As winter draws closer, Buckinghamshire Council, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and other health and social care partners have come together to publish a Winter Plan.

Its aim is to make sure local people can get the support they need from the right places this season, and to encourage the community to do all that it can to get ‘winter ready’.

What you can do

According to the plan, there’s plenty Buckinghamshire residents can do to help themselves and their loved ones stay well this season.

By following these steps, you can also help to reduce pressure on NHS and social care services, which tend to be under extra stress during the winter.

  • Take up the offer of free flu and Covid vaccinations if you’re in an eligible group. Visit the flu vaccine and Covid-19 pages on the NHS website for more information.
  • Order any repeat prescriptions you need in time so you’re not caught short during weekends or bank holidays.
  • Stock up on over the counter medicines that you might need over the next few months: things like paracetamol, ibuprofen and decongestants.
  • Check on vulnerable friends, neighbours and family members as often as you can.
  • Use the NHS 111 service if you need advice on which service you should use.
  • See your GP as normal if you have symptoms that are worrying you.
  • If you have a minor illness, speak to a pharmacist about how they can help.
  • Only use 999 and hospital emergency departments in life-threatening situations.

What’s happening with services

To get ready for winter, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has made a number of changes to services.

These include:

  • Extending the opening hours of the Urgent Treatment Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital to 24/7
  • Working with FedBucks to establish a primary care clinical assessment service that will direct NHS 111 calls away from GPs to more suitable services
  • Expanding the remit and opening hours of its Same Day Emergency Care unit so that people can be treated without being admitted to hospital
  • Opening a new paediatric Emergency Department and paediatric clinical observation unit.

The Trust has also received national funding to build a new ward at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, which will increase the number of beds available for patients.

In addition, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust is working closely with Buckinghamshire Council to provide an integrated discharge service. This will help to make sure that people can leave hospital as soon as it’s safe for them to do so, provided they have the right support available at home.

Olympic Lodge, a site close to Stoke Mandeville Hospital, is also re-opening this month. Olympic Lodge can provide immediate care for patients who no longer need hospital care but are awaiting the support package that would enable them to go home.

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Published on 18 Oct, 2023 (updated 9 Jan, 2024)

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