Better Health – Stop Smoking

Stopping smoking is one of the best things you will ever do for your health.

It’s never too late to quit smoking. Whether you’ve attempted to quit before, been thinking about it for a while, or are only just considering stopping, we can help. There are lots of different support options and tools available, so you can find the right way to quit for you.

What happens when you quit?
Your body starts repairing the day you stop smoking and benefits build over time. Quitting not only improves your respiratory health but also your mental well-being. You should also see a healthy improvement to your bank balance!

Did you know?

  • After just 20 minutes of not smoking, your pulse rate will be starting to return to normal
  • After 48 hours all harmful carbon monoxide will have been flushed out of your blood
  • After 1 year your chances of a heart attack have halved compared with a smoker’s.

Ways to quit

Many people try to quit smoking with willpower alone, but it’s much easier with the right help. There are lots of different support options available, and you can try a combination that works for you.

Download the free NHS Quit Smoking app

The app allows you to:

  • Track your progress
  • See how much you’re saving
  • Get daily support
  • Keep on top of your cravings
  • Nominate a Quit Buddy

Find your local Stop Smoking Service

With the expert help offered by a free local Stop Smoking Service, you’re 3 times as likely to quit for good. Find your nearest local Stop Smoking Service by visiting the Quit Smoking page on the Better Health website here

Stop smoking aids

Stop smoking aids can help you manage nicotine cravings and other tobacco withdrawal symptoms. Speak to your GP, community pharmacist or stop-smoking adviser for advice on the different treatments available.

Get extra support

Additional support is available to help you quit and stay smoke-free. This includes:

  • Daily email support
  • An online community on Facebook of others going through the same thing
  • The free National Smokefree Helpline 0300 123 1044

Search Better Health Quit Smoking for details on accessing the above support options.

Quitting tips

There are lots of helpful tips to help you succeed. These include listing your reasons to quit, using stop-smoking aids and avoiding your smoking triggers. Find out some more tips on the Better Health website. Make sure you throw away all of your cigarettes before you start. Remember there is never ‘just 1 cigarette’. You can do it! Search Better Health Quit Smoking or visit

Help Us, Help You – GP Team

NHS England is launching a new campaign to highlight the changes in the way we access help and receive care at general practices.

The first phase of the campaign aims to raise awareness of the different health professionals in general practice teams who are helping patients get the right care, more easily, the first time. The campaign also highlights the important role of the reception team in using the information patients provide to help identify which health professional or local service is best placed to help them, such as a community pharmacy.

Multicultural Activity

NHS England is working with multicultural professional health associations to build an understanding of the changes happening in general practice to multicultural audiences and is developing bespoke co-branded resources to help engagement.
The campaign focuses on three key audiences, including those from Black African and Caribbean, South Asian and Eastern European (Polish and Romanian) backgrounds. These audiences have been chosen as they are the largest ethnic minority populations in England, share similar attitudes towards the NHS and experience inequalities in accessing general practices.

Key Messages

  • The NHS is making changes to the way you access help and receive the care you need from your general practice to improve your experience.
  • General practice teams are made up of a range of health professionals who work at your general practice and in the wider community to help you get the right care when you need it.
  • In addition to GPs, general practice teams can include nurses, physiotherapists, clinical pharmacists, mental health practitioners, paramedics, social prescribers, and health and wellbeing coaches.
  • If you need to see a GP you will always be offered an appointment, but there may be other health professionals who can provide the most appropriate support.
  • Having a range of health professionals at your general practice means you can receive the most appropriate care for your condition as quickly as possible.
  • There are a number of ways to request care from your general practice including online using a form on your general practice’s website, by phone or in person. However you choose to contact them, your practice team will ensure you get the care you need.
  • Your general practice’s reception team is specially trained to use the information you provide to help identify which health professional or local service is best placed to help you, so it’s important to give them as much information as possible. Any information that you discuss with the reception team will remain confidential.
  • Your general practice team is here to help you. Visit to find out more.

Key Facts & Statistics

  • Over a third (36%) of people in England are not confident that they can identify the various health professionals working in a general practice.
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents said they were confident that they could identify the various health professionals working in general practice, but they didn’t know that mental health practitioners (66%), physiotherapists (71%), or social prescribers (89%) could be available at a general practice.
  • Nearly three quarters (72%) of people surveyed said they were confident that they know what a receptionist does at a general practice, but over a third (36%) were unaware that general practice reception teams are trained to assess the information provided by a patient to direct them to the right health professional in the general practice team or local service.
  • Less than half (49%) of people know that receptionists will keep all information provided by patients in confidence.
  • Over 2 in 3 people (70%) agree that they don’t always need to see a GP at their general practice and that other health professionals, like physiotherapists, nurses, or mental health practitioners, could help them with what they need.

Examples of GP Team:

Help Us, Help You Lung Cancer

Lung cancer GP referrals have been the slowest of all cancer types to recover since the start of the pandemic, so the aim of this lung cancer activity is to raise awareness of the key symptom of lung cancer – a cough that lasts for three weeks or more. The campaign is encouraging those who have this symptom to contact their GP practice, reminding the public that the NHS wants to see them.

When cancer is diagnosed early, treatment is more likely to be successful. However, there is a lack of awareness that a persistent cough on its own can be a sign of lung cancer, and a need to remind the audience to act on a persistent cough and not wait to see if it resolves.

The campaign targets men and women over the age of 60, as this age group are more at risk of lung cancer, particularly those from C2DE socio-economic groups as they are often more reluctant to visit their GP. This will also target friends and family members to ensure they are clear on the symptoms and can encourage loved ones to contact their GP practice if they have had a cough lasting three weeks or more.

  • If you’ve had a cough for three weeks or more, it could be a warning sign
  • A cough for three weeks or more could be a sign of cancer. Contact your GP practice
  • It’s probably nothing serious, but finding cancer early makes it more treatable
  • Your NHS wants to see you
  • If a friend or family member has been coughing for three weeks or more, encourage them to contact their GP practice
  • In addition to the symptom of a cough for three weeks or more, other symptoms of lung cancer include:
    • Chest infections that keep coming back
    • Coughing up blood
    • A long-standing cough that gets worse
    • An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
    • Persistent breathlessness
    • Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
    • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
  • Early diagnosis and treatment of cancer can save lives


  • Lung cancer GP referrals have been the slowest of all cancer types to recover since the start of the pandemic
  • Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in England with around 39,990 cases diagnosed each year. About 89% of those are aged 60 and over
  • Lung cancer is England’s biggest cause of cancer death. In 2021, around 26,400 people died from lung cancer in England
  • In 2019, lung cancer accounted for 12% of all cancer diagnoses in England and 20% of all cancer deaths
  • Five-year survival for persons diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer is 61% compared with just 4% for those diagnosed with late-stage (stage 4) lung cancer
  • Between 1995 and 2019, age-standardised incidence rates of lung cancer have increased from 50.8 per 100,000 to 67.1 per 100,000 for females. In males, age-standardised incidence rates of lung cancer have decreased from 126.6 per 100,000 to 84.9 per 100,000
  • Between 2001 and 2019, age-standardised mortality rates of lung cancer have remained relatively stable between 44.7 per 100,000 and 43.4 per 100,000 for females. In males, age-standardised mortality rates of lung cancer have decreased from 95.7 per 100,000 to 61.5 per 100,000


  • The incidence of lung cancer increases with age: 89% of cases are diagnosed in those aged 60 and older


  • In 2021, 35.5% of all cancers in England were diagnosed via an emergency presentation. Those diagnosed through emergency presentations are often at an advanced stage, resulting in poorer survival.


  • More than four in 10 cases of cancer could be prevented, primarily through lifestyle changes such as not smoking, keeping a healthy body weight, eating a healthy balanced diet and cutting down on alcohol

Cancer – Earlier Diagnosis

The campaign is designed to address the key barriers to people seeking help, the fear around cancer diagnosis and increase awareness of the importance of body vigilance when it comes to bodily changes that could be a sign of cancer. The NHS Long Term Plan committed to increasing the number of cancers detected at an early stage one or two from half to three quarters by 2028.

When cancer is diagnosed early, treatment is more likely to be successful. However, early in the pandemic, the number of people coming forward to their GP with potential cancer symptoms dropped. While we’re now seeing much higher levels of referrals and 540,000 people have started cancer treatment since March 2020, over 30,000 fewer people have come forward for treatment than we’d have expected.

The campaign will target men and women over the age of 50 and from C2DE socio-economic groups as these people are most likely to experience a cancer diagnosis including Black and South Asian audiences, who are already at risk of health inequalities. It will also target friends and family members to ensure they encourage loved ones to contact their GP practice if they are worried something could be cancer.

Primary Messaging

  • Don’t let the thought of cancer play on your mind, if something in your body doesn’t feel right contact your GP practice.
  • To rule out cancer, your GP may refer you for tests. Whatever the result, your NHS is here for you.
  • Most people who go for tests find out it’s not cancer. Finding out sooner is always better.

Secondary Messaging

  • Contact your GP practice if something in your body doesn’t feel right or you experience any of the symptoms below
  • Signs and symptoms vary, and some can be harder to notice, such as:
    • Breathlessness
    • Frequent infections
    • Unexplained night sweats
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Unexpected or unexplained bruising
    • For three weeks or more:
      • A cough or a change in an existing cough
      • Tummy trouble, such as discomfort or diarrhoea
      • Feeling tired and unwell and not sure why
      • Heartburn or indigestion
      • Unusual, pale or greasy poo
  • Other signs and symptoms include:
    • Unexplained pain or discomfort for three weeks or more
    • An unexplained lump anywhere on the body
    • Unexpected or unexplained bleeding (such as bleeding from your bottom, or blood when you cough or in your vomit)
    • Blood in your poo
    • Blood in your pee – even just once
  • For more information on cancer signs and symptoms go to
  • It’s probably nothing serious, but finding cancer early makes it more treatable and can save lives. If your GP suspects cancer, they’ll refer you for further tests

New survey data released reveals that while the majority of people knew catching cancer earlier makes it more treatable, over two-fifths (42%) said they would ignore symptoms, wait to see if anything changed, look for answers online or speak to family and friends before seeing their GP.

Key Facts and Statistics
New survey data of 2,000 respondents shows:

  • Over 70% of the public are afraid of being diagnosed with cancer, with cancer coming out as the top health condition people are most afraid of.
  • Almost two-thirds (63%) of the public cited dying as their biggest fear around cancer, with being a burden on family and friends (37%) and having chemotherapy or other treatments (36%) as their other biggest fears.
  • When having a serious bodily change or a feeling something was wrong, 42% of people would either look for answers online, speak to family and friends, completely ignore it or wait to see if anything changed, before speaking to their GP.
  • Over 20% of people said they wouldn’t go to the GP if they noticed a serious bodily change as they were hoping it would go away on its own, whilst almost a third (31%) said they either wouldn’t want to find out bad news or waste the NHS’s time.
  • Over a third (36%) of the public said finding out bad news was what they feared most about cancer tests, whilst another 32% cited the wait for the results as what they feared most.
  • Almost 80% agreed that catching cancer early makes it more treatable.
  • Whilst 50% of the public think being told they had cancer would be the most difficult part of going for tests for cancer.

Cancer fear & barriers to accessing a GP
In 2018, research revealed four key barriers were identified as impacting timely presentation in a cancer journey:

  • Lack of body vigilance: There was a general lack of body vigilance, the inability to recognise the change in the body. This is exacerbated by the fact that pre-existing or ambiguous health conditions can mask cancer symptoms, especially as they can be vague and there are some areas of limited symptom knowledge;
  • Perceptions of the NHS: The perceptions (and reality) of the NHS create a significant barrier to presentation. Before presenting, there is a perception that this is going to be a hard and slow process;
  • Opaque diagnosis journey: There is a lack of visibility of the diagnosis journey, in particular pre-diagnosis. The audience isn’t clear about what happens if they think they have cancer, and this is further complicated by limited communication during their diagnosis journey; and
  • Pervading fear: All of this is underpinned by fear. This is a nuanced and multi-faceted fear: fear of knowing, fear of the unknown, fear of death, fear of vulnerability, fear to voice concerns, fear of the impact on their family, fear of treatment and fear of diagnostic testing.

In 2021, research shows that these barriers still exist, but have been further compounded by the pandemic, and have evolved, adding new dimensions and complexity:

  • Bodies have changed generally: changes that could be related to cancer are obscured by other bodily changes brought about by changing lifestyles during COVID (for example, many have gained weight);
  • Access barriers have increased: heightened perception of NHS not having capacity drives a sense of lack of control and greater use of self-diagnoses / delaying presentation; and
  • Completely unknown journey: increased alienation from journey / expected journey due to unfamiliarity with connecting with doctors digitally in the COVID context drives fear of the unknown. Fear of being isolated: The sense of fear is further amplified with a fear of isolation in the pre-diagnosis and post-diagnosis journey – adding new depth to the fear barrier.

Better Health Childhood obesity

This post contains ten different activities to help you to support your family to make positive changes to your diet, with a particular focus on making healthier swaps. Activities are easy to run and require minimal preparation and no expert knowledge. They’re perfect for children between the ages of 4-11, with some activities aimed at children as young as 2. This is perfect for use in a range of settings with children and young families, such as children’s centres, libraries, leisure centres, breakfast and after-school clubs and other similar locations.

The importance of healthy eating

A healthy, balanced diet helps children achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and research shows children who stay a healthy weight end to be fitter, healthier, better able to learn, and more self-confident. They’re also much less likely to have health problems in later life.
Recent National Child Measurement Programme data shows that 14.4% of children aged 4-5 are now obese (rising from 9.9% in 2019/20) and 25.5% of children aged 10-11 are now obese (rising from 21.0% in 2019/20).

Whether you’re using this guide in a children’s centre, library, leisure centre or any other setting that works with children and young families, you can help make a difference. This information will support you in improving children’s health and well-being by encouraging children to explore what a balanced diet is, and what is in their food and help your family make simple, healthier eating swaps.
This introduces children to the NHS Food Scanner app (link at the bottom of this page), giving them an awareness of how to find healthier options, and why it is important to know what is in our food. The activities are flexible and can be delivered individually or combined to best suit your setting and the needs of the children and families you are working with.


Activities here are designed to be easy to use, require minimal preparation and can be used with children aged 4-11, with some activities aimed at children as young as 2. Each activity is clearly marked based on the suggested age group, and you will find suggestions for how to challenge children in certain activities.

Before running certain activities you may need to:

  • Read through the activity and familiarise yourself with it:
  • Download the NHS Food Scanner app (if needed for the activity), the link is at the bottom of this page.
  • Collect some suitable, clean, empty food and drink packaging, such as cereal boxes, tinned items, jars, and packaged snacks. When gathering the product packaging be mindful of severe food allergies and cultural, religious or moral beliefs which mean certain foods cannot be handled.
    Check that the food products you have are available on the app, as not all are included yet.
  • You could also show this to children and their families, as a way to kickstart the session.

Activity 1: The NHS Food Scanner app Ages 4-11

Demonstrate how the NHS Food Scanner app works for families and children by playing the NHS Food Scanner app demo video which you can find above or on youtube, the link is here. Use the pre-collected packaging to explore the features of the app and discover some healthier swaps!
Explain to children that there are surprising amounts of sugar, saturated fat and salt in everyday food and drinks we eat. Give children a selection of packaging and guide them to try out the features of the app on each piece of packaging. Ask them the following questions:

  • What happens when you scan the product barcode?
  • Can you see the amount of sugar, saturated fat or salt?
  • What happens when you press the ‘See it to believe it’ button?
  • Are there any products you can swap to?
  • Is the product a Good Choice? If so, what happens when you press ‘Let’s celebrate’?
  • What do you like best about the app?


Ask children why we need to be careful how much sugar, saturated fat and salt we eat.

Example answers:

  • Over time, having too much sugar, saturated fat and salt can make you ill and harm your health.
  • Too much salt can be bad for our hearts as we get older
  • Saturated fat can cause serious diseases when we’re grown up, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers
  • Even now when we’re young, too much sugar can lead to painful tooth decay

Activity 2: Read all about it! Ages 5-11

Challenge children to tell other people about the NHS Food Scanner app (links at the bottom).

You could:

  • create a poster about the NHS Food Scanner app
  • write a newspaper article to tell others about healthier eating and the NHS Food Scanner app.

It could include:

  • a sentence or introduction to explain the importance of healthier eating
  • a description of what the Food Scanner is and how it works
  • a sentence to tell people how it helps you make healthier eating choices
  • a picture
  • one thing you really like about the app.

Sentence starters

  • The NHS Food Scanner app is…
  • It has taught me about…
  • I can use it to…
  • It helps me…
  • One thing I like about it is…


Can you make this a piece of persuasive writing? Help your audience understand what a healthy, balanced diet is and persuade them to make healthier snacking choices. Try including:

  • facts and evidence to back up your argument
  • a strong introduction to grab the reader’s attention
  • linking words and phrases (e.g. firstly, secondly, yet, another point)
  • persuasive devices, like rhetorical questions.

Activity 3: Highest to lowest Ages 7-11

Bring food labels to life and try some fun number activities. Use the pre-collected packaging to see how much sugar, saturated fat and salt are in children’s favourite food and drinks.
Place the packaging in order from high to low, depending on whether you think it has:

  • more saturated fat
  • more sugar
  • more salt

Use the NHS Food Scanner app or look at the labels to check whether you are correct.

Note that if a product contains a healthier amount of sugar, salt and fat it is a Good Choice, and so the
NHS Food Scanner app won’t show you the amount of sugar, salt and fat in the product. You could look at the label if you want to find these values (be careful to compare the correct amounts, e.g. per 100g or per serving).

Write some number sentences to show what you found out. Try using these symbols <, > and =. For example, 1 salt sachet < 3 salt sachets.

Activity 4: The Eatwell Guide Ages 5-11

Educate children about balanced diets using the Eatwell Guide. You will need to print a copy of the Eatwell Guide on page 5 to support this activity. Explain to children that this is a picture of the types of food and how much of them we should all eat to make sure we have a healthy, balanced diet.
Draw or write a healthy, balanced meal. You could include a main course and a pudding too, and use pictures to help you. Show your healthy meal to someone else. Do they think it is healthy too? Is there anything you could do to make your meal healthier?

Try creating meals for a whole day; breakfast, lunch and dinner. Make sure you cover all food groups
across the day.

Activity 5: Be a healthier swaps influencer! Ages 7-11

Make a TV advert to tell people why it is important to eat a healthy, balanced diet, and to demonstrate the NHS Food Scanner app.
Use the following to help you:

  • Decide on your target audience, will it be younger children or parents and carers?
  • Write a storyboard to show what will be in your advert. You could also draw a cartoon strip.
  • Make sure you include an introduction to tell people what the app is for, and why it is
    important to make healthy swaps. Show how to use the app too.

Can you film your TV advert? Try acting it out, using props and costumes if you can!

Activity 6: Healthy eating characters Ages 4-11

Empower readers to use books, film or TV characters to spread the word about healthy eating and making healthier swaps with the NHS Food Scanner app. Design a healthy eating poster using a character from your favourite books, TV programmes or films.

  • How can children use a character from their favourite book, TV programme or film to spread a healthier eating message to others?
  • Help others to make healthier choices with their favourite characters, such as:
  • Discover the magic of healthier swaps with Tinkerbell!
  • Help Alice to drink less sugar!


Can you include some top tips for making healthier choices:

  • Eat less sugar by making smart swaps!
  • Try to eat at least 5 fruit and vegetables a day!
  • Try to eat as many different colours of fruit and veg as you can.

Activity 7: Storybooks with a food theme Ages 4-11

Storybooks with a food theme
You can use storybooks to introduce and discuss healthy eating themes or create a display.
You could do this alongside the children’s healthy eating posters.

Activity 8: Let’s go shopping! Ages 4-6

Let’s go shopping! Jayden is going shopping with his nan. He wants to buy food with less
sugar, saturated fat and salt. Can you help him choose the ones with less sugar, saturated fat and
salt? Have a look at the foods below.

  • Which has the most sugar/saturated fat/salt?
  • Which has the least?

Activity 9: 5 A Day song! Ages 2-6

5 A Day song! Sing to the melody of ‘I can sing a rainbow’.

Activity 10: 5 A Day fun! Ages 2-6

5 A Day fun!
We should eat at least 5 fruit or vegetables a day.
Can you count the fruit and vegetables below?
Have you tried any of these fruits and vegetables?
What are your favourite fruits and vegetables?

Useful links

Instagram: @betterhealthfamilies, Twitter: @BH_Families, fB: @betterhealthfamilies

Better Health Apps:

NHS Food Scanner app
Start finding healthier swaps today!

NHS Weight Loss Plan
A 12-week plan to help you lose weight.

Couch to 5K app
A running app for absolute beginners.

Active 10 app
Track and build up your daily walks!

Download the NHS Food Scanner app on the App StoreDownload the NHS Food Scanner app on Google Play

Download the NHS Weight Loss Plan on the App StoreDownload the NHS Weight Loss Plan on Google Play

Download the Couch to 5K app on the App StoreDownload the Couch to 5K app on Google Play

Download the Active 10 app on the App StoreDownload the Active 10 app on Google Play

Drink Free Days app
For the days you do not want to drink alcohol.

NHS Quit Smoking app
Daily support to help you quit smoking.

BMI calculator
Check your body mass index (BMI).

How Are You? quiz
Get tips on looking after your health.

Download the Drink Free Days app on the App StoreDownload the Drink Free Days app on Google Play

Download the NHS Quit Smoking app on the App StoreDownload the NHS Quit Smoking app on Google Play

Better Health – Anxiety

Every Mind Matters is a campaign and digital resource designed to empower people to look after their mental well-being and support that of others. It promotes mental well-being and addresses the four most commonly reported, subclinical mental health concerns: anxiety, low mood, stress, and trouble sleeping.

The programme offers a range of evidence-based self-care actions and free resources designed to help people take care of their own mental health and prevent common concerns from escalating into mental health disorders.

Available on the website is a free, NHS-approved Mind Plan. By answering five short questions people get a personalised mental health action plan, providing practical tips to help them deal with stress and anxiety, boost their mood, sleep better, and feel more in control. People can also join a 4-week email programme where they can get reminders, swap in new tips and are encouraged to make looking after their mental well-being part of their everyday routine. In addition, we have an 8-week email programme focused explicitly on easing your anxiety.

Make the first move for your mental health

No matter how much you do, physical activity can make a big difference to how you feel – boosting your mood and helping to reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress. Now is the perfect time to get active and make the first move for your mental health, see below our videos and free apps available.

The Active 10 records every minute of walking you do (anonymously). Get your phone in your pocket and away you go!

The app:

  • tracks your steps
  • helps you set goals
  • shows you your achievements
  • gives you tips to boost your activity

Did you know walking briskly, even for 1 minute, counts as exercise? What are you waiting for – take your first steps today!Download the Active 10 app on the App StoreGet the Active 10 app from Google Play

A running programme for beginners. Couch to 5K has helped more than 4 million people start running.

The app:

  • has a choice of 5 trainers to motivate you
  • works with your music player
  • tracks your runs
  • connects you with other Couch to 5K runners

Couch to 5K can be completed in as little as 9 weeks, or longer if you want to go at your own pace.

Download the Couch to 5K app on the App StoreGet the Couch to 5K app on Google Play

Self-help CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) techniques

You may have heard of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and wondered how it works, what it’s good for and whether it could help you.
In this section, you can find out about CBT, watch our short video guides and try online self-help techniques. These can help you deal with worries and unhelpful thoughts, work through problems in new ways, build resilience and boost your mental well-being.
This is not a full CBT course but rather some practical self-help tips and strategies based on CBT techniques.

Learn about CBT, watch video guides and try techniques to deal with worries, solve problems and boost your mental well-being:

Reframing unhelpful thoughts – It’s natural to feel worried every now and again, but our anxious thoughts can sometimes be unhelpful.

It can be beneficial to step back, examine the evidence for your thoughts and explore other ways of looking at the situation.

In time, this can really make a difference to our mental health and wellbeing.

Tackling your worries – Worrying is part of life. We cannot eliminate it completely or control everything, but if your worries feel overwhelming there are lots of things you can try to manage or overcome them, including the “worry time” technique.

Find out about worry time, as well as plenty more practical tips and strategies you can try to help you tackle your worries.

Problem-solving – Worrying is a natural response to life’s problems. But when it takes over and we can start to feel overwhelmed, it can really help to take a step back and break things down.

Learning new ways to work through your problems can make them feel more manageable, and improve your mental and physical wellbeing.

Bouncing back from life’s challenges – It might seem like the most important time to take care of your mental well-being is when you are not feeling your best.

But it’s actually a great idea to take steps to look after your mental health every day, regardless of how you may currently be feeling or what’s happening in your life.

Self-help CBT techniques – Learn about CBT, watch video guides and try techniques to deal with worries, solve problems and boost your mental well-being.

Top Tips for easing anxiety

Useful links:

Mind Plan:
Self-help CBT techniques:
Anxiety easing email programme:

Carers break sitting service

Could you give a family carer a short break?

Carers Support Centre is looking for volunteers who can spend a few hours a week providing company to someone who is cared for at home, giving their family carer the chance to take a break.

Interested? Please contact Marilyn Crump, Volunteer Coordinator: 07840 818 316 or [email protected]

Carers Support Centre | Charity Number 1063226 | Company Ltd by Guarantee Number 3377199 Registered address: The Vassall Centre, Gill Ave, Bristol BS16 2QQ

Blood pressure checks

Are you due for a blood pressure check? High blood pressure (hypertension) often has no symptoms but can cause damage to your body. If you have certain medical conditions, take medication, or have had high blood pressure in the past, it is essential to have regular checks.

We are running a blood pressure drop-in from the 13th of March for the whole week at The Surgery.

This is a self-service check (no appointment needed) in the booth located at the back of the waiting room and it is for all of our patients. We hope to see you there.

For more information about high blood pressure (hypertension) on the NHS website please follow the link here and see the below video.

NHS Act F.A.S.T.

On 13 February 2023, NHS England, in association with the Stroke Association, relaunched the Act F.A.S.T. stroke campaign, which highlights that a stroke is a medical emergency and urges the public to call 999 immediately if they notice any single one of the signs of a stroke in themselves or others.

The aim of the campaign is to reduce the amount of time between someone having a stroke and arriving at the hospital (and therefore receiving appropriate care including thrombolysis or thrombectomy, if appropriate) by:

  • Increasing knowledge of the signs of a stroke
  • Increasing knowledge of stroke as a medical emergency; and
  • Increasing intention to act quickly on the signs of a stroke by calling 999

The campaign has run for more than ten years and the F.A.S.T. acronym (Face, Arms, Speech, Time) is effective in driving calls to 999 for stroke, saving lives and reducing disability. It also provides a simple test to help people identify the most common signs of a stroke.

Think and Act F.A.S.T. if you see any single one of these signs of a stroke,
a stroke is a medical emergency:

  • Face – has their face fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms – can they raise both arms and keep them there?
  • Speech – is their speech slurred?
  • Time – even if you’re not sure, call 999.

When Stroke Strikes Act F.A.S.T. Call 999

Some other signs that may be due to a stroke or mini-stroke include:

  • Sudden loss of vision or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of your body (including in your leg)
  • Sudden memory loss or confusion
  • Sudden dizziness, unsteadiness or a sudden fall, especially with any of the other signs
  • Call 999 immediately if you notice any single one of the signs of a stroke.

FOR MORE INFORMATION please visit for more information.


  • Stroke is the fourth single leading cause of death in the UK and the single largest cause of complex disability.
  • The estimated aggregate societal cost of stroke is £26 billion per year,
  • including £8.6 billion for NHS and social care.
  • Around 100,000 people have strokes each year in the UK. This is around one stroke every five minutes.
  • Stroke also disproportionately affects some groups, with black people being twice as likely to have a stroke than white people. On average, people of Black African, Black Caribbean and South Asian descent in the UK have strokes when they are younger.
  • Prompt recognition of symptoms ensures that people having a stroke can get emergency treatment earlier giving them the best chance of survival and recovery.

It is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention as every minute is vital. That is why calling 999 is so crucial. Early recognition of symptoms can give stroke patients those extra precious minutes, enabling faster access to specialist treatment and increasing the chances of a recovery which could reduce the long-term effects, such as disability.

High blood pressure, diabetes and sickle cell are significant risk factors that can contribute to increasing the likelihood of having a stroke, and there is a high prevalence of these diseases in Black and South Asian communities. In addition to this, there are often cultural, religious and language barriers preventing these groups from seeking medical advice early.


Disabled people, particularly those with a visual, hearing or learning disability, make up a proportion of the target audience of the Act FAST campaign.

  • Stroke is the fourth single leading cause of death in the UK and the single largest cause of complex disability costing the NHS £2.8 billion (and the wider economy over £9 billion) each year.
  • There are more than 100,000 incidences of stroke each year in the UK. This is around one stroke every five minutes.
  • The latest data show a 12% drop in hospital attendance for stroke during the lockdown period of the pandemic, between March – April 2020
  • Stroke is an inequalities issue with black people being twice as likely to have a stroke than white people. On average, people of Black African, Black Caribbean and South Asian descent in the UK have strokes when they are younger. With COVID-19 disproportionately affecting these groups, there’s an even greater need to ensure that they aren’t being affected by other conditions. The campaign will include specific activity targeted at ethnic minority communities.
  • PHE data suggests that there were 1,413 excess deaths from Stroke between 21 March 2020 and 22 January 2021, 7% higher than expected. 
  • With the current national restrictions in place, there’s an even greater need to run this campaign activity to remind people of the symptoms, and to take urgent action.

Cervical Screening (Smear Test)

Cervical Screening (Smear Test) is really important to keep up to date with! If you are due for your smear test please contact The Surgery to book your appointment. Below there is a video from Jo’s Trust which explains what happens at your appointment, there is more information about the Smear test here.