02 NOV 2017

Stay Warm this Winter

Kent Messenger Column – 02-11-17 

There was certainly the feel of seasonal change in the air this week; as the clocks turned back, the nights drew in and the winter chill descended.

As we know, winter can be a challenging time for many in our community. Energy bills rise and homes become harder to keep warm. There is also, of course, a greater risk of illness as temperatures drop.

I was therefore pleased to learn this week of the launch of the British Gas 'Stay Warm this Winter' campaign. The campaign highlights a series of easy steps which many of us can take to improve the energy efficiency of our homes and keep heating costs down. They include: closing curtains, insulating pipes and bleeding radiators. You can find a full list of the tips here.

Furthermore, I know the NHS, both nationally and locally have been preparing for the inevitable higher workload they will encounter over the winter months. Detailed plans are in place to make hospital flow more efficient, modernise the ambulance service and improve the 111 non-emergency phone line.

A further critical pillar of the NHS' efforts to prepare for winter is the roll out of the flu vaccine. The programme has been expanded this year to include £10 million of further investment. Last year 3 million pensioners in England didn't take up the jab and less than 70% of over 65s in Kent had the vaccine.

The jab is free and offers the best available protection against the different strains of flu which evolve each year. If you are interested in arranging to have the vaccine then please do contact your GP. Alternatively you can find out more about your eligibility for the free flu jab by clicking here.

And let's always be on the look-out for the most vulnerable in our communities, particularly elderly people, helping them through the challenges cold weather brings. You can find more here from AgeUK.

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