Plans revealed for meeting this winter’s health and social care demand

As winter heads this way, Buckinghamshire’s Health & Wellbeing Boardheard this monthabout the new ways the county’s health and social care services are working together to be fully prepared for the extra demand that occurs across the winter months.

Information on how people can stay healthy over winter was also highlighted, along with details of a new web service, Health Help Now, which guides individuals to the best health service option for whatever illness or injury they may have.

Dr. Annet Gamell, Chief Clinical Officer of Chiltern CCG, addressed the meeting on behalf of the ‘Strategic Resilience Group’, which is formed from all the different organisations responsible for providing NHS services and adult social care: “Planning for winter now looks at how our different health and social care services fit together. Making sure the whole system keeps flowing can be more important than what’s happening in one area: A&E is often the choke point that shows the system as a whole is becoming jammed in the winter, whereas in fact the busiest period for A&E is the summer.”

As well outlining the challenges for professional joint working in an environment where demand is increasing and recruitment difficult, Dr. Gamell also pointed out things the public can do to help themselves with winter health: “Firstly, get immunised against the flu – people often underestimate how unwell the flu can make you, and it greatly increases the demand on health and social care services over the winter. Take up the free NHS jab if you qualify by being over 65, pregnant, a carer, or through having an existing long-term health condition. Anyone else can get the jab at their local pharmacy for a small fee.

“Secondly, I’d like to recommend our new online resource Health Help Now, which lets you find services and advice for your own particular health concerns local to where you live – go to”

The Health and Wellbeing Board’s Chairman is Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council. Martin commented: “Too often in the past the NHS and local councils’ services have just not worked together well enough. For example, this has meant that patients and residents could receive several visits from different teams and sometimes patients stayed in hospital too long. We have not always known what each other was doing.

“The Health and Wellbeing Board is a major change to the way we all operate. All the key people from the health service and local councils are around the same table planning what we do and how we will do it. The residents of Buckinghamshire have a right to expect good quality health and social care there for them when they need it. The Health and Wellbeing Board is a key step forward in making that happen.”

Click here to watch the webcast.