Be a Good Neighbour this Christmas

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The season of goodwill is upon us and everybody needs a good neighbour. So, NHS Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging local residents to spare a thought for others and look out for the elderly and the vulnerable this Christmas.

The festive period is a time for celebration with family and friends, but for some Christmas can be a very lonely time. Many older people may find themselves on their own for the first time this year due to the loss of a loved one or they may have families who do not live nearby.

A national survey from Age UK showed that nearly a million (928,000) older people feel lonelier at Christmas time, two-fifths of whom have been widowed. Based on the survey, the charity estimates that getting on towards a million (873,000) people aged 65 and over don't see or hear from someone for days on end over the festive period. And at Christmas time, on days when older people do not see or hear from anyone, over half (55%) rely on the TV for companionship.

Older people and those with long-term health conditions are particularly susceptible to illness and isolation at this time of year, yet it can sometimes be difficult for those at risk to admit they need help. All too often elderly and vulnerable people end up being treated in hospital for long periods with symptoms that might not have been so serious and could have been managed effectively at home if they had only sought help sooner.

There are a number of ways Wolverhampton residents can help elderly relatives, friends and neighbours stay well over Christmas:

  • Call in and say "hello" – let elderly neighbours know they are available to help them. Provide them with a telephone number in case of an emergency.
  • Check on prescriptions – make sure they have adequate supplies of repeat prescriptions and medications to cover them during the holiday period.
  • Food supplies - check that they are adequately stocked with food supplies for the festive period. Fresh milk, bread and butter are staples that will save them leaving the house if the weather takes a turn for the worse.
  • Heating – talk to them about the importance of being warm. Check that their heating and other utility supplies are working properly. It’s important to make sure that their home is heated to at least 18°C to 21°C throughout the winter. As well as being at a higher risk of colds and flu older people are more susceptible to strokes and heart problems during the cold weather.
  • Invite them round for Christmas dinner or another family meal to help them enjoy their Christmas too.
  • Encourage them to call 111 if they feel unwell when pharmacies are closed – a trained NHS health care adviser will be able to help them.

If you can see they’re not looking or acting themselves encourage them to visit their local pharmacist for advice.

Dr Salma Reehana, Chair of NHS Wolverhampton CCG, said: "The festive season is usually a time for celebration for many families, but for too many older people it can reinforce feelings of loneliness and loss. This can not only make them feel miserable but also have an impact on their physical health too.

"Christmas is the perfect time for everyone to be a good neighbour. We can all play an important role in ensuring older people feel valued and included and taking the time to call in and check on them when they possibly most need help can make all the difference. It can also potentially help to prevent serious health issues affecting them.

Age UK also offer lots of advice on looking out for frail and elderly relatives, friends and neighbours this Christmas on their website at

For more advice on staying well this winter visit

Wolverhampton CCG scoops prestigious national award

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NHS Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been recognised nationally as the best performing CCG in the country. The CCG scooped the Clinical Commissioning Award for 2018 at the Health Business Awards at a special ceremony in London at the Grange Hotel, London. The award was presented by comedian and former Doctor Adam Richard Kay.

Festive reminder for Wolverhampton patients to order repeat prescriptions

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Wolverhampton residents are being urged not to leave it too late to order their repeat prescriptions this Christmas. NHS Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is issuing the reminder so that people can have a healthy Christmas by not being without vital medication.

Ordering and collecting new prescriptions can take several days, which is why patients are being urged to plan ahead. Prescriptions can be ordered by patients visiting or phoning their GP practice, with some practices offering a quick and easy online ordering system.

Many GP practices will have limited opening hours during the Christmas holidays, but   some pharmacies are open seven days a week and late into the evening and many will operate over the Christmas and New Year period. Pharmacists are highly qualified healthcare professionals who have undertaken a minimum of five years education and training; they therefore have expert knowledge on prescription and over the counter medicines.

Dr Salma Reehana, Chair of NHS Wolverhampton CCG, said:

“For many, Christmas is a special time when people enjoy being with friends and family so the last thing we want for our patients is having that time spoilt by not being able to take regular medication.

“Many people with long term conditions rely on their prescribed medication to help them keep their condition under control.  So, along with the presents, the turkey and tinsel, it's important that patients have enough medicine to see them through the festive period. With GP practices closed over the Christmas bank holidays, it’s important to order repeat prescriptions at least a week in advance so that the festive season can be enjoyed in good health. It is also important to remind any elderly relatives who are coming to visit.

"Now is also a good time to double check that home medicine cabinets are well stocked with over-the-counter remedies so that minor illnesses and injuries can be managed at home. Local pharmacies can provide useful advice and deal with minor ailments without people having to see their GP about winter bugs like coughs, colds, sore throats, stomach upsets and flu.”

Breathe easier and seek treatment on World COPD Day

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People with breathing difficulties in Wolverhampton are being called upon to take action on World COPD Day to ensure that their condition is treated.

NHS Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is supporting World COPD Day, which takes place on 21 November 2018 to raise awareness of the condition and encourage sufferers to take action.

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, describes a group of lung conditions that make it difficult to empty air out of the lungs because the airways have been narrowed.

The disease kills 30,000 people a year in the UK, just 5,000 less than the UK's biggest cancer killer, lung cancer. Yet there is far less awareness of COPD and its devastating effects.

It's estimated that two million people in the UK have COPD but are currently undiagnosed. This means they can't get the support to give them the quality of life they deserve.

The early stages of COPD are often unrecognised, partly because many individuals discount the symptoms, such as breathlessness, chronic cough, and bringing up phlegm, as a normal part of getting older or an expected consequence of cigarette smoking.

Smoking is the main cause of COPD. Smokers can often dismiss the early signs of COPD as a 'smoker's cough' but if they continue smoking and the condition worsens, it can greatly impact on their quality of life. Stopping smoking will reduce the risk of this and other diseases.

If you have been diagnosed with a long term condition including a lung, heart or kidney condition, you are entitled to a free flu vaccination to protect yourself from the virus and the risks associated if you catch it. Don’t risk it; get protected from flu this year.

Dr Salma Reehana of NHS Wolverhampton CCG, said:

"Many of our residents have COPD and don't even know it. They're struggling with their symptoms and a lower quality of life. Their condition is progressing quickly because they’re not receiving treatment. Many people think that COPD can only affect smokers. However, up to 20 per cent of people with COPD have been affected by non-smoking-related causes.

"Of the 3 million people estimated to be living with COPD in the UK, a staggering 2 million are living with the condition undiagnosed. So, on World COPD Day we are encouraging people who are feeling unusually breathless, have a persistent cough, excess mucus or wheezing to contact their GP surgery.

"Annual flu vaccinations have a major role to play in bringing down the number of preventable deaths and hospital admissions that occur every year in patients with chronic lung diseases. We would urge everyone with COPD to get protected with this year’s flu vaccine which is available from their GP or Pharmacy."

People who are experiencing breathing difficulties can take the British Lung Foundation's online breath test. It can help them decide if it's time to see their GP. The test is available at

Confused about cold and flu?

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Understanding the difference between cold and flu is an age-old question and one which still eludes most people and because of this uncertainty tens of thousands of Britons book to see their GP in the winter months when a quick trip to the pharmacy would do.

One too many? Change is possible

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Too often drinking is an expectation, not a choice. Across the UK, people are suffering as a result of their own or others’ drinking. This alcohol awareness week (19 – 25 November), the theme is ‘change’. Change is possible.