Learning from last winter’s pressures, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire’s health and social care services are better prepared than ever before for winter this year, improvements include:
- 116 extra acute beds that will open across existing wards at Nottingham Hospitals – one more ward than last year.
- A new 48-bedded community-run facility at Nottingham City Hospital by the end of the year.
Hospitals, GPs, councils and local managers of the NHS and social care have all been working together to make sure that everyone in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire can access the healthcare they need this winter.
Caroline Shaw, NUH Chief Operating Officer, said: “Health and social care partners in Nottinghamshire are working together to prepare the system for winter.
“The national funding (£6.4m) that has been allocated to the system ahead of winter will enable two significant developments to progress at pace that will improve the timeliness of care and the overall experience for our urgent and emergency care patients and our staff.
“We are modernising and expanding our urgent and emergency care facilities, which includes increasing our majors cubicle capacity in our main Emergency Department by 50% (from 20 to 30 cubicles) and creating a more integrated urgent and emergency care centre at QMC. Work on this development is already underway and is due to be completed mid-December.
“This funding will also support the creation of a new 48-bedded community-run facility at Nottingham City Hospital by the end of the year which will be used by patients who no longer need hospital care.
“Learning from last winter, the Trust will proactively open 116 seasonal NUH beds December-April, which is an extra ward of beds compared to last year. While an additional cost pressure to the Trust, this extra capacity is considered a requirement to ensure the delivery of safe care to our patients and minimise disruption to our programme of planned operations.”
As well as the improvements to the A&E at the Queen’s Medical Centre, there are a number of other initiatives that will enable local people to stay well this winter.
All Nottingham and Nottinghamshire residents registered with a GP can now access a doctor at weekends and evenings ensuring additional appointments are available for when people are ill but don’t need to go to A&E.
Given the increased number of GP appointments available, local NHS managers are urging local residents to think carefully about what they do when need healthcare.
Wendy Saviour, Managing Director Nottinghamshire Health and Care said, “We need people to help us to help them this winter – there are lots of ways to access NHS healthcare this winter and we have made sure that GPs are available at the times most convenient for people in work or with families. So we’re therefore asking people to consider if they really need to go to A&E or if there are more suitable ways to get care”.
Alongside these expanded GP appointments, patients can access advice on health and wellbeing at their local pharmacy without an appointment – and also to use the non-emergency number 111 instead of 999.
NHS 111 is free to call and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. NHS 111 is much more than a helpline – if you’re worried about an urgent medical concern, call and speak to an advisor who can help.
Depending on the situation, the NHS 111 team can access a nurse, emergency dentist, or even a GP and if they think you need it, they’re able to arrange face-to-face appointments. The team can assess if you need if an ambulance, and if you do, one will be sent immediately.
Finally, the leaders of the Integrated Care System are encouraging local residents to make sure that they get a flu jab – available at all GPs and pharmacies in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. The NHS provides free vaccinations to particular groups of people who are at higher risk of serious complications if they contract flu.
This includes people aged 65 years and over, as well as pregnant women, young children and people with long-term health conditions. Further details are available here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/who-should-have-flu-vaccine/ .