Well the clocks have just gone back, it's darker in the evenings and lighter in mornings for the next couple of weeks, before winter fully sets in.  

When the temperature drops to below 8C, some people are at increased risk of:heart attack, stroke, flu, pneumonia, falls and injuries, hypothermia, Cold weather can also affect people with mental health conditions, such as depression and dementia.

So what to do to keep yourself, your family, friends and any older, frail neighbours healthy and well over the worst of the winter months?  

Keep Warm 

Kingston Council has a very comprehensive guide to how to keep warm at home including information about Cold Weather Payments, Warm homes Discount schemes. This includes links to National Advice lines. Follow this link to RBK's site 

Keep Active

There are many exercise videos on NHS website to get a complete beginner started.

There is also the fab couch to 5 k app that will help you to go from not running to running 5km in 10 weeks.

And if you have trouble moving, have a look at this chair-based Pilate's exercise routine.

 

Keep Engaged

Break up the monotony of the winter days by getting out to meet people and join in diverse, interesting local activities. There are 29 Kingston-based organisations offering a wide range of things to do - and the full list is just one click away on the brand new Connected Kingston website.   

Make Better Use of Your Pharmacy

20 per cent of GP consultations are for common conditions that could be dealt with by a Healthy Living Pharmacy.

 A national initiative, backed by Public Health England, has seen pharmacy teams playing a greater role in local health services, working alongside GPs and other services to improve health and wellbeing.

Here in Kingston, 15 pharmacies are accredited Healthy Living Pharmacies, offering at least one health champion to provide advice, and support to individuals and signpost people to healthier life styles. Check out local pharmacy services on NHS website

Electronic Prescription Services (EPS) 

Breaking news - you don't have to be a regular user of the Internet or have digital skills to sign up with the EPS.  As long as your GP and your local pharmacy is signed up to the to providing an  EPS service, once you discussed and set up the service with your GP/Pharmacy,  you can just pop down to the pharmacy to collect your medication.  

Book an appointment with your GP the easy way

Are you fed up making 60 plus calls to your practice between 8 and 8.15 a.m, only to be told there are no appointments today?  Or have you tried queuing up outside the surgery feeling dreadful but determined to get an appointment? Do  remember you need to arrive at least 45 minutes before the surgery opens in order to get your place in the queue and stand a chance of getting to see a GP. 

Alternatively, get ready to get ahead of the game this winter 

Sign up to your GP Online booking system

All it takes is 3 easy steps

REGISTER - Pop into the doctors at a time of your choosing and ask  to register for the online booking service for appointments. You will need photo id and proof of your address 

REQUEST ACCESS - All the patients at your GP practice have a choice of sites to access online services. Different sites allow you to do different things. Check that the site you choose offers the services you need. Two of the most common sites are Evergreen life and Patient Access.The receptionist will give you instructions on how to register including a unique code for when  you set up your account. You can register on your smart phone or a desktop PC

SIGN UP - Do be aware that you will have access to your medical records going back years.  Also test results are always posted to the sites as they are analysed. This last might cause you upset if you have not seen your GP first.

Download the Ask NHS - Virtual Assistant 

Ask NHS provides you with improved access to NHS services. You can talk through your symptoms in complete confidence with Olivia, a virtual health assistant.AND If needed, Olivia will arrange for a call back from a 111 Nurse to discuss your symptoms further. You can also search NHS approved healthcare advice, schedule GP appointments and search opening times/locations of local health care services. Ask NHS is available to all patients in the UK over 18. Available for Android and iPhone 

If your GP practice is signed up to the ASK NHS services  you can use the app to book an appointment.

 

NHS Apps Library

Find digital tools to help you manage and improve your health.  Here are some of our favourites apps to stay well this winter,  download the list