Dr Neil O’Brien, Clinical Chief Officer, NHS North Durham CCG
THE clocks go back tonight which may give everyone an extra hour in bed, but it also signals that winter is on its way.
Winter is a challenging time for the NHS, but across the region we have robust plans in place to ensure we are as prepared as we can be, as the cold nights and days begin.
There’s a lot that you can do at home to stop any illness in its tracks. It’s never too early to stock up on those vital medicines that may prevent any illnesses from developing or leading to you needing hospitalisation.
If you do develop a winter infection, we are asking you to act responsibly and stop the spread of infection by staying away from GP surgeries, hospitals and other healthcare settings.
We are working hard to ensure that those who do end up in hospital can be returned home quickly so we’re able to manage demand and free up beds for those who really need them.
You may have seen on social media that employees at the CCG have been preparing for winter by getting their flu jabs.
We’re aiming for 75 per cent of employees here to get involved for their own benefit and the benefit of patients.
If you want to join in, too, you can get a flu vaccination at your GP surgery or your local community pharmacy. With extended GP access, I hope that more of you are able to get one – particularly if you are in an at risk group.
Please look after each other.
This is the most important message as you reach for your wooly hats and scarves.
If you know you have an elderly neighbour, try to find time to check on them, encourage them to keep mobile and offer them support to pick up shopping or pharmacy supplies.
Let’s all try and stay well this winter.