Our top 10 tips for choosing the right service at the right time this winter


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Choose Well: Our top 10 tips for choosing the right service at the right time this winter – and helping your NHS to run effectively.

1. There is lots of information on choosing the right service at the right time so you get better quickly when you fall ill. Visit www.easterncheshireccg.nhs.uk and search for "Choose Well."

2. Self-care is the best option if you have a self-limiting, minor condition like a cough, cold or sore throat.

3. Over-the-counter medicines can be bought from shops, supermarkets and pharmacies – often for a few pennies and rarely for more than a few pounds (see the typical costs below).

4. Please don't request a GP appointment to be prescribed over-the-counter medicines.

5. Please don't ask your GP for antibiotics for coughs, colds and sore throats. They don't cure viruses while overuse of antibiotics causes antimicrobial resistance – meaning that antibiotics might not work when you really need them. Watch our video asking people to sign up as antibiotic guardians.

6. Keep your medicine cabinet stocked with items including paracetamol, ibuprofen, plasters, indigestion remedies and antiseptic cream.

7. Ambulances and the Emergency Department are only for emergencies and serious accidents.

8. Never visit the Emergency Department with a minor, self-limiting condition.

9. Think Pharmacy! Pharmacists are highly-qualified health professionals who can offer advice and medication for a wide range of conditions. Many pharmacies have private consulting rooms, and you don't need an appointment to see a pharmacist.

10. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.​ Call NHS 111 if:

  • you need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency
  • you think you need to go to the Emergency Department or need another NHS urgent care service
  • you don't know who to call or you don't have a GP to call
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next.

Typical cost of over-the-counter medicines

Did you know that each GP consultation costs the NHS around £50 in prescribing costs and GP time? Yet these are the modest prices you can expect to pay if you buy over-the-counter medicines yourself.

1. Junior Paracetamol - £1.90 (for 100mls of 125mg/5mls)
2. Paracetamol - 25p (for 16 500mg tablets)
3. Ibuprofen - 35p (for 16 200mg tablets)
4. Aspirin - 30p (for 16 300mg tablets)
5. Diarrhoea relief - £1 (for 6 capsules containing immodium)
6. Constipation relief - £1.60 (for 20 bisacodyl tablets)
7. Antihistamines for hay fever and allergy relief - £2.50 (for 14 cetirizine 10mg tablets)
8. Sore Throat lozenges - 99p
9. Antacids - 99p

Total £9.88

NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG, NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group