Play your part in helping our local NHS

The NHS is working with its partners across the region to support frontline staff in caring for patients following a pressurised start to the new year.
woman in hospital corridor

A sustained increase in seriously ill coronavirus patients, set against a backdrop of Covid-related staff absences, reduced clinical space due to social distancing regulations and a need to continue providing safe urgent and emergency care, has led to all parts of the health and care system facing significant pressure.

In response, health and care leaders have brought into action emergency response protocols, which include enlisting a heightened level of on-the-ground support from local public sector colleagues and those working in charity and voluntary organisations.

These support measures come after health and care leaders made the difficult decision to postpone pre-planned and routine operations, with the exception of surgery for cancer and other urgent conditions, in an attempt to allow staff to focus efforts on those people most in need, and also to expand services for Covid patients, such as intensive care facilities.

Elsewhere, minor injuries units in Paulton and Trowbridge have been temporarily closed to allow for staff to be redeployed to other health and care settings that are in need of extra support.

Dr Andrew Girdher, Clinical Chair, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clincal Commissioning Group, said:

“Local partners have answered our request for support and, thanks to them and the selfless efforts of our own NHS staff, we are still able to provide round-the-clock care for coronavirus patients, and those needing treatment for cancer and other life-threatening conditions.

“However, to help us continue doing this, we’re appealing for everyone to get behind us and play their part, whether it’s being there to take relatives home from hospital in a timely manner, using NHS 111 for non-life-threatening emergencies instead of going straight to hospital, or just following the latest social distancing guidelines.

“Now is also the time for people to think twice about how their own actions, such as exercising outdoors in icy weather or carrying out DIY without the correct safety equipment, could inadvertently put avoidable pressure on the NHS. Even when you are fit and healthy, you can still play your part.”

The NHS is still open

Although very busy, the NHS is still open, and it remains vitally important that any person with an existing healthcare appointment with a GP or at hospital, attends that appointment unless told otherwise.

Missing these appointments not only compromises an individual’s health and wellbeing, it can lead to a clinician’s valuable time being wasted when it could be used to care for another patient.

NHS 111, which is available online or by telephone, remains open 24/7 to provide people in need of medical assistance with advice, support and, where appropriate, a route into the most appropriate healthcare service.

Additionally, help and support, including advice on medication and minor illnesses, can also be obtained from local pharmacies.

Health and social care teams are also focused on supporting swift and safe discharges of patients who no longer need to be in hospital. This plays a critical role in ensuring beds are available for emergency patients, whether as a result of Covid or other conditions.

Families and relatives can help by ensuring their relatives are supported at discharge.

How the NHS 111 service works

What you can do to help

  • Follow the Government's guidance - stay home, keep to the social distancing rules and wash your hands regularly. 
  • Protect yourself by getting a flu jab, and a Covid vaccine when it's offered to you - and find ways you can stay fit and healthy during the winter months.
  • Send a message to your loved one in hospital rather than try to visit them - visit your local hospital's website to find out how you can do this.
  • Be there to collect your loved one from hospital in a timely manner.
  • Think twice before you exercise outdoors in icy conditions, or do DIY without the right safety equipment - an accident could inadvertently put pressure on the NHS if you need to go to hospital.
  • Be ready to attend your GP or hospital appointment, unless you are told otherwise. 
  • Use the NHS 111 service if you need medical help - but call 999 if it is a life-threatening emergency. 

Coronavirus: advice and information

Share your views on changes to services

Since March 2020, NHS and social care services have had to change the way they work to meet coronavirus safety guidelines, while voluntary and community groups have stepped up their support to help local people through the pandemic.

We want to understand how these changes have been working for you, what's been good and what could be better. 

Take the survey

Do health and social care services know what you really think?

Share your ideas and experiences and help services hear what works, what doesn’t, and what you want from care in the future. 

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