As the leaves start to fall and the nights draw in we know that winter is upon us. The colder weather always brings increased pressure on the NHS, with services stretched and staff working harder than ever to manage the influx of patients.
This winter we are asking you to Help Us Help You. The more you can do to prepare for winter and take care of yourself when it does turn cold, the less likely it is that you will end up in A&E or in hospital. Right now, the single best thing you can do to protect yourself and others this winter is to get a flu vaccination.
You can have your flu jab at your GP surgery or local pharmacy and for those who are most at risk of suffering serious consequences if they catch the flu, the vaccination is free – it is free because you need it.
In line with the national GP Access directive, we have increased the availability of GP appointments at evenings and weekends across Wiltshire, to ensure that everyone has access to a GP or a health professional when they need it. This is being managed by the Wiltshire GP Alliance and you can read more about both of these initiatives in this newsletter.
Across the NHS in Wiltshire, we are working hard and working together to deliver health services as best we can over the winter months. We’ve produced this handy clock infographic to show you, your family and friends what services are available in Wiltshire. If you use the right services at the right time, it will make it easier for us to help you when you really need it.
With Christmas just around the corner I would like to thank all our staff for their hard work and dedication over the year – I hope you find some time to relax and enjoy a well-earned break.
Wishing you a happy and healthy festive season!
Linda Prosser, Interim Chief Officer
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Improved access to GPs
From 1 October 2018 people registered with a Wiltshire practice can book routine appointments to see a GP, practice nurse or other health professional in the evenings from 6.30pm to 8pm, and at weekends and Bank Holidays.
Across the population of Wiltshire there is an additional 235 hours per week of clinical time in this move to improve access to health services.
To use the service you just need to call your GP Practice. You won’t always be able to see your registered GP and may need to go to a different local practice in your area to take up the after-hours and weekend appointments.
Read our news article about improved access to GPs to find out more.
GPs working together
The Wiltshire GP Alliance (WGPA) was established in April 2018 and is a not-for-profit group made up of almost all the GPs across Wiltshire. It aims to help practices work better together to improve GP resilience, and stimulate and share improvements – for instance with availability of GP appointments – across the county.
WGPA are managing the improved access provision in Wiltshire which means surgeries are now working together to provide extra appointments in the evening and at weekends.
The alliance is still in its early days but they aim to provide more services ‘at scale’ by supporting genuine cooperation between practices, and help stabilise the workforce, and facilitate transformation to solve problems in health and care.
Marlborough News Online published an article about the GP Alliance which includes comment from GP Dr Lindsay Kinlin who is part of the alliance team.
A move for the Salisbury Walk-in Centre
On 1 October 2018 the Salisbury Walk-in Centre moved a few metres away to its new location within Millstream Medical Centre. The move, which does not affect the services offered by the walk-in facility means that the Walk-in Centre gains more space for patients who need to use the service.
You can read more about the move in our news article.
Read more news from Wiltshire CCG in our news archive.
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Transforming Maternity Services Together
As part of our local maternity system, we are consulting the general public on our proposal to transform maternity services across Bath and North East Somerset (BaNES), Swindon and Wiltshire. Our proposal has been developed by all the NHS organisations that plan and buy health services as well as those that provide or manage maternity services across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire. Over last 18 months, these organisations have worked with more than 2000 women and families, staff, and partner organisations to look at ways we can improve the services we provide to mothers and families across the region. We want to provide:
- More equal access to the different birthing options available to women
- Improved personalised care so we listen to and understand what women want
- Continuity of care to improve the relationship between mother, family and midwife
- Improved community support to provide targeted care close to home
- Integrated and seamless care regardless of where and how women choose to give birth.
This consultation period runs from 12 November 2018 until 24 February 2019.
Find out more on the consultation website and have your say on the proposals by completing the online survey.
Urgent GP appointments
We want to hear your views on accessing urgent GP appointments – appointments that are booked on the day and are for patients who have health problems which cannot wait for a routine appointment.
Tell us what you think by completing the short survey on our website.
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Help Us Help You
This year’s winter health campaigns are all about us working together to ensure we all do our best to stay fit and healthy, which collectively will help to reduce pressure on the NHS over winter.
Help Us Help You talks about the self-care steps you can take to stay well this winter like getting a flu jab; encourages you to talk to your pharmacist if you start to feel unwell; and reminds you to call 111 for urgent (but not life-threatening) medical assistance.
Visit our campaign pages to find out more about Help Us Help You.
Keep Antibiotics Working
Public Health England’s ‘Keep Antibiotics Working’ campaign is back, reminding you that taking antibiotics when you don’t need them puts you and your family at risk.
Antibiotics are essential for treating serious bacterial infections, but they are frequently being used to treat illnesses such as coughs, earache and sore throats that can get better by themselves. Taking antibiotics encourages harmful bacteria that live inside you to become resistant. That means that antibiotics may not work when you really need them.
It’s important that, when it comes to antibiotics, you always take your doctor, nurse or healthcare professional’s advice.
For more information, visit: www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk/our-campaigns/antibiotics-resistance
Self care this winter
To help you know what simple steps you can take to help keep well over the winter months we have developed this easy-to-use eight step guide.
To find out more about Staying Well This Winter, and to download the self care infographic, visit www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk/our-campaigns/stay-well-this-winter
Free guides available to support the health and wellbeing of older people and carers
NHS England has co-produced free guides that provide older people with practical advice to support healthy ageing and caring.
The Healthy Ageing and Healthy Caring guides provide information to older people and carers about staying healthy, fit and independent during the winter months. They identify the support that’s available to help maintain health and wellbeing and which can help older people and carers to stay out of hospital.
The guides have been co-produced with AGE UK, Fire Rescue Service, Carers UK, Carers Trust, Public Heath England, carers networks and people with lived experience including older people. They are part of NHS England’s long term ambition to support older people and carers to look after their own health.
Both these free guides are A4 magazine-style publications that can be ordered in any quantity and delivered for free. Order by calling 0300 123 1002, quoting reference HC2, for the healthy caring, or HA2 for the healthy living guide, or online at www.orderline.dh.gov.uk.
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