Trust makes preparations for winter
The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is taking a number of measures to prepare for the winter.
A drop in temperatures, bad conditions on the roads and seasonal illnesses such as flu and norovirus always cause an increased demand on hospital services during the winter months.
As part of the Trust’s annual winter planning measures additional beds have been made available, staff are being encouraged to get the flu vaccine and people in the local communities are being urged to play their part.
At Pinderfields an additional 37 beds are being put in place during November by adding a fifth bed to some of the four bedded bay areas. This will be done without impacting on patient privacy and dignity or infection prevention and control. When the new Pinderfields Hospital was built, bays were designed to be spacious and with a larger bed space than national guidelines recommend, to allow for greater flexibility.
An extra 10 beds have also been opened up on the rehabilitation ward at Pontefract Hospital to take some of the pressure off Pinderfields during the coming months. These are intermediate care beds which will be used as part of the Trust’s discharge process.
Carole Langrick, Chief Operating Officer, said: “Winter is always a challenging time for hospitals and we saw the opportunity to plan ahead to take some of the strain off Pinderfields. We’ll be utilising this space until the elective orthopaedic service relocates there next April.”
Staff have been protecting themselves and their patients ahead of seasonal flu, with more than 1,500 vaccinated so far.
Sandra Winters, Consultant Nurse and Associate Director of Organisation Wellbeing, said: “We’ve had a really good uptake of the vaccine already this year which shows our staff take the safety of their patients, family and colleagues very seriously.”
Every year in the UK, flu kills hundreds of people who are elderly, very young or weakened by illness. The Trust is working hard to encourage its nurses, doctors and other frontline staff to get vaccinated – helping to prevent them from catching flu or passing the virus on to patients.
People in the local community are being asked to choose the right NHS services, to make sure they get the best and most appropriate treatment.
Carole added: “We would ask people to really consider whether they need to come to our busy A&E departments; these should only be used in an accident or emergency. If it’s not critical or life threatening people should see their pharmacist or visit their GP or local walk-in centre.”
If you are unsure where to go, or need help assessing how urgently treatment is needed, NHS Direct is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0845 4647.
While the Trust is making preparations for the winter period, local people are being urged to do the same.
Self care means keeping fit and healthy, as well as knowing how to take medicines, treat minor ailments and seek help when you need it. If you have a long-term condition, self care is about understanding that condition and how to live with it.
Make sure you keep your medicine cabinet stocked up with basic medicines to treat minor illnesses and ailments:
· Paracetamol or aspirin
· Anti-diarrhoeal medicine
· Rehydration mixture
· Indigestion mixture
If you are aged 65 or over, are a carer, or have one of the following conditions you may be able to get the flu vaccine from your GP:
· a serious heart complaint
· a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including asthma, bronchitis and emphysema
· serious kidney disease
· lowered immunity due to disease or treatment such as steroid medication or cancer treatment
· if you have a problem with your spleen or you have had your spleen removed
· if you have ever had a stroke.