SUNDERLAND football stars are backing a health campaign as medics face their busiest time of the year.
The Black Cats are urging people to ‘keep calm’ and call NHS 111 or call into a local urgent care centre when their GP surgery is closed they need urgent health care this Christmas.
The message is from NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group and is being supported by SAFC and the Foundation of Light.
Ken Teears, development director at the Foundation of Light, said: “The ‘keep calm and call NHS 111’ initiative is a great way of ensuring that everybody gets the best out of the health services this winter.
“One of the Foundation’s key focus areas is to educate people to ensure that they can live a healthy and happy lifestyle and this simple but effective campaign will be a big part of this.”
NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group’s director of nursing, quality and safety, Ann Fox, said: “By keeping calm and calling NHS 111 or calling in to one of our urgent care centres, Sunderland residents can ensure that our busy Emergency department is able to focus their resources on those people who are most seriously ill.
“The Urgent Care Centres, staffed by GPs and nurses, can see and treat patients of all ages from birth upwards who have a health issue which is not life-threatening but needs to be seen that day.
“Patients can still walk in to an Urgent Care Centre but if they call the free NHS 111 service first they can make an appointment at an Urgent Care Centre - which should reduce waiting time - or direct the patient to the most appropriate service for their health condition.”
Open every day of the year, 10am-10pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 10pm Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays, the centres have free parking and often offer more speedy access to treatment for patients with non-life threatening urgent care needs such as suspected fractures.
The centres are open until 10pm all across Christmas and New Year.
The Keep Calm campaign launched last month and includes a dedicated website – www.keepcalmthiswinter.org.uk – with information on common winter illnesses, what the symptoms are, how to treat them and how long they will last. It includes advice on what to keep in your winter medicines cabinet so you can be ready to treat illnesses as they start.
You can also follow the campaign on Twitter @keepcalmne.