People in Swindon and Shrivenham are being urged to make sure they know the best ways to get the most appropriate healthcare quickly and without an appointment over the winter months.

While many people default to calling their GP surgery, or even visiting their nearest hospital Emergency Department, at the first sign of becoming ill, the three organisations want to remind people to make use of other, often more appropriate, healthcare services.

Choosing the right service first not only helps all patients to be seen quicker, but supports hard-working NHS staff to focus their valuable time on supporting the people most in need of urgent care and treatment.

From the walk-in centre at the new NHS Swindon Health Centre to the Urgent Care Centre at the Great Western Hospital, Swindon there are a wide range of healthcare options that can support people to get help quickly, often on the same day, and without an appointment.

Another quick way that people in Swindon can get professional help and advice is to visit one of the town’s 30 pharmacies.

Much more than just somewhere to pick up a prescription and a packet of cough sweets, pharmacies – most of which have extended opening hours – can offer private consultations, prescribe medicines and arrange for patients to be seen elsewhere if their condition would benefit from the attention of a doctor or nurse.

The NHS111 helpline, which can be called free from any landline or mobile phone, also gives patients the option of having a trained medical professional assess them over the phone and signpost to them other services, within just minutes of dialing.

As well as choosing right, people in Swindon can ensure they are in the best possible health for winter by getting the flu jab.

The vaccine is available directly from a patient’s GP surgery, at most pharmacies and even some high street chemists and supermarkets.

Some groups of people, such as those aged over 65, those with long-term conditions such as asthma and diabetes and pregnant women, qualify for a free flu jab.

To learn more about flu, as well as everything else to do with staying well throughout winter, such as keeping warm at home, looking out for older friends and family and staying active in colder weather, visit www.nhs.uk or follow the CCG on Facebook or Twitter.