Winter can be a tough time for many people, whether it’s keeping illness at bay, looking after elderly relatives and neighbours or getting out and about in the snowy, icy conditions.

Whatever your circumstances help is at hand.

Here are a few tips and contacts that can help you through this winter.

Choose Well this winter

Know what care you need. Check you are getting to the right service. If you’re unsure you can visit the NHS Direct Wales website here .

Those with complaints such as headaches, toothache, upset stomachs and eye infections are being asked to consider visiting their pharmacist, optician or dentist rather than their GP.

Cwm Taf University Health Board GP Dr Nicola Lewis said: “For any eye problems, even if you have an eye infection, you can go straight to the optician.

“For any dental problems, tooth pain, gum pain, mouth ulcers you can go straight to the dentist.

“You can go to the pharmacist for general advice, particularly if you have an upset stomach, a headache or flu-like symptoms, or if you have any concerns about your medication.”

You don’t need an appointment to see the pharmacist and many have private rooms to discuss health issues. Dr Lewis also pointed to the NHS Direct and Choose Well websites which help people identify the best place to go for treatment.

She added: “If you’re not sure can always go and ask the pharmacist if they think it is something they can help with and they can always redirect people to us if they feel that is necessary.”

Those with minor injuries such as scratches, bites, sprains and fractures are able to visit the Minor Injuries Units at Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda and Ysbyty Cwm Cynon.

Patients who visit the units are able to receive care for these types of injuries and will often be treated much more quickly than if they attend A&E, with one hour being the average waiting time.

As well as waiting less time to be treated, visiting the units could save patients travelling time, as those who have minor injuries and attend A&E departments could still be referred to the Minor Injuries Units.

Cheryl Davies, Sister and Emergency Nurse Practitioner at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon, said: “A Minor Injuries Unit deals with urgent but non-life threatening events such as broken limbs, sprains, strains, human bites, foreign bodies in their eyes, nose, ears. It covers many aspects of care and we have lots of facilities on site.

“The benefit is the lack of waiting time. On our busiest day our waiting time is approximately an hour whereas in a main A&E department it can be four hours plus.”

The opening times for Minor Injury Units are:

 Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda, Llywnypia – 9am-4.30pm, Mon-Fri (excluding Bank Holidays).

The Minor Injury Unit (MIU) located at Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda works on a phone first basis. This means you need to call the unit before attending. The Phone First number for is 01443 444 075.

 Ysbyty Cwm Cynon, Mountain Ash 9am-4.30pm, Mon-Fri (excluding Bank Holidays). No appointments are necessary at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon. For any further information please contact Minor Injury Unit on 01443 715200.

Norovirus 

If you are visiting one of our Hospitals remember if you have had diarrhoea or sickness bug less than 72 hours previously DON’T visit. You are putting others who are more frail than yourself as well as staff at risk.

Keep up to date with our services

Any news or announcements about serviced affected by severe winter weather will be posted on our website and our social media pages, including Facebook and Twitter.

Winter plan

This plan sets out the Health Board’s seasonal planning and delivery arrangements for unscheduled care and seeks to provide assurance to the Board that the organisation has robust plans in place to respond to anticipated increased pressures during the winter period.