How well are you keeping this winter? So far, the weather has been quite mild but we all know that the next few months could be harsher. This is likely to put greater pressure on our health and care services.
That’s why the Buckinghamshire Integrated Care System (Bucks ICS) has put in place plans to ensure that the health and care services in the county can provide safe and effective care for everyone.
The Bucks ICS brings together six different NHS and local government organisations responsible for our health and social care in the county.
The winter plans have included free flu jabs for over 65s and for primary school children up to Year 5 as well for all frontline health and social care staff.
GP and nurse appointments are now available at doctors’ surgeries at evenings and the weekend. Just check for times at your local practice.
You may also have seen the NHS Stay Well This Winter campaign. It advises us to make good use of services like NHS 111 which you can now reach online as well as by calling 111.
We can also make better use of our pharmacies. Pharmacists can advise us on minor conditions and help us decide whether we need to see another medical professional.
Did you know there’s also a free App for Bucks ‘Ask NHS’ for health information and advice? You can also get advice from the website.
Those who provide our health and social care services also ask us to save A&E for serious and life-threatening conditions but remind us to 999 if there is a real emergency.
They also want to make sure that people spend less time in hospital and more time recovering at home with proper care.
At Healthwatch Bucks, we want to know how you are finding the health and social care services this winter. Just contact us at any time and let us know.
We’ll also be watching to see how our local services cope with the winter challenges. It’s been hard for the Bucks NHS Trust to meet the national target for 95% of patients to be treated or admitted within four hours of arrival.
According to the BBC’s check on A&E, cancer and operations targets, the Trust achieved the four hour timing for just 89% of patients in November. That was better than the national average but still short of the target.
Bucks NHS Trust also failed to meet the national targets for cancer care and planned operations. For those of us living in the south of the county, Frimley Health NHS Trust, which includes Wexham Hospital, also missed the A& E target while meeting the goals for cancer care and planned operations.