Help to relieve pressure on busy NHS services this Christmas and New Year
The NHS in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire is calling on local people to do all they can to help relieve the pressure felt by the whole health and care system this festive period.
Christmas and New Year is traditionally a very busy time for the NHS, with demand for urgent and emergency care expected to be much higher than usual.
This year’s festive period is also bookended by two periods of industrial action, which is likely to make what is always a very busy couple of weeks even more of a challenge.
Supporting loved-ones in their discharge from hospital, visiting pharmacies for minor health concerns, utilising digital healthcare options, such as NHS 111, and topping up the medicine cupboard essentials are just some of the practical ways that people can show their support.
Dr Amanda Webb, Chief Medical Officer, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “While the NHS always approaches any expected busy period with meticulous planning, we also need our public to get behind us.
“Our teams will be on hand over the Christmas and New Year period, as well as during the planned junior doctor strikes, but we need the public’s help to ensure colleagues can focus all their attention on those most in need of care.
“By choosing the right healthcare option, such as NHS 111, or by carefully treating a minor illness at home, people will be helping to keep our urgent and emergency care services free for anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in a life-threatening situation.
“These simple steps, along with a level-headed approach to enjoying the festive season, will go a long way at this busy time of year, and really make a difference to the hundreds of NHS staff working over Christmas and New Year.”
Helping a loved-one with their journey home from a ward, either by providing a lift or arranging medicines and groceries, is another vital action that can ease the pressure felt within local hospitals.
More than a dozen pharmacies across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire will be open on Christmas Day for people needing urgent medication, quick healthcare advice or guidance on how to care for a minor illness or injury.
Even more sites will be open on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, with pharmacy staff able to provide private consultations, suggest possible treatment options and, where appropriate, refer onwards to other local services.
Similar help is also available from NHS 111, which can be accessed online at www.111.nhs.uk, or over the phone by calling 111.
More information on how to use NHS 111, along with the Christmas and New Year opening times for every pharmacy in the region, can be found at www.bsw.icb.nhs.uk.