Medics warning as cold weather moves in

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Local NHS doctors are advising residents in Burnley, Pendle and the Ribble Valley to take care as the Met Office is predicting a protracted period of freezing weather. In particular, doctors are advising residents to keep an eye out for vulnerable and elderly neighbours, friends and relatives as the county prepares for a cold snap.

The temperature is expected to drop this week, with the Met Office predicting a high risk of heavy snow showers, icy conditions and strong winds across the region.

Clare Clark, matron in emergency medicine, said: “With freezing conditions upon us, I really would urge people to think twice before they venture out in snow or ice. Our emergency departments are inundated during bad weather with people who have been injured in slips, trips or falls so please avoid going out unless you really need to.

“It is especially important for elderly people to think about stocking up their cupboards, making sure they have their prescriptions and keeping as warm as possible. It is also a time for us to be good neighbours and check whether our elderly or more vulnerable neighbours need any help or support.”

Last winter across the North West there were more than 4,000 winter-related deaths.

Dr David White, GP lead for the Burnley Locality of the East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know that if temperatures fall this increases the risk of respiratory problems. Patients with asthma and COPD need to ensure they have enough medication with them throughout this period to avoid the condition worsening. The cold weather can also affect patients with heart conditions, particularly those who are at risk of heart attacks and strokes. For health problems that need quick medical advice but are not a life threatening - patients should contact NHS 111. In the case of life-threatening situations patients should always dial 999.

“Vulnerable and older people are more susceptible to the cold‚ so a quick visit can ensure a vulnerable or elderly neighbour is warm and well – and that can make all the difference - in some cases between life and death.

“We need older people and those who have long-term conditions to ensure they keep taking their medication and have sufficient supplies of repeat prescriptions and food so they don’t need to go out for more during the cold spell.

NHS services in the East Lancashire area are backing the Choose Well campaign. Choose Well reinforces the message that emergency care services such as 999 services are for urgent life-threatening and serious conditions. Your local high-street pharmacy can help you deal with minor illnesses and complaints such as coughs, colds, flu, stomach upsets, aches and sprains. To find your local NHS service go to and use the free service finder, or call NHS 111 for more non urgent health advice.