As the cold weather is starting to grip the Fylde coast, health services have already been working to help make sure patients are cared for.
People are at increased risk of slipping and falling on the ice or wet leaves. There is also the threat of Flu and Norovirus which spreads rapidly.
At this time of year heart and lung conditions can be made worse due to the cold.
As with previous years Blackpool Victoria hospital has already seen an increase of 34 per cent in September and October this year of people going to hospital with breathing difficulties brought on by the cold compared to June and July when it was warmer.
On the Fylde Coast the army of health care professionals are working above and beyond to make sure patients get the best possible care and are encouraged to see the right person for their condition. Behind the scenes services are taking innovative approaches to avoid hospital admissions and to reduce the amount of time patients stay in hospital.
Teams have been out providing flu vaccinations in schools to make sure all school pupils are protected against flu. Care home residents have also received their flu jabs and GP practices have been holding flu clinics to provide as many opportunities for patients to be vaccinated.
More doctors and nurses are working at the urgent treatment centres and capacity has been added to the evening and weekend appointment services so more appointments are available to book for people needing to see a GP or practice nurse. These appointments can be booked through your GP practice or by calling 01253 952950.
The Psynergy vehicle provides help to 999 callers with mental health conditions so they receive the most appropriate support without the need to go to the Emergency Department. The vehicle is manned by police officers, mental health services and ambulance workers.
The hospital has ramped up its home first initiative which allows medically stable patients to go home for assessment and get social care support. The Red Cross take the patient home and they are met at the door of their house by a member of a hospital team who checks to make sure they are able to cope with every day activities such as cooking, cleaning and going up and down stairs. This means the person is able to stay at home which is a much better place to be than in hospital.
Berenice Groves, Interim Director of Operations at Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “Staff are continuing to work above and beyond. They were recognised in our CQC inspection for the level of care and commitment they make and this is really shining through now.
“Across the whole health system all partners including the Hospital Trust, ambulance service, primary care and social care have been planning since April to come up with innovative projects that will help avoid unnecessary hospital admissions and reduce length of hospital stays.
“As with every year the demand for health services is likely to increase but as always we are doing all we can to deliver high levels of quality care.
“We do need to ask people to help us by using the right services including local pharmacies, looking after themselves and being patient with the staff that are trying to help. If you are not sure what to do please call NHS 111.”
For more information and tips on staying well this winter visit www.fyldecoastccgs.nhs.uk/winter.