Winter is always a very busy time for health and social care services and even more so this year, as staff continue to deal with the impact of Covid-19.
NHS Tayside’s winter plan has been developed by clinical teams in partnership with Angus, Dundee and Perth & Kinross Health and Social Care Partnerships and the Scottish Ambulance Service, focusing on the whole system of healthcare across Tayside.
Dr Andrew Reddick, Emergency Medicine Consultant, and Clinical Service Director for Winter, said: “In Tayside, we use data from across our health services to build a ‘heat map’ which helps predict periods when we expect our services to be very busy. This gives services a warning of predicted increases in activity and enables them to put their plans in place to respond to challenges and keep services running.
“The winter plan aims to prevent illness and admissions to hospital by supporting the more vulnerable members of our communities to be cared for at home and in the community as much as possible.
“Central to our plans is a flu and COVID-19 vaccination programme for patients and health and social care staff to prevent the spread of infection in our hospitals, healthcare facilities and local communities. This will also help us to maintain staffing levels during busy periods.”
Dr Reddick also said the public can play their part to help but treating usual winter ailments such as colds at home and ensuring their medicine cabinet is well stocked with over-the-counter medicines.
He added: “Your local community pharmacy can also help with a range of minor illnesses, such as a cold, an upset stomach or general aches and pains.”
Additional information including details of festive GP closures, pharmacy opening times, where to get the right care at the right place and ways will be shared over the coming weeks, which can all be found on NHS Tayside’s dedicated website www.keepwellinwinter.scot.nhs.uk, a one-stop-shop for information about how to stay safe and healthy this weather.