As the cold weather returns, health workers in East Yorkshire are bracing themselves for yet another busy winter.
Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has now published its winter plan which outlines how the Trust plans to deal with the surge in demand which hospitals regularly experience at this time of year.
Extra beds and patient transport, a rapid assessment team, and GPs working alongside staff in Hull Royal Infirmary’s Emergency Department (ED) are amongst the measures being put in place this year to try and ensure seriously ill people at HRI and Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham continue to receive safe and consistent care.
Between 1 November 2012 and 28 February 2013, some 38,394 people came through the doors of Hull Royal Infirmary’s Emergency Department, and Chief Executive of the Trust, Phil Morley, says it is unlikely that there will be much let up this year:
“Last year, our doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff went to extraordinary lengths to keep our Emergency Department functioning and our wards and services running in the face of unprecedented demand; this Trust had never before seen a winter like it.
“In publishing our winter plan early on, we’re setting out very clearly how we plan to cope with the demands which winter will undoubtedly place on our services once again. We have been able to learn lessons from last year so, for example, we have the option to make extra beds available for the most seriously ill people should we need them. At the same time, we’ll be working with our colleagues in primary care such as GPs and community nurses to try and ensure those with minor illnesses or injuries get the treatment they need in the right place, which is unlikely to be at a hospital.
“We’ll also be using a number of new approaches this year including GPs and community nurses working alongside our teams in ED, the introduction of rapid assessment clinics for higher risk patients, and a central discharge hub to support the smooth transfer of patients out of hospital to continue recovering at home as soon as it’s medically safe. In the face of increasing demand on our services year-on-year, we have to be brave and try something new – more of the same simply won’t be enough.”
Professor Ian Philp, Chief Medical Officer for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust says:
“Older people, people who have chest complaints or who suffer from breathing difficulties become particularly vulnerable at this time of year, as the cold weather can make their conditions worse and potentially leave them needing hospital care. Couple this with seasonal ‘flu which is also starting to do the rounds and the Christmas period itself when many routine healthcare services are closed, and it’s easy to see why demand on hospital-based care increases.
“Our staff work incredibly hard day every day of the year, and yet winter presents additional challenges on top of the routine workload. We have to do as much as possible to ensure the quality of care received by patients does not suffer as a result of these pressures and to ensure staff working across our hospital services feel both confident and supported as we go through this challenging period.
“People living across Hull and East Yorkshire can also help us with our preparations for winter by making themselves aware of their local treatment options now. By choosing well and making best use of community-based services such as 8 ‘til 8 GP surgeries, minor injury units and the NHS111 advice line, together we can keep urgent care services free for emergencies and very seriously ill people within our communities.”