NHS ENGLAND has launched its first national public-awareness campaign in a bid to persuade people not to keep quiet on health problems and to seek advice early.

The Earlier, The Better initiative aims to help nip health problems in the bud and reduce unnecessary stays in hospital.

Since last November NHS England’s most senior clinicians have been encouraging people to seek help early over the winter period. Its biggest concern has been the rising number of older and frail people who are admitted to hospital because of respiratory or other chronic conditions usually worsened by immobility, the cold and viral illnesses.

Many people are not aware that they can get advice on minor ailments from their local community pharmacy service.

To visit your local pharmacy online, go to www.nhs.uk/asap or call NHS 111 for advice on what to do.