Winter is a particularly challenging time for the NHS, as we see increasing numbers of very unwell and often elderly patients being admitted into our hospitals.
These patients often have complex health problems and require longer periods in hospital.
When it gets particularly busy in the hospital, it can lead to longer waiting times in A&E.
People coming to A&E are treated according to clinical need, so those with urgent and life threatening illnesses and injuries are prioritised and treated first, which can mean that those requiring care less urgently may experience delays.
Our staff work incredibly hard to see everyone as quickly as possible and we appreciate your patience during busy periods.
How can you get better quicker whilst you are still in hospital?
Getting up and about and keeping mobile, having a shower and putting on normal clothing are all things you can do to help you feel better and begin your recovery while you’re still in hospital.
Not smoking whilst in hospital can also help you recover more quickly; you can ask our staff for support in quitting smoking.
Keeping hydrated and eating well are also things that can help you start to feel better.
What to do during a cold spell
Winter brings with it cold spells, which can trigger or worsen some health problems, such as respiratory conditions and arthritis. Older people and those with chronic health problems are more at risk when the temperatures drop.
The reason that older people are more likely to suffer in winter is because as we age, our bodies react differently to the cold, leading to a greater chance of having a heart attack, stroke, breathing difficulties or pneumonia.
If you feel your condition is worsening, you should make an appointment with your GP as soon as you can. Don’t wait until it gets more serious.
Ways you can help yourself
- Some tips on keeping those common coughs and colds at bay.
- Find out if you can get the flu jab free on the NHS.
- If you start to feel unwell, even if it's a cough or cold, don't wait until it gets worse. Seek advice from your pharmacist, local NHS walk in centre or GP.
- Make sure you have stocked up on your repeat prescriptions or medication during weekends and over the bank holidays.
Ways you can help others
- Check up on older neighbours and relatives, and those with heart or breathing problems.
- Make sure they're safe and well and are warm enough, especially at night.
- Check that they have stocks of food and medicines so they don't need to go out during very cold weather.
- If you're worried about a relative or elderly neighbour, contact your local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1174 (8.00am-7.00pm every day).
Keep Warm, Keep Well
- If you are 65 or over, not very mobile, or have a health condition, such as heart or lung disease, heat your home to at least 18C (65F)
- Keep your bedroom at 18C all night if you can – and keep the bedroom window closed, during the day you may prefer your living room to be slightly warmer than 18C
- The Met Office provides weather forecasts on radio and TV, so listen in to these bulletins regularly to keep up to date with the weather. Severe weather warnings are also issued on the Met Office website.
- Avoid slips trips and falls by wearing suitable footwear.
Help Us Help You
If you are unsure of where to go for medical advice or treatment and it is not an emergency, NHS 111 can help direct you to the most appropriate place for your care.
Click here for more information.