A RANGE of actions by people can help support the region’s health and social care system – which is currently under massive pressure.
Taking up free vaccinations against flu and COVID if you are eligible is step number one in reducing the numbers of people who will need help over the winter months.
However, there is much more that can be done, from continued use of face coverings on NHS sites to offering flexibility and support around getting loved ones home from hospital.
Nicole Hamlet is Deputy Chief Officer of Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, and she said: “Very honestly, we’re in a very tough situation at the moment.
“I don’t think we’ve never seen this sort of pressure on our system at this time of year – not even during the worst of COVID.
“If we’re going to pull through this, it’s by everyone in the region recognising the seriousness of the situation and working together to get us through these winter months.”
Ms Hamlet added: “Anyone aged 50 and above can now book in online for a free flu and COVID jag, by visiting https://vacs.nhs.scot/csp
“Getting these boosters refreshes your body’s own defences, ready for an encounter with these viruses.
“Even if you’ve already had flu or COVID, or if you’ve been vaccinated before, getting these boosters when you’re eligible is extremely important as it will help cut down on the rates and severity of illness.”
Anyone who is visiting an NHS building is asked to wear a face covering. Wearing a face covering continues to be the expectation of both visitors and staff as we look to limit any spread of infection.
Additionally, any visitor to an NHS site including the likes of hospitals is asked not to enter the building if they feel unwell with symptoms or flu or COVID.
Ms Hamlet said: “Our request to keep wearing face coverings in NHS buildings and not to visit if unwell with symptoms of flu or COVID is again all about limiting the risk of infection, particularly at a time when services are already functioning under great strain.
“People are likely aware that one of the biggest challenges our system faces is having enough carers to support people to get home, or continue living in their own home.
“If you have a relative or loved one who is currently delayed in hospital due to a shortage of care packages, you can help by being as accommodating, flexible and supportive as possible when trying to get your loved one home.
“Arrangements may not be ideal at this challenging time, but it’s not to anyone’s benefit if your loved one is spending time in a hospital bed when they could be at home.
“We need to appreciate the many hours that unpaid Carers already provide, and the fact that without them our health and social care system would simply not be able to function.
“We don’t want to add to the pressures already being faced by those individuals, but where families and friends can offer to do more this would be met with a very genuine appreciation.
“In addition, we need to thank all the carers working tirelessly within social care and recognise the scale and value of the contribution they continue to make in the face of very significant challenge.”
Anyone who requires emergency treatment is encourage to come forward to receive help.
However, please note that the Emergency Department at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary and Galloway Community Hospital are for very pressing emergencies only.
Great advice and support is available online at www.nhsinform.scot or by calling NHS24 on 111, while medical practices and pharmacies are a great source of information and help.