self care for life

We want you to not only feel empowered to take responsibility for your own health, but also informed about what services are available should you require extra support.

Self-care is the best choice to treat minor illnesses and injuries. A large range of common illnesses and injuries can be treated at home simply with over-the-counter medicines and plenty of rest. This could include treatment for the following:

  • Minor aches and pains
  • Minor sprains, sports injuries, grazed knee and scars
  • Coughs, colds, blocked noses, fevers and sore throat
  • Hangover

Below are some other top tips to help you take care of yourself:

  1. Be prepared for most common ailments by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home. Find out what should be included here.
  2. Speak to your local pharmacist - many medicines for minor illness and ailments are avaiable over-the-counter.
  3. Get your flu jab during the winter season. You may be entitled to a free one - ask your GP or pharmacist for details
  4. Keep active to stay physically and mentally well
  5. Be mindful that sometimes symptoms can last longer than you think - sore throats can last an average of eight days
  6. Don’t forget, antibiotics don’t work on sore throats, coughs or colds

Visit the NHS website to find what lifestyle changes you can make in order to take care of yourself and find out what works best for you.

Remember, if you’re not sure whether you need to go to A&E, call NHS 111 first.

Self Care Fact Sheets

Below you can find guidance to help you take care of the most common ailments in a series of fact sheets written by the Self Care Forum. These provide useful facts about your condition, what you can expect to happen, how to help yourself, when you should see your GP and where to find out more information.

Useful Links


Silvercloud: Online Mental Health Support

man looking at tablet device

Online mental health support in mid Essex

If you live in the Braintree, Chelmsford or Maldon districts and are looking for extra support with your mental health you can log on and use Silvercloud. Silvercloud is a secure online self-help programme that is proven to help with anxiety, stress and depression. Access is immediate and free from wherever you need it. No GP referral is needed and you complete the programmes online at your own pace and at a time which is convenient for you.

How it works

Programmes consist of informative and interactive modules which you can complete at your own pace. A Silvercloud supporter from Mid and North Essex Mind will review your progress over 6 weeks providing feedback and guidance. You will work independently with access for a year after your reviews are complete to help maintain your progress. The programme is easy to use with interactive tools and activities to help you think better, manage your life and live well.

The programmes consist of seven to eight modules – complete these at your own pace, in your own time. The goal of each module is for you to take the information and techniques learned – and to start applying them in your day-to-day life. At regular intervals, your supporter will check your progress and provide feedback and guidance.

You can log on and start using the platform anytime.

Log onto SilverCloud


Your Local Pharmacy


Health on the High Street

Community pharmacists are experts in the use of medicines and can clinically check, prepare and dispense prescription medicines for you.You do not need an appointment to see a pharmacist and they can offer professional healthcare advice and support to maintain and improve your health and wellbeing. Community pharmacists can advise you on the safe use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines for common minor ailments such as:

  • Coughs
  • Colds
  • Minor injuries
  • Tummy troubles
  • Women's health
  • Skin conditions
  • Allergies
  • Aches and pains

There are many other health services that pharmacists and their teams can offer including:

  • Flu vaccinations
  • Emergency contraception 
  • Stop smoking services - stopping smoking
  • Chlamydia screening and treatment
  • Weight management – including advice on healthy eating and physical activity

You can also get support with managing long-term conditions such as diabetes or heart disease by having blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar tests at your local pharmacy. You will still need regular reviews with your GP, nurse or specialist - pharmacists can advise on when is best to see a GP.

Getting advice from a local pharmacist is the best first step for a minor health concern. But if you think you or your family member are more seriously ill, then a GP or hospital may be more appropriate.

Help and advice day and night

Many pharmacies in mid Essex are open until late and at weekends, which is useful if you feel unwell when your GP practice is closed.

For help with your medicines please click here.

Useful Links

NHS 111

NHS 111 Banner

Call 111 if you need medical help fast but it's not an emergency

NHS 111 makes it easier for people to access health services and medical advice fast. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, 111 is free from mobiles and landlines.

NHS 111 is staffed by a team of fully trained advisors, supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. They will ask questions to assess your symptoms, provide healthcare advice and/or direct you to a local health service that can help you best.

Calls to NHS 111 are recorded. All calls and records created are maintained securely and will only be shared with others directly involved with your care.

Call 111 if:

  • you need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency
  • you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
  • you don't know who to call or you don't have a GP to call
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next

Depending on the situation, the NHS 111 team can connect you to a nurse, emergency dentist or even a GP, and can arrange face-to-face appointments if they think you need one. If NHS 111 advisors think that an ambulance is required, they will immediately arrange for one to be sent to you.

For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way. For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, continue to call 999.

If a health professional has given you a specific phone number to call when you are concerned about your condition, continue to use that number.

pdf NHS 111 Easy Read Leaflet (767 KB)

Latest News

The NHSLongTermPlan has been published, with a vision to make the NHS fit for the future

The NHSLongTermPlan has been published, with a vision to make the NHS fit for the future

Long Term Plan

The NHS Long Term Plan is the national health service’s plan to make sure it is fit for the future. It aims to give everyone the best start in life, will deliver world-class care for major health problems such as cancer and mental health, and will help people age well.

The plan, backed by extra investment, has been developed by people who know the NHS best – frontline health and care staff, patients and their families, and other experts – who will continue to shape how it is implemented across the country.

Over the next few months, the NHS in mid Essex will be working with patients, the public and partners - including local councils, the voluntary and community sector and social care – to develop local plans to turn the national ambitions contained in the Long Term Plan into real improvements to services and outcomes for patients, building on the progress we’ve already made together over the last few years.

Dr Anita Donley, OBE, independent chair of the Mid and South Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership said: "We welcome the publication of the NHS Long Term Plan today and the priorities it contains. The plan is a helpful blueprint for change which reflects many of our own ambitions and the work we are already doing as a health and care partnership to shape our care for the future.

"Building on the conversations we are having with the public and our staff we now have the opportunity to shape what the NHS Long Term Plan means for our area, and how we can continue to improve the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve."

More details about opportunities to help shape our local plans will be shared shortly. In the meantime, to read a copy of the national plan and find out more visit www.longtermplan.nhs.uk.

Read more

Patients urged to cancel appointments rather than just not show up

Baby with cancel GP appointment message

More than 15 million general practice appointments are being wasted each year because patients do not turn up and fail to warn surgeries that they will not be attending.

NHS England report that around 307 million sessions scheduled with GPs, nurses, therapists and other practice staff every year and 5% – one in twenty – are missed without enough notice to invite other patients. That works out as around 15.4 million missed slots.

In mid and south Essex more than 12,000 GP slots are wasted every month across due to people failing to show up to their GP appointments.

GP leaders say the missed appointments contribute to increased waiting times in practice and therefore could be contributing to people with minor illnesses going to local A&E departments for treatment.


  • Make sure you make a note of your appointment either in a diary, calendar or on your smart phone and ideally set yourself a reminder
  • Register for online services, speak to your GP practice about how to do this – appointments can be easily cancelled at the touch of a button 24/7
  • Ask your GP practice if they have a text message reminder service

NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups across mid and south Essex are working together to raise awareness of the impacts of missed appointments and to help educate local people about tools such as online GP services that help to make cancelling GP appointments easy.

Read more

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Latest News

The NHSLongTermPlan has been published, ...

The NHS Long Term Plan is the national health service’s plan to make sure it is fit for the future. It aims to give everyone the best start in life, will deliver world-class care for major ...

Read more

Patients urged to cancel appointments ...

More than 15 million general practice appointments are being wasted each year because patients do not turn up and fail to warn surgeries that they will not be attending. NHS England report that around 307 million sessions scheduled with GPs, ...

Read more

More NHS advice and support ...

If you need over the counter medicines, to fill a prescription or seek advice on mental or physical health conditions, there are a number of NHS services available to you over the Christmas and New ...

Read more

NHS workshops offer advice for ...

NHS Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is arranging a new series of workshops to help parents in Braintree District, Chelmsford City and Maldon District spot common illnesses in their children and advise on how to care ...

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New advice to support young ...

During the winter months many children suffer with common but often treatable conditions which can worsen if not treated correctly. The NHS is focusing on a message that is ‘Help us help you.” Healthcare Leaders ...

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