Important information to help you Stay Well This Winter

Stay Well This Winter 2019

On this page you will find information to help you Stay Well This Winter

  • Why you should have a flu vaccine
  • GP appointments in Bromley
  • Protect yourself from shingles and pneumococcal infections
  • Use the right service at the right time

What is flu?

Flu occurs every year usually in the winter, which is why it’s sometimes called seasonal flu. Colds are much less serious and usually start gradually with a stuffy or runny nose and a sore throat. A bad bout of flu can be much worse than a heavy cold.

The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. Healthy individuals usually recover within two to seven days, but for some the illness can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.

The flu vaccine

Flu can affect anyone but if you have a long-term health condition or you are aged 65 or over, the effects of flu can make it worse even if the condition is well managed and you normally feel well.

“Flu is a highly infectious illness with symptoms that come on very quickly. It is not the same as a cold; it is caused by a different group of viruses and the symptoms start more suddenly, are more severe and last longer. If you are in one of the at risk groups then your flu vaccine is free. Make an appointment with your GP or visit your local pharmacy as soon as possible.”

Dr Jon Doyle, local GP and Bromley CCG Clinical Director

A flu vaccine is available for free on the NHS for:

  • Anyone aged 65 or over
  • Anyone with a long term condition such as a heart, chest or spleen problem, kidney or liver disease, a neurological condition or diabetes
  • Pregnant women
  • Anyone with a weakened immune system
  • Carers of an older or disabled person

For more information about who should have the flu vaccine visit:

The children’s flu vaccine is offered as a yearly nasal spray to young children to help protect them against flu. Flu can be very unpleasant for children, with potentially serious complications, including bronchitis and pneumonia.

Find out more by visiting

Getting your flu vaccine

Get your flu vaccine as soon as possible to protect yourself over the winter period. If you think you are eligible, contact your GP practice or ask your local pharmacist. 

You should have the flu vaccine every year so you stay protected, as the flu virus can change from year to year. The flu vaccine will not give you the flu. 

For more information on how to stay well this winter visit 

Who is eligible for pneumococcal and shingles vaccinations 

Shingles vaccinations

A vaccine to prevent shingles, a common, painful skin disease is available on the NHS to people in their 70s. The shingles vaccine is given as a single injection into the upper arm.

Unlike the flu vaccine, you’ll only need to have the vaccination once and you can have it at any time of the year.

Shingles can be very painful and uncomfortable. Some people are left with pain lasting for years after the initial rash has healed. Shingles is also fatal for around 1 in 1,000 over-70s who develop it.

Who can have the shingles vaccination?

  • You’re eligible for the shingles vaccine if you are aged between 70-79 years old.
  • A small number of patients may not be eligible for the shingles vaccination and your
  • practice will advise you.
  • When you’re eligible, you can have the shingles vaccination at any time of year.
  • The shingles vaccine is not available on the NHS to anyone aged 80 or over because it seems to be less effective in this age group.

How do I get the shingles vaccine?

  • Once you become eligible for a shingles vaccination your doctor will vaccinate you when you attend the surgery for general reasons, or for your annual flu vaccination.
  • If you are worried that you may miss out on the shingles vaccination, contact your
  • GP surgery to arrange an appointment to have one.

Find out more by visiting

Pneumococcal vaccinations

The pneumococcal vaccine protects against serious and potentially fatal pneumococcal infections. It’s also known as the pneumonia vaccine.

Pneumococcal infections are caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae and can lead to pneumonia, septicaemia (a kind of blood poisoning) and meningitis. At their worst, these infections can cause permanent brain damage, or even kill.

Who should have the pneumococcal vaccine?

A pneumococcal infection can affect anyone. But some people are at higher risk of serious illness, so it’s recommended they’re given the pneumococcal vaccination on the NHS. 

These include:

  • Babies
  • adults aged 65 or over
  • children and adults with certain
  • long-term health conditions,
  • such as a serious heart, lung or kidney condition

Find out more about who should have the pneumococcal vaccine by visiting

GP services in Bromley during the evenings and at weekends

Bromley GPs are providing more patient appointments in the evenings and at weekends. These extended services are available from 4pm to 8pm on weekdays and 8am to 8pm at weekends, based across three Bromley GP Alliance access hubs.

 In winter, when NHS services are particularly busy, we provide more of these appointments to make it easier for you to see a GP when you need one. To get an appointment, you can call your GP practice. If your need is urgent and there is no appointment available within your practice, you will be offered an appointment at one of the hubs (you will still be registered with your practice for future appointments).

Hubs are located in Beckenham, Bromley and Orpington. If you need to see a GP urgently when your practice is closed, please call 111.

Bromley Well

Bromley Well provides help for you to stay emotionally and physically well and to remain independent. For further community support on keeping well and staying warm this winter contact Bromley Well on:

tel: 0300 330 9039


Think you need medical help right now? 

NHS 111 is available to offer advice on the best course of action.

NHS 111 can help you decide the best course of action to take when you have an urgent, but non-life-threatening health concern. NHS 111 provides you with a convenient way to get the right help or advice when you need it.

Whether over the telephone or online, NHS 111 will ensure that you get the right care, from the right person, as quickly as possible.

So, if you think you need urgent medical help, you can now call 111 or go online at

NHS Bromley CCG, Global House, 10 Station Approach, Bromley, BR2 7EH

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