North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) was extremely busy following the festive period last year, with a 20% increase in attendances at the emergency department compared to the year before, and many people needing to be admitted to hospital.
Staff at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (NDHT) have worked hard to prepare for this winter and are asking the public to support their local NHS services during this busy time.
One of the ways people can help is by choosing the right healthcare service for their needs. This could be a minor injuries service, local pharmacy or GP, and if you need urgent medical advice or reassurance you can call NHS 111.
Liam Kevern, consultant and lead clinician, emergency department, said: “By seeking treatment and advice elsewhere when it’s not a life-threatening illness or injury, you could spend less time waiting for appropriate treatment and advice and can help reduce waiting times for patients needing the most urgent care.”
NDHT is also encouraging visitors to support their loved ones when they are in hospital and help prepare them to be discharged home.
Darryn Allcorn, chief nurse, said: “If you have a family member, a friend or a neighbour in hospital, there are a number of important things you can do that will aid their recovery whilst in hospital and also help them get home as soon as they are ready to be discharged. These include providing suitable clothing and shoes, staying in contact with the ward about their expected date of discharge and helping organise transport home.”
Read more in our patient guide to hospital discharge.
A number of patients have been admitted to NDDH with flu over the festive season, and people can help to prevent the spread of flu in the community this year by getting the flu jab. The injected flu vaccine is offered free of charge on the NHS to people who are at risk, including those aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with certain long term conditions.
Winter is always a busy time for the NHS, and NDHT has been working closely with staff, the community and partner organisations to prepare. See how we’ve been preparing for winter in our infographic.
Suzanne Tracey, chief executive of NDHT, said: “This time of year is always challenging and in preparation for this winter we have increased our bed capacity, invested in staff and worked closely alongside our community partners to simplify processes and support our patients to keep well at home.
“We want to do whatever we can to make this winter better for our patients and staff and are asking patients and visitors to support us.”
Let’s work together this winter and help us help you.
Urgent care waiting time information
The NHSquicker app shows up-to-date waiting times for local emergency departments and minor injuries units, based on your location, incorporating live travel times to help people make informed decisions about where to go for urgent treatment for a minor injury or illness.
NHSquicker is available for smartphones and tablets, on Apple and Android. To download the NHSquicker app, search for ‘NHSquicker’ in the App Store or Google Play.
For more information about NHSquicker visit nhsquicker.co.uk
Waiting time information can also be viewed on the NDHT website at www.northdevonhealth.nhs.uk/ed-miu-waiting-times.