Let’s look out for each other this winter – Dr David Crichton

This year seems to be going by quickly and here we are in December already! It has certainly been a busy and challenging year for us all. Life has changed in so many ways and we have had to adapt in one way or another to the restrictions introduced to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Winter brings its own challenges and this winter season will be no exception. Time spent away from loved ones and uncertainty about the future on top of the cooler weather and darker nights can make us feel both physically and mentally drained. And for those who are vulnerable, for example the elderly and those with existing health conditions, this time of year can be even harder.

We all have a responsibility to stay well this winter and I’d like to encourage you to help others where you can. The sense of community spirit has really grown over this difficult year. Let’s continue with that and take care of all those vulnerable people living in our town and support each other through this difficult period.

Small acts of kindness towards others can really make an impact on someone’s life. Now more than ever, we need to stand together and support each other.

If you have an elderly or vulnerable family member, friend or neighbour who would benefit from some additional support, please check in on them regularly to ensure they are safe and well, keeping warm and have sufficient stocks of food and medicine. You may feel restricted in the things you can do to help due to social distancing but even a simple phone call can mean a lot and can be a good way to check in on people. A conversation can lift someone’s spirits, particularly if they live alone.

Loneliness can have a big impact on our mental health which in turn can affect our physical health. No one should feel they have no one to turn to. If you are concerned a friend or neighbour is feeling lonely, there is plenty of advice, information and local support available they could access.

With winter illnesses such as the common cold, flu and the coronavirus in circulation, vulnerable and elderly people can easily become unwell. Every winter, we see more people needing admissions to hospital. If you know of anyone who is feeling unwell or you are concerned about someone’s health, encourage them to seek early advice. There is plenty of information and support available to help choose the right service to meet your needs.

Health services in Doncaster are open so please come forward if you, a friend, neighbour or relative do need to seek medical advice this winter. There is a range of services available to help you. GP Practices are open to provide the support and treatment that you need. Visit your local Practice website or give them a call. The way services are provided may have changed in order to keep everyone safe but we are there for you

Other sources of support and advice include:

  • NHS 111 – visit online or call to speak to someone
  • Your local pharmacist
  • Same Day Health Centre which is open 8am-8pm, 7 days a week
  • GP out of hours service
  • The Health Bus is on tour round Doncaster until the end of March next year where anyone registered with a Doncaster GP can walk on and speak face to face with a health professional.
  • NHS Health at home – useful information on how to easily access NHS services online, from the comfort of your home. You can find out how to contact your GP, order repeat prescriptions and manage your wellbeing and existing conditions – without leaving your home.

Online resources:

Doncaster CCG: Be Winter Well Campaign 2020/21

Age UK: Keep well this winter; Age UK Doncaster

NHS Every Mind Matters: Coping with loneliness

MIND: Tips to manage loneliness

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