Be a ‘Winter Friend’ to elderly, urges GP

PUBLISHED: 11:51 22 January 2014 | UPDATED: 11:51 22 January 2014

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A Budleigh GP is asking people to look in on their elderly relatives, neighbours and friends now that the cold weather is setting in.

The message from Dr Rick Mejzner comes as the NHS NEW Devon clinical commissioning group launches a short film to encourage people to keep an eye out for the elderly, part of the national NHS Choices Winter Friends campaign, which can be seen on its YouTube channel.

The NHS says that last winter about 31,000 people in England died as a result of cold weather. Most of these people were over 75, and doctors say many of these deaths could have been avoided.

Dr Mejzner said: “It is very important, especially as the winter weather sets in, that we all take time out to look in on our elderly friends or neighbours to make sure they are warm and coping well.

“This film is a great visual reminder that we can all play a part in helping the more vulnerable people. But being a Winter Friend does not stop when winter ends. Older people need our support, care and friendship all year round.

“Pledging to be a Winter Friend is fantastic, but it is not just for winter.”

NHS Choices is aiming to get 100,000 people to sign the Winter Friends pledge this winter.

Everyone who signs the pledge will get free cold weather alerts and email tips throughout the winter to help them do their bit.

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