At the current time we are seeing pressures across the entire system and this is only likely to increase as we move further into the winter period.
All our health and care services are seeing unprecedented increases in the number of people needing help. This means most of our services are dealing with a huge increase in the numbers of people accessing care whilst operating with significant staff shortages.
With restrictions eased and young people back in schools, anyone can be forgiven for thinking the worst of the pandemic is behind us. The reality is very different, and the months ahead are going to be very challenging.
COVID-19 infection rates across our area remain high with significant numbers of people requiring hospital treatment. This winter, flu and respiratory illness are back with us and are likely to be extremely infectious after last year’s lockdown as our immunity will be much lower.
Here are seven simple steps we can take together so we can face and overcome a winter like no other.
- Health and care services are here to help. You can save time by booking appointments and seeking medical advice online by downloading the NHS App or contacting your GP using the online form available on each practice website.
There is a Health A-Z at www.nhs.uk/conditions/ with useful information and advice on common conditions. You can also visit your local council website to find out more about how you can receive the early help or care you need.
- Talk before you walk by going online to www.111.nhs.uk or calling NHS 111 if you do not have internet access.
Sometimes you know something doesn’t feel right, but you know it’s not life-threatening and you can’t get to your GP practice or your local pharmacy is closed,
- Health needs that are not a life-threatening emergency but are urgent include severe pain, suspected broken limbs and stomach pains. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, the friendly team at NHS 111 will be able to advise you on the best way of getting the help you need.
- Vaccines are the best way to protect everyone this winter - please have all your Covid jabs, and your flu jab if offered. If you're over 18 you can book your Covid booster at: nhs.uk/covidvaccine
- Get a COVID-19 test if you have symptoms. Please don’t visit a healthcare setting (GP practices, pharmacies, accident, and emergency) if you have symptoms.
- If you are concerned about your or someone else’s mental health you can get help through 0800 183 0558 in Leeds, Wakefield, Calderdale, and Kirklees and 0800 952 1181 in Bradford, or contact our NightOWLS service for children and young people on 0300 2003900. People who are Deaf can text the NightOWLS service on 07984 392700. If you are worried about a vulnerable child or adult, you should contact your local council.
- Stay safe by following the latest COVID-19 restrictions which include wearing a face mask in shops and on public transport and following travel guidance.
We want to thank our colleagues, volunteers who continue to work hard during the busiest time on record and to everyone living across West Yorkshire for your patience and kindness.