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Local NHS services encourage public to get 'Winter Ready'

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As we head into another busy winter season, health and social care partners across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West (BOB) are working together to ensure all our local communities get the services they need in the most appropriate place.

Patients and residents across the patch are being urged to do everything they can to get ‘winter ready’ by:

  • Taking up the offer of free flu and covid vaccinations if they are in eligible groups
  • Using NHS 111 for advice on the most appropriate service for their needs
  • Continuing to contact their GP practice about worrying symptoms
  • Speaking to a pharmacists about minor illnesses
  • Only using 999 and hospital Emergency Departments for life threatening conditions
  • Making sure they get repeat prescriptions in time for weekends and bank holidays
  • Stocking up on over-the-counter medicines
  • Looking out for vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours

Dr Rachael de Caux, Chief Medical Officer from the BOB Integrated Care Board which manages health services in the area, said: “Winter is always a busy time for the NHS and comes at the end of a year which has already seen all our teams under significant pressure.  

“The focus this winter is on all parts of the health and social care system working together through our system winter plan. We are working hard to put the NHS and social care on the front foot in supporting patients and local communities get the care they need.

“Thanks to the hard work which goes on every day across our BOB system we will have more ambulances and beds in place for people who need them most, at the same time as increasing the capacity of community services which help keep patients safe and cared for at home.

Rachael Corser, Chief Nursing Officer from the BOB Integrated Care Board said:

“Our colleagues across NHS and care services continue to do an exceptional job in incredibly challenging circumstances, and we also need to thank local people for their ongoing support in using NHS services responsibly and for showing respect and kindness towards health and care professionals.”

In Berkshire West, Janet Lippet, chief medical officer at the Royal Berkshire NHS Healthcare NHS Trust said: “Our priority is to ensure the most vulnerable and those in most urgent need are able to access services quickly and easily, whether that’s at one of our hospitals or in their own homes.

“You can also help us to help you by keeping Emergency Departments for life threatening emergencies such as heart attack, breathing difficulties and severe bleeding. If you’re not  sure then go to NHS 111 online or call them and they will be able to advise on what you should do to get the care you need.

South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) continues to see significant demand across its 999, 111 and patient transport services.

Mark Ainsworth, Director of Operations at SCAS, said: "We know what a difficult time this is for everyone and we greatly appreciate the support and understanding of the public as we continue to manage the significant pressures on our 999, 111 and patient transport services."