People living in and visiting Dorset are being encouraged to consider simple self-care techniques to better support their own health and wellbeing this winter.

Local NHS services are anticipating a seasonal increase in pressures on GP practices and hospitals, with residents more likely to be affected by winter-related illnesses including common coughs and colds, flu and norovirus.

Under NHS England advice, GPs are unable to prescribe medicines which can be bought from local pharmacists or supermarkets for a range of minor illnesses, including

  • sore throats
  • cold sores
  • conjunctivitis
  • coughs
  • diarrhoea
  • indigestion
  • heartburn

By cutting down on these costs, your local NHS can spend money more effectively.

Katherine Gough, Chief Pharmacist at NHS Dorset CCG, commented: “Make your local pharmacist your first port of call this winter. Generally, over-the-counter medicines will help ease symptoms of common winter illnesses. We have over 140 pharmacies across Dorset, offering late, weekend and bank holidays opening hours.

“Most conditions will clear up on their own, but if your illness does persist, visit your pharmacist again and they will be able to advise if a GP appointment is necessary. Most pharmacies offer consultation rooms if you would like to discuss your illness in private.

“Over the Christmas period, allow some extra time for prescriptions. To save you time, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about arranging electronic prescriptions. If you’re visiting family or friends elsewhere and require emergency medication, pharmacists will be able to advise and in may provide you with a short-term supply.”

For more information on how to use self-care techniques to keep you and your family well this winter, go to staywelldorset.nhs.uk.

To find your nearest pharmacy along with opening times visit www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-pharmacy.