Welcome to the February issue of The Triangle

While winter is still upon us, it’s encouraging to see the first early signs of spring emerge and the promise of longer days and warmer weather around the corner.

As a health and care system in BSW, we are still very much focused on winter and the pressures it places on our services. Our hospitals and GP surgeries are still very busy and we face challenges across other areas such as social care and ambulance delays.

However, as we reflect on the past few weeks, it is clear that working together with our partners as a single, unified health and care system has put us in a strong position to face the remainder of the winter.

Partners have come forward to offer support and help to jointly address problems as soon as they arise. We’ve seen this in the considerable increase in numbers of patients being treated in our virtual wards from the comfort of their own homes, adding capacity to our system and freeing up beds in our hospitals for those who need treatment in an acute setting. This successful approach saw over 120 patients treated in Virtual Ward beds in their own homes during December.

We’ve also seen significant support from hard-working pharmacists helping to relieve pressure on our primary care services by offering advice and treatment for a range of minor health issues. Their crucial role at the heart of our communities will be further enhanced through the newly announced Pharmacy First scheme. This will enable them to prescribe medicines for a range of conditions from impetigo to urinary tract infections, making it easier for people to get the help they need and free up thousands of GP appointments.

Our colleagues working in the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector also continue to play an essential role in providing services in a number of areas. These include mental health, frailty and supporting our older citizens, for example, through GWH’s initiative to encourage more physical activity among care home residents in Swindon through organised exercise classes.

All of these initiatives have helped to bolster our position this winter, making us more agile and responsive at a time of unprecedented challenge, and we are grateful to all of our system partners for their continued hard work and dedication.

You can read more about these initiatives in this issue of The Triangle, as well as other reports on how our hospitals are working together, how we are boosting colleague numbers through an innovative oversees recruitment programme and how partners are working together to help boost activity levels for care home residents across the local area.

Thank you once again for taking the time to read this issue of The Triangle, if you have any news of your own to share, or any suggestions for content we can cover in future issues, please do get in touch with us at bswicb.partnership@nhs.net