At a recent meeting in public of the Governing Body for the NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), residents and doctors found out about local preparations health services have in place for winter.
Attendees were reassured that health services are prepared for an increase in demand during the colder months.
The CCG is working with neighbouring health services throughout North East Hampshire (Fleet, Farnborough, Aldershot and Yately), Farnham, Camberley, Bracknell and Ascot (also known as the Frimley System) to prepare for winter.
The plan for winter has been developed by the Frimley System Urgent Care Board which is made up of health professional – such as GPs, nurses, hospital consultants and social workers.
Demand on health services (such as A&E and community hospitals) were reviewed daily and decisions are made to quickly deal with pressures on services. A number of initiatives already in place include:
additional social workers and occupational therapists in emergency departments;
Frimley Outreach Rehabilitation Team - this a team which provides assessment and treatment for patients within their own home; and
targeted campaigns – such as Keep Calm and Choose Well which advises the public of which health service is right for their illness or injury.
Dr Peter Bibawy, acting chair of the CCG, said: "I feel confident that the plans we have developed put us in a good place to manage the expected increases in demand for services over the winter period. We have been working together to work out how we can share resources effectively. We appreciate that getting into urgent care, at times, can be difficult to navigate for patients and their families and we are working on practical steps to simplify this. I would also ask that to help keep our urgent care services running smoothly that you consider where possible self-management be the option of choice."
Some alternatives for less serious health problems are:
Self-care is the right option for problems such as hangovers, minor coughs, colds and mild stomach upsets. Keep a self-care kit at home so you have the means to ease your symptoms straight away. For more information about self-care, visit www.nhs.uk/Planners/Yourhealth/Pages/Whatisselfcare.aspx
Pharmacies do more than just dispense prescriptions – pharmacists can provide advice on a range of ailments, potentially saving people a visit to their GP.
NHS111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for anyone who needs medical help fast but it is not an emergency. Trained call advisors, supported by doctors, nurses and paramedics, assess symptoms and put patients in touch with the services which can help – such as out-of-hours GPs or an emergency dentist – and can also send an ambulance without delay if necessary.
GPs and their practice teams provide medical advice on a wide range of symptoms and illnesses, and can refer patients to specialist services.