Health experts in Cumbria launch choose well this winter campaign

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Health experts in Cumbria launch choose well this winter campaign

Posted on Monday 21st October 2013
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Health experts in Cumbria launch choose well this winter campaign

NHS organsiations and public health experts in Cumbria are working together to create a one-stop-shop for residents and visitors health questions this winter.

The main commissioner of health services for the county, NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is working with Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust and Cumbria County Council’s Public Health team, to provide information to help people to stay well in the winter months, and access the right treatment and the right location if they do become ill.

A mini-website, www.choosewellcumbria.co.uk has been designed by NHS Cumbria CCG for smartphones, tablets and computers so people can access the information where and when they need it. 

The online service includes information on the winter flu vaccinations, where to get medical care out of hours and is appealing to the public not to go to A&E departments this winter unless they genuinely have a very serious or life-threatening health problem.

As part of the campaign, NHS Cumbria CCG is hosting a webchat on Wednesday, October 23 from 4-5pm, where health experts will be available to answer questions from the public live online.

Every year GP practices see an increase in patients during the winter months and hospitals report that the number of people using A&E inappropriately increases, when there are more suitable health services available.

The Choose Well Cumbria campaign aims to encourage people to find a more appropriate service for minor injuries and ailments as well as how to ensure they are able to keep their homes warm and safe.

In particular, the campaign will focus on providing information to:

• families with young children

• young people aged 15 - 24

• people with long term conditions such as diabetes or respiratory problems.

NHS Cumbria CCG’s Clinical Chair, Dr Hugh Reeve said: “We know that over the winter the number of serious and life-threatening cases goes up if temperatures fall below 12 degrees Celsius.

“The aim of our campaign and website is to give people the information about the services available in Cumbria and how best to use these resources and access the right healthcare, in the right place, right when you need it.

“During the winter months, when people are more likely to have falls in icy conditions, have breathing difficulties due to the cold weather and winter viruses are affecting many people the health services are great demand, and what we don’t need at such a busy time is people turning up at A&E with minor injuries and ailments.”

Interim Director of Public Health, Cumbria County Council, Dr Rebecca Wagstaff said: “With the rising cost of fuel people tend to feel a bit reluctant to have the heating on, but they could be risking their health.

"Even if people decide to only heat one room to save money it’s important that they have it at around 21°C and also remember to heat their bedroom so it’s warm before they go to bed. As we move into winter, with the colder temperatures we would encourage everyone to keep an eye on friends, family and neighbours particularly if they are elderly or vulnerable.

“We know that in the winter a higher number of people die in Cumbria than at other times of the year due to the colder weather.

“We want to remind people to prepare for this cold spell and not forget the more vulnerable people living in our communities. 

“The Choose Well Cumbria campaign signposts patients to the correct service as well as information on how to stay well this winter.”

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust's Deputy Director of nursing quality and patient experience, Esther Kirby, said: “For those with long term conditions is it vital that they make sure they are well prepared, making sure they have plenty of medicines and getting an annual review with their GP or nurse. They should protect themselves by making sure they have a free flu job and be aware of the early symptoms of their conditions so they can get the right treatment quickly. The choose well website gives excellent advice on what the correct route that should be taken for patients.”

Clinical Director for Emergency Medicine for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, Paul Grout added: “It is important that emergency departments are for emergencies. There are many other ways people can get access to treatment for minor ailments and its important to recognise that the more people who use the Emergency Departments, the longer people will have to wait. We would ask people to use our services wisely.”

The Choose Well Cumbria campaign asks the public to think about how serious their health problem is and then choose the right service.

• For very minor problems such as a hangover, indigestion, or a grazed knee, people should self-care

• For minor infections, coughs and colds, advice can be given by local pharmacies

• For ailments such as stomach pain and vomiting, a persistent cough or ear pain call your GP surgery, or visit your local minor injuries unit. 

To find out more about health service in Cumbria and details on how to take part in the webchat visit www.choosewellcumbria.co.uk

Posted on Monday 21st October 2013

 

 
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