Health bosses serving the region including Swindon say they'll try to keep people well and at home instead of in hospital this winter.
They have highlighted a number of options available to support people when they become unwell which do not mean a stay in hospital.
These range from people measuring their blood pressure or oxygen levels at home so that any issues are picked up early and acted upon, to Community Assessment Treatment Units and falls car services,
Dr Kheelna Bavalia, medical director for NHS England South West, said: “While hospital is absolutely the right place for some people’s medical needs, for a lot of people there are alternative services that would better support them should the become unwell, and a wide range of other services that could help people at an earlier stage, to prevent them becoming so unwell that they need to be in hospital.
“These are a range of different services, that connect and interlink, to best treat someone based on their individual circumstances, rather than treating everyone with a condition the same.
“Previously the only route for some people to get the care they need would be by being admitted to hospital.
"These wider services allow people to be cared for quickly and remain independent at home, which we know is not only better for their overall health and recovery, but also where people actually want to be.”
Some of the services available include:
- Urgent community response teams that go out to people in urgent situations to provide medical care and avoid them needing to go to hospital
- Same Day Emergency Care services based at hospitals, but rapidly assess, diagnose and treat people without them being admitted to a ward
- Fall car services which go out to people who have fallen in their home, assess them for any injuries and if there are no injuries that need hospital care, pick them up and make sure they are safe to stay at home
- Acute respiratory infection hubs, providing same day urgent assessment for people experiencing respiratory conditions such as covid, flu and Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
- The paediatric HandiApp which provides advice and guidance on a range of common childhood illnesses and how to manage them – available through App stores
As well as a wider range of services to keep people well and at home, there is also a range of things people can do to keep themselves as well as possible through the winter months.
- Take up the offer of a flu jab or covid booster when offered to boost your immunity
- Have a well-stocked medicine cupboard and a first aid kit
- Ask a pharmacist for advice – they’re experts in treating minor health issues like colds, stomach upsets, aches and pains
- Go online at 111.nhs.uk or call 111 to get expert advice, and be signposted to where you can get the best and nearest care for your needs
- Call your own GP – even if you’re in the South West on holiday you could get a phone or video consultation with your doctor at home
- If you need prescription medication, your GP can ask for it to be sent to a pharmacy near where you are staying
- Help our ambulance service and NHS treat those who need us the most by only calling 999 in a genuine, life-threatening emergency such as major blood loss, chest pain or loss of consciousness
- You can also help by taking relatives and friends home when they are medically fit to return to their own surroundings after receiving hospital care
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