Sutton and Cheam MP Paul Scully has pledged to help the NHS reach out to people in need by helping them stay well this winter by becoming a “winter champion”.

Alongside borough councillors Elliot Colburn, Jed Dwight and Lily Bande, all four have committed to the promise as winter pressures bite the health service once again.

“Winter champions” is an NHS-led campaign which encourages people to seek the most appropriate support for their health and care needs this season.

That can range from advice from their pharmacist for “minor” ailments, or calling trained clinicians and staff on NHS 111 for immediate help.

But it can also mean making a GP appointment during extended hours – which run from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Mr Scully said: “I’m pleased to take part in the NHS’ winter champions campaign to become a winter champion for Sutton. We all appreciate the hard work and dedication of our NHS staff, especially at winter.

“That is why I’m pledging to do all I can to help the NHS keep residents in Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park stay well this winter by getting the right help with their health.

“By going to a pharmacist, taking advantage of the 8am-8pm GP opening hours and calling NHS 111, you will be helping the NHS by staying out of A&E unnecessarily.

“This means you will be getting the right support for you quicker.”

Sutton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) chair Dr Jeffrey Croucher said he was “delighted” Mr Scully has become a “winter champion” for Sutton.

He added: “By becoming a winter champion, Paul will be helping the NHS to help our patients this winter by encouraging people to seek the most appropriate advice for their health needs.

“If patients take advantage of seeking advice from their highly trained local pharmacist for their minor health needs, get an evening or weekend appointment with the GP rather than wait for Monday morning, or call NHS 111 to speak to our trained staff, their needs can be dealt with much quicker rather than having to go to A&E.”