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How To Support The NHS This Winter

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With hospitals being especially busy during the winter months, people living in Highland Perthshire are being asked to support NHS Tayside by doing a few simple things.

NHS Tayside have been working hard to prepare for the increase in flu and Covid-19 patients this winter, as well as making sure they have staff on hand to treat those who are most ill and keep the emergency departments running as normal.

Emergency Medicine Consultant, and Clinical Service Direct for Winter, Dr Andy Reddick, has explained how the public can play their part in helping the NHS to treat those most in need this winter: “We have the plans in place to help us face the dual challenges of winter and COVID-19, however there are ways every person in Tayside can help support us over the coming busy weeks and months.

“For example, one way the public can really support us is by helping if they have a loved one, friend or neighbour in hospital and they are ready to return home.

“It is a great help if someone can collect the patient from hospital and get them safely home. Maybe a family member, neighbour or a voluntary organisation could help. Also, make sure the person’s heating is on, their cupboards are stocked and they have all the medication they need.

“This helps us here in hospital and out in community services as it means patients can get home as soon as they are well enough and hospital beds are available for these people who are most ill and really need to be in hospital.

“It’s also really important that people know where to go to get the right health care for their needs. This makes sure our GP and A&E services are available for people who really need them. For example, local community pharmacies are a great resource and can help with a range of minor illnesses, such as a cold, an upset stomach or general aches and pains.

“Make sure your medicine cabinet is well stocked with over-the-counter medicines. Remember to follow the latest guidance if you are feeling unwell. Socialise in well ventilated spaces where possible. Please help us by staying well and keeping safe this winter.

“And remember, if you think you need A&E but it’s not life threatening, you should phone NHS 24 on 111 who will direct you to the appropriate care. If you need to come to A&E, you will be given an appointment to save you having to wait.” 

If you are concerned that you may have contracted an illness, NHS Inform has a symptom tracker which can help you find out if you have an illness and what to do about your symptoms.

NHS 24 have also developed a mobile app that can help you find out more about your symptoms, tips on self-care, and tell you what to do if your symptoms worsen. The app is free to download and is available on both the app store and the Google Play store.

For information on GP festive closures, pharmacy opening times, where you can go to get the right care, and tips on how to ensure that you and your family are as prepared as possible, visit www.keepwellinwinter.scot.nhs.uk.

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