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​​​​​New local guide to help residents 'choose well' when it comes to their health

Residents will receive a new 'easy to use' guide next week right on their doorstep, providing them with information on the wide variety of healthcare services available across the borough.

Designed by the local Health and Wellbeing Board, the simple reference booklet provides information on local NHS health services, including pharmacies, GP practices and walk-in centres.  

It supports the national 'Choose Well' campaign, which helps people to get fast, expert health advice when they need it, as well as information on how to treat common illnesses, such as coughs and colds.

The booklet aims to help ease the pressure on A&E and 999 services. It reinforces the message that A&E and 999 services are for serious and life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, serious accidents and breathing conditions. Booklets will be delivered to households from 10 December. They will also be available in local libraries.

Cllr Christine Percival, Chair of the Richmond Health and Wellbeing Board, said: "We know that over the winter, the number of serious and life-threatening cases go up as temperatures fall.  What hospitals don't need at such a busy time, are people calling 999, turning up at A&E or going to their GP when they don't need to. Richmond Council and Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)* are working hard to make sure you and your family have access to a wide range of free health services across the borough.

 "There are a lot of options, ranging from GP practices – a number of which are now open 7 days a week, to local pharmacies, as well as a wide range of information available online. This booklet will guide you through it. Signposting you in the right direction quickly."

 Dr Graham Lewis, local GP and Chair of Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) added: "A high number of people who go to A&E could have been seen more quickly by their local pharmacist, GP or at a walk-in centre. This useful booklet provides information on the other local NHS services available including our Health Help Now app**, which is free and enables people to check their symptoms and find the best place for treatment."

 *Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are groups of local GPs that work together to plan and buy (commission) NHS health services in England for their local population. Clinical commissioning groups work with patients, health and social care partners to meet local health and social care needs. NHS Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group is made of all 28 GP practices in Richmond upon Thames and is responsible for planning and buying health services for people living in in the borough.

 Notes for the editor