Let's all play our part in supporting the NHS this winter
Health and care services across Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership, which includes hospitals, GP practices, the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, local authorities, mental health, community services and social care providers are asking for your support as we begin to head into what is likely to be the busiest and most challenging winter our colleagues on the front line of care have faced.
Our health and social care services are seeing unprecedented increases in the number of people needing help. This means most of our services are dealing with a huge increase in the numbers of people accessing care, whilst, in many cases, operating with significant staff shortages.
Lack of immediate access or waiting lists, whether in primary care, community services or at an acute trust, can frustrate the public and unfortunately many of our colleagues have borne the brunt of that frustration. We are asking the public to treat our colleagues with respect and have underlined the message that physical and verbal threats or abuse are not acceptable and will not be tolerated. To support NHS staff, we have established an online resource offering a range of help at https://www.hcvresiliencehub.nhs.uk/.
In today's modern GP practice, with a range of different healthcare professionals now available, patients who contact their surgery may be asked by the reception team for more details of their health complaint or condition. This extra information means the receptionist (or care navigator) can guide the patient to the right advice or fix up an appointment with the health professional that is most appropriate to meet their clinical needs. They are highly skilled at handling personal, sensitive and confidential patient data and information and are a vital component of a modern GP practice's workforce.
As we move into the winter months, I would like to urge you to do everything you can to take care of yourself. We have both COVID-19 and flu circulating now, so it is important to get the right jabs to protect you, your family, and the people you meet.
The flu vaccine is available now. It is safe, effective and protects millions of people each year. If you are eligible, you can make an appointment through your GP or pharmacy – whichever is more convenient. You can find out more about the flu jab here.
The Covid-19 vaccine will also help to keep you safe. Thousands of people have already taken up the offer of a free jab. It’s not too late to get your first jab – or even your second or booster jab. Click here to book your slot.
Here are some simple steps we can all take and help our NHS overcome a winter like no other.
1. Health and care services are there to help. Save time by booking appointments and seeking medical advice online via the NHS App or by contacting your GP using the online form available on each practice website. There is a Health A-Z at www.nhs.uk/conditions/ with useful information and advice on common conditions. You can also visit your local council website to find out more about how you can receive the early help or care you need.
2. 'Talk before you walk' by going online to www.111.nhs.uk or calling NHS 111 if you do not have internet access before attending your local A&E.
3. Health needs that are not a life-threatening emergency but are urgent include severe pain, suspected broken limbs and stomach pains. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, the friendly teams at NHS 111 will be able to help. If someone has a life-threatening illness or injury, then 999 should always be used.
4. Jabs and testing are our way out of the pandemic. Life-saving vaccines and regular testing are the best way to protect everyone from COVID-19. Please ensure you have your second dose and have your flu jab if offered.
5. Get a COVID-19 test if you have symptoms and please don’t visit a healthcare setting (GP practices, pharmacies, hospital) if you have symptoms.
6. If you are concerned about your or someone else’s mental health you can get help here. If you are worried about a vulnerable child or adult, you should contact your local council.
7. Continue to be kind to our staff and each other. This includes helping us by socially distancing where possible and wearing a face mask in healthcare settings.
We want to thank our colleagues and volunteers who continue to work hard during the busiest time on record and to everyone living across our region for your patience and kindness.
Stephen Eames CBE