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Health and wellbeing

Are you flu safe? Get the jab! “You’d do everything you can to protect your baby…”  People don’t often realise that flu can be a

Day in the Life There’s a saying ‘Treasure your time; don’t spend it - invest it’ and that surely must be the maxim of Dr Paul Williams (pictured) as he invests much of his time, and life, working to improve the health and wellbeing of people across Stockton. Paul, 40, who is a GP, spends three days of his working week in the A & B Surgery in Stockton and two days representing the new Clinical Commissioning Group. The Commissioning Group works in partnership with the Council to deliver a wide range of healthcare services including hospitals, ambulances, mental health and community nurses. Working hard at his GCSEs and A levels resulted in Paul being the first pupil to study medicine from his school – and he has since been back to give a talk to students to inspire them to realise their own ambitions.

serious illness. If you’re pregnant, flu can knock you off your feet for weeks, and you are more at risk of flu complications such as pneumonia.

After studying at Newcastle University he came to Teesside to continue his training as a GP and, as well as Stockton, he’s also worked in Ingleby Barwick and Thornaby – so he is well versed in our area and its healthcare needs.

A flu jab is quick, safe and free. To book your jab, speak to your GP practice today.

Paul hasn’t always been a GP. He trained in Public Health and spent five years working in a hospital in Uganda in Africa where, among other things, he ran a women’s clinic but also dealt with health issues such as malnutrition, Malaria and HIV.

www.nhs.uk/flu

Africa may be a world away from life in the Tees Valley but Paul is just as concerned about our area’s health problems such as heart conditions, cancer, and diabetes as well as inequalities in healthcare.

Who needs the seasonal flu vaccine?  All frontline health and social care workers  All those 65 years and over  All pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy  People of all ages (over six months for children) who have: -serious breathing problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - chronic heart disease such as heart failure - chronic kidney disease such as kidney failure - chronic liver disease such as hepatitis - chronic neurological disease such as Parkinson’s - people with diabetes - p  eople with a suppressed immune system due to disease or treatment, such as people receiving treatment for cancer or those with conditions such as cystic fibrosis.

 eople who live with others whose immune systems are P compromised such as cancer patients on treatment or people with HIV/AIDS  hose who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those T who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person.

How do I get the vaccine?

If you are in an at risk group, contact your GP practice if you have not received an invitation to be vaccinated. If you are not sure whether you are eligible for a flu vaccination please check on the NHS choices website www.nhs.uk

Self care advice

If you get flu and do not fall within an at risk group stay at home, rest, drink plenty of water and take paracetamol based cold remedies. If symptoms persist call NHS Direct on 0845 4647. There are ways to reduce the spread of flu; cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, dispose of the tissue immediately, then wash your hands. In short – catch it, bin it, kill it.

As Stockton locality lead of the Local Commissioning Group, he is determined to be part of enhancing and improving a wide spectrum of health and healthcare issues across the Borough. “I want to see everyone’s health improving”, he says, “local people have asked me to focus on prevention and enabling people to make good health choices. For example, a baby who is breastfed is less likely to get a serious illness than one who is bottle-fed, but in Stockton we have one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country. I want to help this improve.” Practicing what he preaches, Paul lives a healthy lifestyle. His alarm goes off at 5.45am and after a hearty breakfast he cycles to the surgery which helps him to “get going!” He recently won the Park Run around the Tees Barrage and takes part in triathlons. As Stockton News was going to print Paul had just completed the Half Iron Man in Henley. You might also catch him playing five-a-side at Thornaby Pavilion. Paul enjoys music, the arts and theatre and is keen to support local arts venues. As a Board Member of Arc, he visits it regularly to see shows as well as to see what’s on offer at the Georgian Theatre. When he does ‘switch off’ he spends quality time with his partner Vicky and their baby girl, Emmeline. He values all the friendships he has made in the 18 years he has spent here and it’s clear Paul’s heart is in Stockton where he is making a difference. He is passionate about instilling pride in our area and feels he truly belongs to this community who he says are ‘brilliant people!’

Dr Paul Williams in Stockton Town Centre PAGE 29

Stockton News - Winter 2012  

The Winter 2012 edition of Stockton News