Help Us Help You - Stay Well This Winter

Updated on 14 December 2018 


What is Help Us Help You?

The Help Us Help You initiative encourages you to take care of your health this winter.

This page contains lots of information to help you stay well this winter, including details about this winter's flu vaccination programme, top tips from a Vale of York GP, and advice about how to self-treat many common illnesses and ailments.

Use pharmacies and NHS 111 services for minor illnesses during the Christmas and New Year holidays

Vale of York residents are being encouraged to use pharmacies for minor illnesses or ailments over the Christmas holiday period.

While some of the region’s GP surgeries will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, some pharmacies will be open and are the place to go for treatment and advice on common illnesses and ailments, including colds, flu, and minor rashes.

Below is a timetable detailing when certain York and Selby pharmacies will be open on New Year’s Day. Specialist medicines for palliative care are available at some pharmacies – these are highlighted in red.

Pharmacy Address Area Phone number New Year's Day opening times
Rowlands Pharmacy 66 Donacaster Road Selby 01757 702835 12pm-1pm
Asda Pharmacy Monks Cross Shopping Centre York 01904 689410 10am - 5pm
Lloyds Pharmacy Monks Cross Shopping Centre York 01904 613779 9am - 6pm
Boots Pharmacy Spurriergate / Coney Street York 01904 653657 10am - 5.30pm
Boots Pharmacy          Monks Cross Shopping Centre York 01904 656360 11am - 5pm
Boots Pharmacy 86 Clifton York 01904 624507 3pm - 5pm
Bishopthorpe Pharmacy 22-24 Acaster Lane, Bishopthorpe York 01904 707169 11am - 1pm

Order and collect your prescription medicine well in advance before Christmas

Vale of York residents are being encouraged to collect their prescription medicine and stock up on winter remedies well in advance to stay well over the Christmas and new year holidays.

GP surgeries and most pharmacies will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, so people on repeat prescription medication are advised to order and collect their prescriptions at least a week before the holidays to ensure they don’t run out of essential medicine over the festive season.

It’s also a good idea to have a well-stocked medicine cabinet so you’re well prepared if you’re unlucky enough to become unwell over the Christmas and new year period when access to your GP might be limited.

You might want to keep an adequate supply of:

  • Paracetamol and Ibuprofen
  • Decongestants
  • Cough medicines and throat lozenges
  • Antihistamines
  • Heartburn and indigestion medicine
  • Anti-diarrhoea
  • Antiseptic cream/wipes 
  • Plasters

Click here for more information

Vale of York GP gives his top tips for staying well this winter 

There are a number steps you can take to help protect yourself against the cold weather. Dr Nigel Wells, NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group’s Clinical Chair and a local GP, has provided his tips to help you stay well this winter.

Click here to read Dr Wells' winter-related advice.

Public urged to help prevent spread of norovirus

Norovirus spreads very easily in public places such as hospitals, GP surgeries, nursing homes and schools – and is usually brought into these places by visitors once it becomes prevalent in the community.

Norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea, is commonly referred to as the ‘winter vomiting bug’ because it can be more prevalent during winter - but outbreaks can occur at any time of the year.

People are therefore being asked to help prevent the spread of norovirus by:

  • Staying away from hospitals and other healthcare facilities if you or someone you live with (or are in close proximity to) has vomited or had diarrhoea in the last 48 hours.
  • Staying at home until you or the person you live with (or are in close proximity to) have been free of these symptoms for 48 hours.
  • Washing hands with soap and water (not alcohol-based gels) frequently, especially before and after visiting hospital, a GP surgery or other healthcare facilities.

Beverley Geary, Chief Nurse at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, explains how norovirus can disrupt healthcare  services and how you can help to prevent it spreading in the community.

Click here for more information.

Why wait to see your doctor? You may not need to…

It may not be necessary to see your GP and it could be more appropriate and quicker for you to see other health professional, for example a practice nurse, a counsellor, physiotherapist or a pharmacist.

These health professionals are experts in their field and can be better equipped to treat you because they’re experienced in dealing with your particular condition.

So, to get better and live well, why wait to see a GP? Click here for more information.

Have you had your flu vaccine?

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group and City of York Council are encouraging eligible people in the local area to take up the offer of a free flu vaccine.

You are eligible for a free flu vaccine if you:

  • Have a long term health condition
  • Are 65 years or over  
  • Are pregnant 
  • A child aged two to nine (pre-school, and reception class to year five)

Advanced Nurse Practitioner Cheryl Lythgoe, from Priory Medical Group, talks about the flu vaccine programme for winter 2018-19. 

Watch this video to hear Cheryl discuss the new vaccine for those aged 65 and over.

You can have your flu jab at your GP practice or local pharmacy.

Community pharmacist Paul Brett, from Monkbar Pharmacy in York city centre, explains how some community pharmacies can vaccinate people against flu this winter.

If you’re pregnant your midwife will be able to advise you where to have your jab.

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust's Head of Midwifery and its Antenatal Day Services Co-Ordinator (Liz Ross and Debbie Scott) explain why it's important for pregnant women to have their flu vaccine in this video.

Children in reception to year five will be able to have their vaccine at school, children 2-3 years old will be able to have their flu jab in their GP practice.

Find out more about the flu vaccine and what’s new for the 2018-19 flu season here

There are many myths about flu and the flu jab. Read our guide to the facts and fiction behind winter flu.

Self-care: Advice from your local GPs

GPs from across the Vale of York have starred in winter self-care videos to help you treat common ailments and injuries this winter.

From sore throats to cold and flu these bit sized videos will save you a trip to your GP practice and help you treat your illness at home.

Cold and flu                            Flu self-care                              Coughs
Sore throats                            Ear infections                           Medicine cabinet essentials
Sleep disorders                       Back pain                                 Anxiety and low mood
Fatigue                                    Musculoskeletal pain               Diarrhoea


NHS 111 - online and phone





Vale of York residents can now access the NHS 111 service online as well as over the phone if they need urgent healthcare or health advice.

Residents can now receive medical help or advice from NHS 111 online using their smartphone, tablet, laptop or other digital device.

As an alternative to calling 111, you can now visit to determine which service or treatment is most suitable for you. Like the phone service, it’s available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and is free to use.

Like you do when calling 111, you’ll answer a series of questions relating to your symptoms. Based on your answers, you will be directed to the most appropriate healthcare service in your area. You can also use NHS 111 online to get advice on self care.

Extended access to primary care services

In addition to standard, weekday appointment times, people living in York and its surrounding area now have the opportunity to visit, or talk to a healthcare professional in the evenings, at weekends and on bank holidays thanks to a new scheme that launched in October 2018.

You will have more flexibility to book a routine appointment when it suits you and you may be able choose a face-to-face, telephone or video consultation to ensure you receive advice when you need it.

Nimbuscare Ltd, a group of GP practices, are delivering extended opening hours in practices across the York Central area and Pocklington.

Modality Partnership is working with a group of GP practices in the North locality of the Vale of York area to deliver further appointments for patients registered at seven GP practices.  

Find out which practices are taking part and where the new appointments are being held here

Further Reading

There's loads of online resources which can provide more information to help you stay well this winter...

NHS 111