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Cold weather can be seriously bad for your health. That's why it's important to look after yourself, especially during the winter.  In this section you can find out how to protect yourself against the season’s common ailments and help make sure you stay well here in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale this winter.

Read more about:

  • Protection from flu
  •  Pharmacy advice and opening times
  •  GP extended hours
  • Keep warm and well
  • 111

Protect you and your family from flu

A dose of flu can really give you the blues, so getting vaccinated against the virus is the best way to help protect yourself and friends and family. In Greater Manchester there are one million free flu vaccinations available to residents who could be ‘at risk’ of developing severe complications from it such as bronchitis, pneumonia, the worsening of an existing condition or even death. 

People eligible for a free flu vaccination include:GM Flu Social Media 02 1.0

  • Healthy children aged two to three years-old or in school years reception, one, two, three and four
  • People aged over 65
  • People aged 6 months to 65 years old with underlying medical conditions such as heart problems, asthma or disabilities
  • Pregnant women
  • Carers
  • People living in long-stay residential care homes or other long-term care facilities

It is important everyone who is eligible for the flu vaccination takes up the offer.

This year we’re encouraging more healthy children to get the vaccination to help prevent the virus spreading to other vulnerable people. A quick and painless nasal spray vaccination is available for children and it does not contain the live flu virus, so they definitely cannot catch the flu from it.

Make an appointment with your GP practice now or visit your pharmacy to book in to get the flu vaccination.

PP Flu Taxi 37

Remember, to be protected you need to have the vaccine every year as flu is unpredictable and previous years’ vaccinations may not protect you against the types of flu going around this year.

This year a local taxi driver is helping people in Rochdale borough beat the winter flu blues by reminding them to get the flu vaccination. Amir Afzal is driving around in one of 10 Hackney cabs in Greater Manchester, each branded with Stay Well This Winter artwork encouraging people to have their flu vaccination. Keep an eye out for Amir’s taxi around the borough! 


Get expert advice from pharmacists

Pharmacists can give you expert medical advice on a range of common winter conditions and minor injuries, such as sore throat, coughs, colds, flu, earache, aches,pains and skin rashes.

Male BMEThey can also advise you on which medicines you should have in stock to help get you and your family through the winter season. Remember to pick up prescription medications before the Christmas holidays start, especially if you are 65 or over or have a long term health condition such as a lung disease, diabetes, heart or kidney disease.

You don't need an appointment to see a pharmacist, so if you start to feel unwell, even if it is just a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets more serious, ask them for help. The sooner you get advice the better. Read more here.

You can find details of pharmacy opening times over the Christmas and New Year holidays here.

Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections like most colds and flu, and most sore throats or ear infections - conditions which are very common in winter and can be treated with over the counter remedies available from your local pharmacy.

This winter a simple blood test is being introduced to GP practices in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale to help decide if patients really need antibiotics to treat their symptoms. Read the news story here, see our Antibiotics: Frequently Asked Questions here and watch this video with local GP and HMR CCG Clinical Board member Dr York to find out all you need to know. 

Visit extended hours hubs in Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale for out of hours appointments

GMCSU HMR CCG 6 2Over the festive period December 27th, 28th and 29th are normal working days so GP surgeries will be open as normal from 8am - 6.30pm.

If you need to see a GP or nurse on December 25th, December 26th or January 1st, appointments are available at ‘extended hours hubs’ in Rochdale borough.

Appointments are available:
December 25th: 11.30am-2.30pm
December 26th and January 1st: 11.30am – 6pm

At all other times, appointments to see a GP or nurse in the evening, at weekend and on a bank holiday are available at the ‘extended hours hubs’.

Appointments are available:

6.30pm - 9pm on weekdays
8am - 6pm on Saturdays and bank holidays
10am - 1pm on Sundays

To book an appointment at an extended hours hub, please call the central booking line on 0161 763 8292.


Keep warm and well 

Stay Well 1It is important to keep warm in winter – both inside and outdoors as it can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes pneumonia and depression. Heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F) and try to have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day to give you energy. Make sure you’re receiving all the help to heat your home that you are entitled to. Find out more here.


Call NHS 111 for urgent help

NHS 111 Its not a 999 emergency 300 x 250

111 is the NHS number if you need help urgently, but it's not an emergency. It's fast, easy and free. Call 111 and speak to a highly trained adviser, supported by healthcare professionals. They will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for you. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

If you need non-emergency help during the winter period when your GP surgery or pharmacy is closed, call NHS 111 or visit


For further advice, visit








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