PEOPLE are being urged to have a personal winter plan so they are prepared when they start to feel unwell with a cough, cold or flu to take pressure of health providers.

Dr Kiren Collison, clinical lead at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We’d like everyone in Oxfordshire to have a winter plan for themselves and their family so they know what they need to do to remain healthy.”

She explained: “Having a flu vaccination if you are eligible, washing your hands after being out and not missing your normal regular medications can help prevent illness.

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"If you do fall ill, a well-stocked medicine cabinet and advice from your local pharmacist or NHS 111 can help."

She added: “Obviously there will be times when people become seriously unwell and seeing a healthcare professional is the right thing to do but by taking a few simple steps and putting together your winter plan you may help yourself to avoid admission to hospital.”

Hospitals, GP surgeries, social services, paramedics, mental health providers and charities launched their own joint strategy to handle the winter period last month.

NHS 111 can now be accessed online via phone, tablet or laptop to get advice quicker.