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Together we can make a real difference

As health and care services deal with the busiest winter in history, we can all play our part to protect ourselves and those around us.

That’s the message from health and care leaders who are reminding Calderdale residents why it’s important to continue to choose well and opt for convenient self-care when possible. 

Rates of COVID-19 remain high in the borough. Our local hospitals are caring for more patients with COVID than ever before. Health and care services are in high demand and local organisations are working together as they deal with COVID-19 related staff absences.  

Director of Public Health, Deborah Harkins said: “There are some small, simple things that we can all do to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus and help to reduce pressure on our health and care system.

“This includes wearing a mask indoors, keeping a distance and limiting how many people we mix with, taking a lateral flow test before meeting with others and those who are vulnerable and opening a window when mixing indoors.

“It’s not too late to protect yourself by getting the vaccine or booster. We know this is a big decision for some people. Over 75% of people aged 12 and over in Calderdale have now had two doses. Walk-in clinics and appointments continue to be offered locally. The teams at the clinics will be happy to answer any questions you may have.”

Local community pharmacies can help and support with minor illnesses. As dedicated, qualified health professionals, and experts in medicines, they can offer clinical advice, consultations and over the counter medicines to help safely manage a wide range of minor health concerns. Many pharmacies also offer a range of NHS clinical services including the New Medicines Service to support you when taking new medicines.

Ruth Buchan, Chief Executive Officer for Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire said: “Community pharmacies continue to help everyone play their part this winter. As well as providing advice on minor illnesses, we can advise you on what medicines you and your family should have in your medicine cabinet and first aid kit at home.

“Many pharmacies are offering the NHS flu jab. If you haven’t yet had your flu vaccination, you’re over 50, pregnant or have a long-term medical condition, get your free NHS flu jab today.”  

GP Practices remain open and continue to triage patients to ensure those with the greatest need are seen first.

Halifax GP, Dr Steven Cleasby, Chair of NHS Calderdale CCG said: “Our surgeries have been busier than ever, but if anyone has any concerns about their health, we still want to hear from them.

“When requesting care, whether online, by phone or in person, it helps us if you can explain to the receptionist what’s wrong. This ensures we can give the care people need at the right time, from the right person. It also helps our medical team to prioritise those who need our care most.

“Our reception teams will always respect your privacy and confidentiality, it’s an important part of their job to ask, so thank you for your support with this.”

If you are unsure where to turn to NHS111 can help you get the right advice or treatment you need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This can be accessed online or by phone.

Jo Fawcus, Chief Operating Officer at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments continue to be extremely busy, but we are always here to treat patients with serious life-threatening conditions such as loss of consciousness, breathing difficulties or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped.

“If you have a minor injury or issue which needs medical attention the same day, but it isn’t life-threatening, call 111 or visit the website 111.nhs.uk.  It’s free, and they can give you urgent medical advice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Choosing the best service for your needs helps us prioritise those patients who are most poorly and in need emergency treatment.

“Whilst we understand that restrictions outside are changing, we must ask everyone to continue to wear face masks and observe social distancing in our hospitals and other clinical settings. This is essential to help protect our most vulnerable patients and keep our staff safe and healthy”.

Mental health and wellbeing services are still here to help; in what has been a challenging start to the year for everyone.

Mark Brooks, Interim chief executive of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s important that we all look after our mental health the same way we do with our physical health.

“Our ‘choose well for mental health’ guide pulls key information together into one trusted place. From a 24-hour-support line to knowing what to do in a crisis this is all included. Carers, friends and families can also use this guide to look out for those close to them and direct them to the right support.”

Details and advice on self-care, links to local support organisations, and information about choosing the right health service can be found on a dedicated website www.togetherwe-can.com 

If everyone ‘chooses well’ it could really make a difference to our services. Together we can make a real difference.