Staying safe this winter

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AGENCIES across Cambridgeshire are working together to help people in the county stay safe, warm, and well when the winter weather hits.

Under the guidance of the newly created shadow Health and Wellbeing Board, health services, road safety experts and care support services are sharing information, expertise and support to ensure that a comprehensive range of services is available to vulnerable residents, when they need it most.

Gritting and treating a wide network of highways, footpaths and cycleways, working with district and parish councils to grit community areas such as paths outside shops, community centres and doctors surgeries and schemes designed to cut drink driving and raise accident awareness among drivers will help to reduce hospital admissions and trips to GP surgeries or A & E as well as keep people safe.

The local NHS will be working with District Councils and with voluntary sector agencies such as Age UK to provide advice on how to keep warm and well over winter, as well as encouraging vulnerable people to take up flu vaccinations, and avoid slips and trips.

Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Tony Orgee, said: “By working ever more closely together, health, welfare and safety agencies across Cambridgeshire, can do even more than in previous years to support our communities to keep safe, warm and well during the winter months.

“By treating the roads and footpaths we can limit the number of slips and trips, reduce hospital admissions and ensure that wherever possible road users and the public can go about their business in a safety and secure environment.”

Cambridgeshire Director of Public Health, Dr Liz Robin, said: “I would encourage everyone who is eligible for a free seasonal flu jab this winter to take up the opportunity to protect their health. This includes

* All pregnant women irrespective of their stage of pregnancy.

* Adults and children who suffer from:

- Chronic respiratory disease such as asthma, emphysema, cystic fibrosis

- Heart disease

- Diabetes

- Kidney or liver disease

- Lowered immunity due to disease or treatment

- Chronic neurological disease such as stroke/transient ischaemic attack (TIA) Multiple Sclerosis.

* All people aged 65 and over

“It’s good to see so much partnership working between local organisations, to support people in Cambridgeshire to stay well this winter.”

Dr Simon Hambling, GP, Chair of the NHS Cambridgeshire Clinical Commissioning Senate, and member of the shadow Health & Wellbeing Board, said: “This is a new approach to tackling winter for our patients and residents. Working together, we hope to keep more people well through the winter months so that we can concentrate resources on the most vulnerable in our community.”

Cllr Sue Ellington, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet member responsible for public health, said: “We are all aiming to make sure the best possible advice and services are available to Cambridgeshire residents when the bad weather hits this winter. Transport is always important in rural districts and our budding community transport schemes will help connect the most vulnerable people.”