Help Us Help You – Getting Through Winter Well

Ever wonder how health and care services in Buckinghamshire make sure help is available for people at the right time, in the right place?

Well, in a new approach for winter 2018/19, a GP Winter Champion and a Winter System Director join forces to reduce the winter pressures that Bucks’ health and social care services face every year.

Their aim? To ensure all health and care professionals in the county – including social services,GPs, hospitals, ambulance services, mental health services and charities – work together to deliver better, responsive and more joined-up services, especially during the flu season.

The Bucks GP Winter Champion, who will be offering healthcare advice for the county over the coming months, is Dr Dal Sahota. With more than 14 years of experience as a GP and, alongside her day to day work at her surgery in Bucks, Dal is alsoClinical Director for acute unplanned care for the Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

When it comes to her advice on healthcare over the festive season and beyond Dal told us:

‘As a GP I know that illness occurs when you least expect or need it. If you haven’t sought advice early on then you may end up becoming more unwell or even needing a spell in hospital.’

‘When you start to feel poorly I would encourage people to seek help via their local pharmacist. If you need more advice on where to go for treatment, the NHS 111 helpline can help. Remember, GP appointments are now available at weekends and evenings, which you can book by using 111, which means access is better for all.’

‘Making sure you have had a flu jab also helps keep bugs at bay and let’s also not forget that at this time of year lots of people can feel very low. Our social care and mental health services are of vital importance too’

Working alongside Dal this winter is the new Bucks System Winter Director, Frances Woodroffe who again has a wealth of experience, more recently in NHS Improvement as part of the Emergency Care Intensive Support Team, working with hospitals across London to deliver improvements in patient outcomes, safety and experience.

‘With two young children of my own I understand how being sick can really affect your day to day life.’

‘Our priority is to ensure patients get the best care, in the right location, as quickly as possible. Working in partnership to improve the services patients receive and deliver partnership working by bringing together clinical and community teams should make a difference.’

‘Everyone can play their part by making sure they follow health advice: by looking out for your neighbours who may be lonely or vulnerable, getting that flu jab and using your local pharmacist as the first port of call when you feel unwell, you can make sure that urgent care is provided to the right people swiftly and effectively’

Help Us Help You is calling on all Bucks residents to:

  1. Use your local pharmacy– do this when you start to feel unwell, don’t wait.
  2. Call 111 – get professional advice and direction of where to go for help if you need it
  3. GP surgeries now open longer and at weekends – if your surgery is closed for the day you can book via 111.

Noel Brown – Cabinet member for Community Engagement and Public Health echoes Dal and Frances adding:

‘Everyone knows that the winter months are always the busiest for all our health and community frontline teams.’

‘You can play your part by doing simple things: checking that your more vulnerable neighbours have got medicines and essential items like milk and bread. Saying ‘hello’ to someone who feels isolated can make a huge difference if they are alone and feeling low. Looking out for signs like a neighbours curtains remaining drawn – you can always go round to check everything is ok. It’s these kinds of things that can make a massive difference to lives too’

Working together to serve the county’s healthcare needs are Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Buckinghamshire County Council and South Central Ambulance Service.