Health news: Health and social care working together

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Health and social care services throughout Cambridgeshire are working together to take part in ‘The Perfect January’

In January and February 2012 the number of people admitted to hospital over the age of 65 increased by 10% on the previous year. This year health and social care services are working together to change their services so that they can better deal with the increased demand expected.

As part of the project GPs in Cambridgeshire will be ensuring that they are aware of all their vulnerable patients and what their needs are and reviewing their current home visiting services. GPs will also be able to access support direct from the ambulance for elderly patients who they feel have complex needs and may require an assessment in their home. GPs will themselves be running additional services in the community to support patients with urgent care needs outside of normal working hours.

In the hospitals themselves there will be more consultants available in the emergency department throughout January which will result in faster assessment and management of patients. There will also be better access to community nurses and reablement services from the emergency department so that nurses and care workers can be available to ensure that patients are supported at home and can carry out basic clinical and personal care and arrange for other support services to be available on the next day.

There will be more facilities available for people with dementia and mental health problems to ensure that there are plans in place to discharge them or support them if they are admitted.

“Winter illnesses always cause extra pressure on hospitals and emergency services, this January health and social care services are working together to tackle the problem. What we would like to achieve is ‘The Perfect January’ which would see patients getting the right treatment at the right time, in the right place.”

A test of the ‘Perfect Week’ was carried out in Peterborough in December and some of the learning from that event has meant that patients are now discharged earlier in the day, there needs to be better communication between agencies and closer working between the hospitals and community services.

Patients can help us to achieve ‘The Perfect January’ by ensuring that they Choose Well and choose the right NHS service at the right time,

NHS Services available:

*Self-care can be used to treat many basic conditions at home by simply having a well-stocked medicine cabinet. You should ensure that you have enough paracetamol or aspirin, anti-diarrhoeal medicine, rehydration mixture, indigestion mixture, plasters, and a thermometer in your medicine cabinet.

*NHS Direct can be used if you think you need additional advice. NHS direct offers confidential information on all aspects of health and healthcare. You can visit the website at www.nhs.uk to check your symptoms, check hundreds of conditions and treatments and find telephone numbers and addresses for most NHS organisations online. Alternatively, you can telephone 0845 46 47.

*Pharmacists can give you advice on healthy living and how to treat minor ailments. You can find out details of your local pharmacist, including details of opening hours by calling NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visit the website at www.nhs.uk/servicedirectories.

*You should call your GP if you have a minor illness or injury that needs treatment. They provide a range of services by appointment, including medical advice, examinations and prescriptions. An out-of-hours service is also available for urgent problems. To find your local GP surgery contact PALS in Peterborough on 01733 758584 or PALS in Cambridgeshire on 0800 279 2535 or 01223 725588.

* Cambridgeshire Minor Injuries Units are for minor injuries such as cuts and grazes, minor burns and scalds, bites and stings, strains and sprains and minor eye or ear problems. Your nearest minor injury unit is at:

* North Cambridgeshire Hospital, The Park, Wisbech PE13 3AB tel: 01945 488 068

* Princess of Wales Hospital, Lynn Road, Ely CB6 1DN tel: 01353 656 675

* Doddington Community Hospital, Benwich Road, Doddington PE15 OUG tel: 01354 644 243

* Accident and Emergency departments should only be used in a critical or life-threatening situation. A&E departments provide immediate emergency care for people who show the symptoms of serious illness or are badly injured. Dialling 999 and stating a medical emergency will result in a response vehicle being sent to you.

In Cambridgeshire, your nearest A&E department is at:

* The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, 01553 613613.