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Health and hygiene

Finding the right NHS service for you

When you use the right NHS service, you get the right treatment sooner. Keeping this list to hand, particularly when times are tough - can get you where you need to be, faster, and ease stress. 

Get to know where to go here: 3 steps to keep healthy this winter | Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership (external website)

Download your 'Get to know where to go' booklet (PDF, 910KB)

If you’re not sure what to do or where to go visit or call 111. It’s available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Free prescriptions

Who is entitled?

If you live with a long-term condition, you may be able to save money on your prescriptions. A Prescription Prepayment Certificate will save you money if you pay for more than three items in three months, or 11 items in 12 months. If you are on a low income, you could be entitled to help with NHS costs or free prescriptions depending on your circumstances. Check if you’re eligible for help using the online eligibility checker. It only takes a few minutes.

Visit the NHS website to see if you’re entitled to free prescriptions.

  • Are an NHS inpatient.
  • Are under 16, aged 16-18 and in full time education or aged 60 and over. Show proof of age or education enrolment as proof.
  • Are on income support, income based jobseekers allowance or income related employment and support allowance (if you’re getting one of these benefits, your partners and any dependent young people under 20 are also entitled to free NHS prescriptions). Use your award notice as proof.
  • Have an annual family income of £15,276 or less and receive child tax credit and working tax credit, or working tax credit including a disability element. You will automatically receive a tax credit exemption certificate.
  • Are pregnant or up to 12 months after giving birth, with a valid maternity exemption certificate.
  • Have a medical condition with a valid medial exemption certificate.
  • Are on a low income (including students and pensioners) with a valid HC2 certificate.
  • Receive War or Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and hold a valid exemption certificate due to disability.

Don’t run the risk

Some of the above require a certificate of proof which you’ll need to arrange. Check what proof you need to provide on the NHS website.

It’s your own responsibility to check that you’re entitled and what certificates you need before claiming free prescriptions. Doing so incorrectly could carry a penalty charge of up to £100.

If you’re not currently entitled to free prescriptions

You could still save money with a prescription prepayment certificate. Or, if you have a low income you may qualify for help through the NHS Low Income Scheme. Find out more about the scheme on the NHS website.

Hygiene and personal care

Keeping yourself or someone you care for clean and well may be more challenging with increases in the cost of living. See below for available support across Greater Manchester. 

Help with water

If you use a lot of water, either for medical reasons or because you have a household with three or more school-age children - you could be entitled to help with your water bills. 

To find out which water company supplies your area, visit the Consumer Council for Water's website.

To check if your water company has a hardship scheme visit the Consumer Council for Water website.                       

Struggling with hygiene

If you’re finding it difficult to cope with washing or general hygiene, for yourself or someone you care for contact your local authority, a local carers’ organisation or call the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053. 

Laundry services

For people who have incontinence, bowel or bladder problems and find it difficult to manage laundry – your local authority may provide a laundry service to help. Visit the NHS website to find your adult care provider and get in touch with them about support on offer.

Dental health

NHS dental care and hygiene

If you need help accessing affordable dentistry, visit the NHS website to search for your nearest NHS dental practice and get in touch with them.

There are a number of reasons why you may be entitled to free dental treatment, including being pregnant (or had a child in the last 12 months), under 18, under 19 and in full-time education, receiving low income benefits, or if you're under 20 and a dependent of someone receiving low income benefits. Visit the NHS website to find out more about free dental treatment. 

Urgent dental care

If you need help with an urgent dental problem, call the Urgent Dental Care Service on 0333 332 3800, available from 8am to 10pm every day, including weekends and bank holidays. This is an appointment only service for critical needs and will carry a fixed patient charge of £23.80. 

Community dental services

Community dental services are available to ensure everyone can have access to dental health. There may be a number of reasons this is needed, such as if people have disabilities, vulnerable children, mobility and accessibility needs. 

To find out more about the community dental care available in your area, contact NHS England on 0300 311 2233 or visit:

Stopping smoking  

Stopping smoking is not only one of the best things you can do for your health, but it can also save you money (on average £2,000 a year). Across Greater Manchester there’s lots of free, personalised support to help you become smokefree. 

Smoke Free app

Greater Manchester residents can get six months' free access to all the premium features of the top-rated Smoke Free app (worth £60) when you sign up using a GM postcode.
Use the app to track triggers and cravings, monitor health improvements, speak to a stop smoking advisor, and see how much you save when you quit. Visit the Make Smoking History website to access the app.

Your local stop smoking service 

Access expert advice and personalised quit plans, one-to-one or group support, and nicotine replacement (also available from shops and pharmacies). Find your nearest stop smoking service
You can also speak to your GP, Pharmacist, or call the NHS Stop Smoking Helpline free on 0300 123 1044. If you are pregnant you can get specialist support, just ask your midwife for help to quit.