Walsall residents of all ages are being reminded of the healthcare services available throughout the borough to help them Stay Well This Winter and avoid hospital admission.
As the flu season gets under way, those who are the most risk of contracting the virus are being urged to ensure they have their free flu vaccination and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust is also issuing its seasonal reminder for people to only come to the Emergency Department if they have life-threatening or serious conditions.
Philip Thomas-Hands, the Trust’s Chief Operating Officer, said staff in the Manor Hospital and in the community had been working well in advance of the traditionally busy winter period to avoid people being unnecessarily admitted and to help patients to be discharged as promptly as possible.
“While we are doing all we can, we are also appealing to the public to support us by stopping to think which is the most appropriate service for their needs and doing what they can to protect themselves against illness,” he said.
“Hospital admissions become more serious during the winter period requiring longer hospital stays. This slows down our ability to move patients through the system to free-up beds for those arriving daily in the ED. Our teams need to prioritise the poorliest patients as quickly as possible so we need to work together to keep the ED free for those who need it most.”
People should get expert health advice by telephoning NHS 111 speaking to their local pharmacist, or contacting their own GP practice.
Walsall Healthcare has a Rapid Response Service that deals with referrals for patients who have conditions such as a Urinary Tract Infection, chest infection, dehydration and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The team will respond within two hours and set up multi-disciplinary care as appropriate, avoiding a hospital visit. This service can be accessed via a GP (in or out of hours), the Ambulance Service or NHS 111.
And Walsall has two urgent care centres, run by Primecare, for people with non-life-threatening illnesses. The urgent care centre at Saddlers Shopping Centre, Bridgeman Street, is open 8am-8pm every day and the urgent care centre at the Manor Hospital is open from 7am-midnight every day.
People who have experienced very recent sickness and diarrhoea are also being reminded to stay away from hospitals and care homes to avoid passing on infections to vulnerable patients.
Mr Amir Khan, Medical Director and Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust said: “If people have sickness and diarrhoea, or they have recently experienced these symptoms, we are reminding them to stay away. This is because people may still infect others up to three days after their own symptoms have stopped.
“Again, anyone worried about these types of symptoms should contact their Pharmacy, GP or NHS 111 helpline by telephone, rather than just going to the Emergency Department or health centre.”