in the UK approximately one in four people experienced a mental health problem. Ranging from depression and anxiety, considered more common, to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder which are more rare.

Sometimes individuals that are experiencing mental health problems can feel alone. Mental health problems are a common human experience and it can be helpful to talk about how you are feeling.

NHS support sees people lose the weight of 43 ambulances

People finishing the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme have lost the equivalent weight of 43 ambulances.

Nationally, 89,604 people have now finished the programme, losing a combined weight of 185,051kg – which is equivalent to 43 ambulances.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, the evidence-based lifestyle change programme will double in size over the next few years to support around 200,000 people per year. It is designed for people with non-diabetic hyperglycaemia (the term given to having blood test results showing a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes).

Seven New Year’s Day babies at Bedford Hospital!

Bedford Hospital midwives were delighted to welcome the arrival of seven babies born on New Year’s Day 2020.

The first beautiful bundles of joy to arrive was Mila, a baby girl who was born at 00.04am on 1st January 2020, weighing 5lbs 4oz to parents Vicky and Peter.

Another precious bundle to arrive at 1.40pm was Ethan and baby boy weighing 8lbs 1oz to first time parents Charlotte and Phil.

All families are incredibly overjoyed with their new arrivals.

Feeling unwell? Make your local pharmacy your first port of call

People in Bedfordshire and Luton are being urged to make their local pharmacy their first port of call if they are feeling unwell this winter.

The demand for health services increases dramatically during the winter months, putting NHS staff under even more pressure. To help relieve this pressure the public is being asked to consult with a pharmacist for all viral infections and other minor illnesses instead of making an appointment with a GP, out-of-hours service.

Pharmacists are highly experienced healthcare professionals who have completed five years training in the use of medicines. Not only does this qualify them to dispense your NHS prescription, it means they can offer advice on an extensive range of health problems.

They can recommend the most appropriate treatment for coughs and colds, back pain, travel sickness, sore throats, upset stomachs and skin rashes, to name just a few of the minor health conditions that they regularly deal with.

Don’t forget to put your medicines on your Xmas check list

Luton and Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups are reminding people who regularly take prescription medicine to check they have enough medication to see them over the Christmas and New Year holiday.

Anyone with a long-term health condition should be aware that many local doctors’ surgeries and pharmacies will have different opening hours between Christmas and New Year. Therefore it’s important they order and collect their repeat prescriptions in plenty of time before the holidays.

Public Briefing Sessions on Bedford and L&D merger

Bedford Hospital and Luton and Dunstable University Hospital are planning to merge. There are three briefing sessions for the public to hear more about that progress being made to provide an integrated health service to the people of Bedfordshire and beyond.

The Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Commissioning Collaborative busts flu jab myths

A Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Commissioning Collaborative health expert says that the best protection against getting the flu is to have the seasonal flu vaccine.

Adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, people with long-term health conditions and frontline health and social care workers all have a higher risk of catching the flu and are entitled to a free flu jab.

However, there are a number of popular myths about the flu and flu vaccine which puts some people off from having the jab. Dr Sarah Whiteman, medical director for the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Commissioning Collaborative, addresses these misconceptions.

Free flu vaccine available for all registered carers

Bedfordshire and Luton Clinical Commissioning Groups are urging all carers in the area to get their free flu vaccine this winter.

Carers who vaccinate against the virus reduce the threat towards themselves, their family and friends and those they support, who may be at an increased risk.

In high-risk groups, such as the elderly and those with disabilities, flu can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening complications, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

It is vital carers get their flu vaccine every year to protect against new strains of the virus.

It is also important that the person who is being cared for gets their flu jab, to help them stay well this winter.

Many GP surgeries in Bedfordshire and Luton have already held flu clinics, if you are a registered carer and have yet to receive your flu jab, ask at your GP surgery.

GP appointments available at evenings and weekends

Bedfordshire and Luton Clinical Commissioning Groups are reminding patients of the additional appointments available outside of normal GP surgery opening hours at times that are convenient to them.

Patients needing an appointment with a GP or Practice Nurse can book with the Extended Access service for an appointment in the evening or at the weekend.

Extended Access appointments are available to all patients registered with a GP Surgery in Luton and Bedfordshire. These can be booked up to two weeks in advance with some released ‘on the day’.

To make an appointment patients should contact their GP Surgery and ask for an Extended Access appointment.

The appointment may be held at a different Surgery local to them and with a GP or Practice Nurse from another Surgery. This will be confirmed when the appointment is made.

Urgent health advice from NHS 111 now available online

To make the service even more accessible, an online version of NHS 111 is now available across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

Accessible on smart phones, laptops and other digital devices, the online service is free and easy to use. By logging on to the NHS 111 website, anyone with a medical problem can quickly get advice on what NHS service they might need and how urgently.

After establishing that your condition is not an emergency, you are asked to input your main symptom, for example “headache” or “swollen knee”.

A digital search system then returns a list of health conditions that best match that symptom.

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