Supporting services this winter

With colder weather just around the corner and local services already under pressure, people living in BSW are being asked to support the health and care system this winter by using our services appropriately at the right time and helping our emergency services be there for the people who really need them.

Health leaders have appealed to local people to think about alternative ways to get medical help over the coming months rather than going straight to hospital or phoning their GP.

This might be seeking support from the NHS 111 service, going to see a local community pharmacist or simply practicing effective self care at home.

You should only go to A&E in the case of genuine emergency, such as loss of consciousness, fits that are not stopping, persistent, severe chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding that cannot be stopped, severe allergic reactions and severe burns or scalds.

A well-stocked medicine cabinet, containing staple items such as painkillers, ibuprofen, anti-diarrhoea tablets and a digital thermometer, means families can begin care and treatment at the first sign of illness. 

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also contribute to overall self-care, as regular exercise and a healthy diet has been proved beneficial for both physical and mental wellbeing.

Local pharmacies can provide quick help and support for a wide range of issues, with most sites having private treatment rooms in which trained staff can carry out consultations before prescribing treatment or, where appropriate, arranging an appointment with another healthcare service.

Another way in which people can support the system at this busy time is by helping loved-ones who are well enough to leave hospital to continue their recovery at home.

Often, people who are well enough to leave hospital and continue their recovery at home are unable to do so due to not having the support needed to carry out essential everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning and shopping for groceries.

Family and friends who can lend a hand with these small jobs, or even just provide a person with a lift home from hospital, will be helping their loved-ones get home sooner, while also freeing up valuable bed space for new patients.

The Triangle will be looking in more detail at how BSW Together is working to help alleviate pressures on health and care services during winter over the next few months.