We work to ease winter pressures

16 November 2017

We're once again pulling out all the stops to cope with increasing demand for our health and social care services this winter.

Extra pressure is placed on home care services and hospitals at this time of year as the number of older and vulnerable people in the county continues to rise.

Our staff are working closely with health colleagues and staff in the independent sector to ensure people continue to receive care or get the extra support they need.

Home care and residential care workers, social workers and managers are working seven days per week to ensure there are community services in place to prevent hospital admissions or support people who are ready to go home.

Social workers are based at Chesterfield Royal, Tameside General and Royal Derby hospitals to support people who are ready to be discharged.

To free up hospital beds more quickly we're offering 64 beds in our residential homes to provide temporary support to people who no longer need acute hospital care but who are not well enough to go home. These are paid for and supported by the NHS through the Better Care Fund.

Councillor Jean Wharmby, our cabinet member for adult care, said:

"Our staff always work incredibly hard to ensure that Derbyshire residents get the care and support they need.

"And our work, and that of our partners, is paying off as latest figures from the Department for Health reveal that delayed discharges from hospitals in Derbyshire were the lowest of any county council in England in September.

"But we are not complacent and we continue to invest in our services for older people, including increasing fees to independent care homes to help pay for extra staff training and specialist nursing care.

"We're also offering incentive payments to encourage independent providers to take older people discharged from hospital over Christmas as we know it can be difficult for staff to work extra hours over the festive period."

We're doing all we can to recruit more staff to our in-house residential, day and home care service providing care and support to older people, including offering enhanced travel payments to staff who work in rural parts of the county and have to travel greater distances.

We're also encouraging front line staff to take up the offer of free flu jabs to prevent spreading the illness to older, more vulnerable residents they care for.

Meanwhile, we're calling on family, friends, neighbours and communities to offer extra help to elderly, disabled or vulnerable people where they need it this winter.

Older people can also stay well this winter by following these guidelines:

  • Lots of winter illnesses and injuries can be treated at home simply with over-the-counter medicines and plenty of rest. People should ensure they have in-date self-care treatments in their medicine cabinet.

  • People can get advice on minor illnesses or managing long-term conditions from their local community pharmacy. If people need to see a doctor, they will be advised by the pharmacist.

  • If people have a sprain, strain, broken bone or wound infections, they can get help from a Minor Injuries Unit (MIU), rather than going to an Accident and Emergency Department (A&E).

  • Walk-in centres can give people health advice and treatment for minor injuries and ailments without an appointment.

  • 111 is the NHS free phone number to call when people need medical help fast, but it's not an emergency. So if people are unsure about where to go, they should always call 111. The service operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year and is free.

  • The doctors' surgery provides a wide range of services for people including general health checks and health improvement advice, vaccinations, examinations, treatments and prescriptions. A doctor will refer someone to other specialist services such as those provided by hospitals or social services if necessary.

  • Most GP surgeries are open early in the mornings or later in the evenings, and can offer same-day appointments should you need urgent advice.

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