Health and care leaders in BSW have urged the public to help protect services for those most in need by making the right choices over the coming weeks when it comes to healthcare.
As Covid levels across BSW continue to rise, frontline staff are required to self-isolate and hospitals, GP surgeries, social care, mental health and ambulance services come under renewed pressure, the BSW Partnership has issued a plea for people to do all they can to support services during this difficult time.
The Partnership is also asking people to continue to wear face coverings in indoor spaces such as in shops and on public transport, to maintain social distancing and to get their free Covid vaccination if they have not already done so.
Local hospitals are all experiencing high demand for services and have been asking people to visit the NHS 111 website at 111.nhs.uk in the first instance, for self-care advice and guidance..
Patients of GP surgeries are also being asked to be patient as they wait for suitable appointment slots over the coming weeks.
Demand for appointments in local surgeries has risen significantly over the past twelve months and, although no one should be put off contacting their surgery when they have a genuine concern, some may have to wait as appointments are prioritised for the most in need.
The South West Ambulance Service Trust (SWASFT) experienced the busiest week in its history recently and is urging people to use its service sensibly.
During what is expected to be a very busy school summer holiday period in the South West, SWASFT says it must continue to prioritise speaking to and treating the most seriously injured and unwell patients.
Those needing support for minor illness and injury are encouraged to make use of the vast number of community pharmacies spread out across the region, with the in-house pharmacists able to provide consultations and recommend effective treatments.
Tracey Cox, Senior Responsible Officer for the BSW Partnership said the health and care system in the local area was once again facing unprecedented pressures.
“Every part of our health and care system – from hospitals to GP surgeries to ambulance services to mental health services – is busy and struggling to keep up with demand and we need the public to help us ease these mounting pressures.
“Wherever possible we are asking that people think about the demand they will be putting on our services before they make a decision to use them. We ask them to consider using NHS 111 online or over the phone or look to a community pharmacist for advice and help.”