Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a large increase in levels of flu, COVID and other viruses circulating in the community and this has led to lots of people contacting their GP, the out-of-hours service or needing hospital care.
The whole system of health and social care is under intense pressure at the moment, but there are some simple ways that the public can support us to ensure that our dedicated teams across hospital and community services can continue to deliver care and treatment to everyone who needs it.
Dr Andy Reddick, Emergency Medicine consultant and Clinical Service Director for Winter, explains how the public can play their part: “We have the plans in place to help us face the challenges of winter, however there are ways every person in Tayside can help support us over this extremely challenging time.
“If you’re otherwise fit and healthy, there’s usually no need to see a doctor if you have flu-like symptoms so please only use urgent care services such as A&E, GPs or out-of-hours if you really need to.
“Most common winter illnesses can be managed easily at home. Make sure you get lots of rest, keep warm, drink plenty of water and take paracetamol or ibuprofen for a temperature and aches and pains. You should stay off work or school until you’re feeling better and if you do have to go out in public, please consider wearing a face mask to avoid spreading germs to others.
“Visit www.nhsinform.scot or download the NHS 24 Online app from Google Play or the App Store for healthcare advice and self-help guides, including for flu and Strep A. Or speak to your community pharmacist for advice and over the counter medications.
“If you are eligible, and haven’t already had your winter flu and COVID vaccines, there’s still time to get protected. Find details of our drop-in clinics at www.vaccinationtayside.scot.nhs.uk or book an appointment at www.nhsinform.scot/wintervaccines.
“If you are coming to our hospitals for an appointment or to visit a relative or friend, please wear a fluid resistant face mask and ensure it covers your mouth and your nose. Keep your mask on at all times, even at a patient’s bedside.
“If you are unwell yourself please do not visit people in hospitals and other health and care settings, and if you are unable to attend your appointment due to illness, please call the number on your appointment letter to let us know.
“Finally, if you are using any of our services, please be kind to our staff – we are all doing our best to help you.”
NHS Tayside has a one-stop-shop for information about how to stay safe and healthy this winter at www.keepwellinwinter.scot.nhs.uk. This includes details of where to get the right care at the right place and ways to ensure you and your family can be as prepared as possible.
As always the latest guidance is shared on NHS Tayside’s social media channels. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date.