How to stay well this winter

Cold weather can make some health problems worse and even lead to serious complications.

If you are feeling unwell and need urgent medical help, please call NHS 111, or visit This will ensure you get the right care, first time.

NHS 111 is staffed by trained clinicians and professionals who will direct you to the most appropriate health service. This could include a walk-in-centre, GP practice, pharmacy, or local hospital.

Dr Paula Cowan working GP and regional clinical director for primary care for NHS England, said: “All areas of the NHS are under pressure at the moment and staff are working extremely hard to meet demand. It’s clear 111 is providing a vital service to many people. There is a wide range of expert help and advice sought  for a number of conditions. For September that’s 131,292 contacts with the service, who may otherwise have been trying to get an appointment with a GP, called 999 or even turned up at A&E.”

In response to increasing demand, the 111 service is looking to expand its workforce.

“It’s clear that people are getting the message about the importance of making sure emergency NHS services such as ambulances and A&E departments are kept free for emergencies,” added Dr Cowan.

“The online service in particular is a great resource if you want to just check your symptoms and a clinician will call you back if needed and it’s a good idea to use the 111 online in the first instance to save yourself some time and to ensure that you receive the right care at the right time for your symptoms.”

If you do have a medical emergency, when someone is seriously injured, their life is at risk, or they could be having a heart attack or stroke, please still dial 999.

GP Extra Service

A range of GP appointments are available on weekday evenings and weekends for all residents registered with a GP practice in south Sefton.

The enhanced access service provides patients with access to pre-bookable appointments outside of normal practice hours.

A range of services are available for residents including routine appointments, smear tests, screenings and more.

Patients can pre-book appointments with the enhanced access service through their own GP practice, either by calling or visiting their usual practice during normal opening hours.

Outside of office hours or at weekends, anyone who needs to book an urgent appointment should continue to get in touch using the NHS 111 service.

Get up to date with vaccinations

With flu and COVID-19 circulating during the winter period, anyone eligible for their vaccines is urged to get up to date ahead of the holidays, to keep yourselves and loved ones safe and protected from serious illness.

Seasonal booster vaccines for COVID-19 are still available – check if you are eligible for the booster, book a vaccination or find a walk-in vaccination site at: Anyone aged 5 and over can also still get any of their previous COVID-19 vaccination doses they may have missed.

Flu vaccinations are also available free on the NHS to eligible patients and you can check if you are eligible for the vaccine at:

Parents and carers are also urged to ensure that eligible children get the children’s flu vaccine, which is given as a nasal spray, either through their GP practice or school when offered. Find out more about who should have the children’s nasal spray flu vaccine at: .

Plan ahead to get help from your pharmacy

Some local pharmacies may have different opening hours over the festive period. Details for Sefton, can be found here.

You are advised to phone ahead before travelling to a pharmacy, as opening times may be subject to change, and to travel safely in the cold weather.

Stay warm

If you are aged 65 or have long term conditions such as heart or kidney disease, diabetes or breathing conditions, try to keep warm by heating your home to at least 18°C (65°F). You should also wear several layers of light clothes to keep warm, as multiple layers will trap warm air better than one bulky layer of clothing.

A network of Sefton Warm Spaces is available to residents, where people can go to keep warm without the fear of what they are spending on gas and electricity. More information can be found here.

Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services (LCVS) has compiled a list of warm hubs people can access during the colder months. Find out more about warm hubs on the LCVS website.

Support for those living in Knowsley can be found here

Care at the Chemist scheme

Sefton’s ‘Care at the Chemist’ scheme has a new extended service, providing
treatment for urinary tract infections (UTIs), better known as water infections, directly from local pharmacies without the need to be seen by a GP.

Women between the ages of 16 and 65 years who have symptoms of a common
UTI, who are not pregnant or breastfeeding, can now access the treatment by
visiting a participating pharmacy.

The Care at the Chemist scheme in Sefton offers quick and easy healthcare advice and medicines for a wide range of illnesses and conditions and is available at 31 pharmacies in the borough.

The conditions that are covered by the scheme include:

  • Athlete’s foot Haemorrhoids (piles) Pain
  • Cold sores Hayfever & allergies Scabies
  • Conjunctivitis Head lice Sore throat
  • Constipation Headache Sprains & strains
  • Contact dermatitis Heartburn Teething
  • Coughs & colds Indigestion Threadworm
  • Cystitis Infant colic Toothache
  • Diarrhoea Insect bites/stings Thrush
  • Dry eyes Nappy rash UTI (urinary tract
  • Ear wax 
  • Nasal congestion
  • Warts and verrucas
  • Fever.

Here is a full list of participating pharmacies:

  • Alexanders Pharmacy, Stuart Road, Crosby*
  • Asda Pharmacy, Aintree*
  • Asda Pharmacy, Strand Road, Bootle*
  • Bridge Road Chemist, Litherland*
  • Cohens Chemist, Bridge Road, Crosby*
  • Cohens Chemist, Marian Square, Bootle*
  • Davey’s Chemist, Randall Drive, Ford*
  • Higgins Pharmacy, Crosby Road North, Waterloo*
  • Knowsley Road Pharmacy, Bootle
  • Netherton Pharmacy, Gordon Youth Centre*
  • Rightdose Pharmacy, Liverpool Road South, Maghull*
  • Rowlands Pharmacy, Sefton Road, Litherland*
  • Station Road Pharmacy, Maghull*
  • Superdrug Pharmacy, Bootle Strand
  • Whitworth Chemist, Moore Street, Bootle*

Those offering the extended service for UTIs are highlighted with an asterisk (*)

Self-care tips