Local Health Services Coping But Demand Expected to Rise

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) says the health system coped well over the Christmas and New Year period, with fewer people attending Bedford Hospital’s A&E department and the number of admissions, was down from previous years.

“We were well prepared for an extremely busy festive season but it appears people are heeding our message about using health services responsibly,” says Sally Adams, BCCG Chief Operating Officer.

The New Year has bought with it colder weather and lots of colds and bugs are beginning to spread, with health services starting to see an increasing number of patients. With the worst of the winter weather still to come, demand is expected to increase further and the public is being reminded they should first consult their local pharmacist or call NHS111 for non-urgent health problems.

Pharmacists are highly experienced healthcare professionals who can advise on the treatment options for a wide range of minor health conditions and can often help you avoid having to visit your GP.

If you are feeling unwell you can also speak to trained NHS staff by calling NHS111. This free service is available 24/7 and provides excellent advice for your healthcare needs. Depending on your need, the NHS 111 team can connect you to a nurse, emergency dentist or even a GP, and can arrange face-to-face appointments if they think you need one, at the Urgent Treatment Centre or in the Out of Hours service.

Alternatively, if you have a minor illness or injury you can see a nurse or doctor without an appointment at the local NHS walk-in centre in Putnoe, Bedford. This service is available seven days a week from 8.00am to 2.00pm Monday to Friday and 8.00am to 5.00pm at weekends. T: 01234 319992.

At the Luton  and  Dunstable Hospital this  Winter,  the  hospital was granted  an  additional  £1,116,000  funding  to  help cope  with Winter  pressures. The  focus  there has been on  securing  the  right  numbers  of   doctors  and nurses,  increasing  bed availability,  and  making sure  there  is strong  social  care  and  community  care  support  available  to help  discharge  patients  from  hospital  quickly.

Click on the link https://www.bedfordshireccg.nhs.uk/webinarforparents to register your place

Parents should ensure they have a well-stocked medicine cabinet during the winter months to help their children recover from minor illnesses. Many minor childhood illnesses can be treated at home, avoiding unnecessary trips to GP surgeries or to A&E, says Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG).

Most essential items for home care cost less than £5 but will aid a quick return to health. Your local pharmacist can provide expert advice on the items you need and check they are safe to use with any medication your children may already be taking.

Every home should have the following:

· Pain relief medicine – very useful for treating headache, tummy ache, earache, and cold symptoms. The best treatment for colds and flu at any age is rest and plenty of fluid.

· Antiseptic – for cleaning cuts and grazes.

· Bandages – most cuts and grazes can be treated at home. After cleaning the wound apply the dressing. Bandages can also be used to apply direct pressure to larger cuts before being treated in hospital and can support sprained wrists.

· Waterproof plasters – for minor cuts and grazes.

· A digital thermometer – these produce very accurate temperature readings.