Feel better this winter – have your flu jab

Published on Dec 06, 2022

Health officials are urging people to act now to protect themselves and their loved ones against flu this winter.

Eligible groups, such as the over 50s, pregnant women and those with serious health conditions are being encouraged to take up the offer of a free NHS flu vaccine as soon as possible.

There has been a significant increase in flu cases across our region over the last fortnight and this is likely to spread further between now and the festive period. Local hospitals are also seeing a high number of patients, of varying ages, being admitted with flu.

For most people, flu is a very unpleasant illness that can knock even the most healthy of us off our feet. For more vulnerable people, it can cause serious and life-threatening complications.

“Flu isn’t just a bad cold,” explained Professor Derek Ward, Director of Public Health for Northern Lincolnshire. “While most people get better on their own with rest, keeping warm and drinking plenty of fluids, they’re still likely to experience a few days of unpleasant symptoms such as a high temperature, head and body aches, difficulty sleeping and exhaustion. This is not something people would want to experience, especially over the festive period. GPs do not recommend antibiotics for flu because they will not relieve your symptoms or speed up your recovery.”

If you feel unwell with flu, it is advised you rest, keep warm, take ibuprofen or paracetamol to lower your temperature and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. People are also being asked to keep indoor rooms well ventilated if possible, without making them too cold.

A pharmacist can give treatment advice and recommend flu remedies. Call a pharmacy or contact them online before going in person. You can get medicines delivered or ask someone to collect them for you.

Professor Derek Ward continued: “There is also the chance of passing flu on to someone who isn’t in good health and this could cause them real problems. Many people need to go into hospital due to flu and sadly some will die. Flu can also cause real difficulties for hospital services, closing wards and causing operations and other treatments to be cancelled.”

To reduce the risk of spreading flu:

  • Have the flu jab as soon as possible (available free to certain groups via the NHS and for anyone – for a small fee – at their local pharmacy)
  • wash your hands often with warm water and soap
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • bin used tissues as quickly as possible
  • try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities.

Flu vaccines are safe and effective. They’re offered every year on the NHS to help protect people at risk of flu and its complications. The vaccine is free for frontline NHS staff and care staff who are not offered it by their employer.

A free flu vaccine is given to adults who:

  • are 50 and over (including those who will be 50 by 31 March 2023)
  • have certain health conditions
  • are pregnant
  • are in long-stay residential care
  • receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
  • live with someone who is more likely to get a severe infection due to a weakened immune system, such as someone living with HIV, someone who has had a transplant, or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis

You can have an NHS flu vaccine at:

  • your GP surgery
  • a pharmacy offering the service (if you’re aged 18 or over)
  • some maternity services if you’re pregnant
  • Sometimes, you may be offered a flu vaccine at a hospital appointment.

Flu is very infectious and easily spread to other people. You’re more likely to give it to others during the first five days of symptoms. Flu is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.

Professor Ward added: “Members of the public have helped reduce the spread of respiratory illness and saved countless lives over the past two years by following precautions – and we thank them for that. This winter, we all need to keep this up.”

School-aged children will be offered a vaccine at school or a community clinic. The children’s nasal spray flu vaccine is given to:

  • children aged 2 or 3 on 31 August 2022 (born between 1 September 2018 and 31 August 2020)
  • all primary school children
  • some secondary school children
  • children aged 2 to 17 with certain health conditions

Babies and children aged 6 months to 2 years with certain health conditions will be offered a flu vaccine injection instead of the nasal spray.

Children are very good at spreading flu. Vaccinating your child will not only protect them against flu, but will reduce its transmission to others and, therefore, protect your family, friends and vulnerable members of your community.

Protect yourself and your NHS this winter

Published on Oct 20, 2022

The NHS is urging people to get vaccinated as soon as possible in the fight against both flu and COVID-19 this winter.

Health bosses are emphasising that vaccination is the best way to protect people from serious illness and prevent the local health and care system from being overwhelmed.

After what was the busiest summer on record, the NHS is preparing for a very challenging winter – a period in which respiratory illnesses are more widespread.

For many, the winter period can be a source of concern and worry. People with respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma, can be particularly susceptible to the effects of cold weather, finding themselves shorter of breath and coughing more than usual. In addition, the risk of catching COVID-19 and flu this winter remains significant – with cases and hospital admissions rising across the region. Both viruses can be life-threatening. For some people, catching COVID-19 and flu at the same time increases the risk of serious illness, especially older people or those who already have health conditions.

As a result, all hospitals, GP surgeries and other healthcare settings across Humber and North Yorkshire, including Scunthorpe General Hospital and Diana Princess of Wales Hospital, Grimsby, are asking visitors to wear face coverings (unless exempt) and to wash their hands regularly. For further details on this, please click here.

The number of patients occupying a hospital bed with COVID-19 has risen by 50% in the last month – with modelling suggesting half of beds across the Humber and North Yorkshire health and care system could be taken up by patients suffering from respiratory illnesses. It is therefore very important that everyone eligible, is vaccinated for COVID-19 and has had their autumn booster.

Even for the fit and healthy, people can still catch these viruses and spread them to more vulnerable people around them. Some of the people you meet may be at greater risk and it’s easy to pass these viruses on without knowing.

Professor Derek Ward, Director of Public Health for Northern Lincolnshire said: “We expect to see a wave of COVID-19 in Northern Lincolnshire during October/November and possibly another in January. There’s also the risk of the region being hit with a wave of flu cases at the same time so it’s particularly important that people take up the offer of vaccinations as soon as they can. Please also remember the basics – hands, face, space and fresh air. They protect against COVID-19, flu and lots of other nasty viruses that can make you feel quite unwell.”

The actions people willingly took during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic saved countless lives and made sure our health and care services were able to cope with large numbers of people falling ill. The NHS is calling for a similar effort this winter, where possible, so it can help care for and protect the most vulnerable patients in our community.

“This winter, we need you to keep doing everything you can to keep each other safe,” said Dr Satpal Shekhawat, North Lincolnshire GP.

“Health and care services in Northern Lincolnshire, like everywhere, are already extremely busy. We do expect to see more cases of COVID-19 in the coming weeks as people mix freely again and spend more time indoors as the weather gets colder. The risk of catching COVID-19 is highest indoors and in crowded places.

“More people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the pandemic. The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn or early winter before it starts spreading.

“You can help though. Your actions during the pandemic made an enormous difference and we need people to look out for each other in the same way again.”

People aged 50 and over, pregnant women, carers, frontline health and care workers, care home residents and people of all ages who have a weakened immune system or live with someone who has can get a seasonal COVID-19 booster. For more details about the autumn booster, please see A guide to the COVID-19 autumn booster – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The COVID-19 boosters are highly effective at increasing immunity and, offering a further dose to those at higher risk of severe illness this autumn, will significantly reduce the risk of hospitalisations and deaths over the winter.

Visit the national booking service: www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination

Most of the groups above will have also now been offered a free flu jab, including frontline health staff and staff employed by the following types of social care providers without employer led occupational health schemes: a registered residential care or nursing home; registered domiciliary care provider; a voluntary managed hospice provider; direct payment (personal budgets) or personal health budgets, such as personal assistants.

Younger people with some long-term health conditions are also able to get a free NHS flu jab, and since Friday 14 October, booking has opened for those aged 50 and over. If you are eligible, you do not need to wait for an invite to book an appointment. Primary school children are currently being vaccinated through the in-school programme, so make sure to complete the consent form provided via your child’s school, with years 7-9 at secondary school due to receive their flu vaccines later in the year. Pre-school age children aged two to three will also receive an invitation from their GP if they haven’t already.

You can find out about flu jab eligibility by visiting: Flu vaccine – NHS (www.nhs.uk).

DO

  • make sure you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or get your seasonal booster if eligible
  • have a flu jab this year
  • wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly
  • Catch a sneeze or cough in a tissue and dispose of it in the bin or flush it
  • open doors and windows to let fresh air in when meeting people inside
  • consider wearing a face covering in crowded indoor places
  • keep an eye on more vulnerable friends, relations, or neighbours
  • regularly clean surfaces you touch often

Don’t

  • touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
  • visit older or vulnerable people if you’re poorly (this includes if you have a fever, sickness or diarrhoea)

Remember, while there are cases of COVID-19 about, there’s still a risk you can catch it or pass it on, even if you’re fully vaccinated or you’ve had the virus before.

COVID-19 vaccination national booking service: www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination

Health and care collaboration to ease pressure on urgent care services this winter

Published on Oct 07, 2022

NHS and care services across Humber and North Yorkshire are under huge pressure – with more than 1,000 people a day attending emergency departments in the region.

This pressure has significantly increased over the last week – especially in hospitals and GP surgeries – and is compounded by rising cases of Covid and flu.

Despite the challenges, frontline staff and organisations across the region are working together, and tirelessly, to give patients the best possible care they can.

Stephen Eames, Chief Executive, Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership (HCP) said: “We are working together, as partners in health and care, across the Humber and North Yorkshire to address some of the key challenges in our system.

“As a partnership we are continuing to prioritise a recruitment drive across health and social care ahead of winter – with the aim of being one workforce.”

As well as boosting our workforce , lower category ambulance calls are being diverted to community services (single point of access) where healthcare professionals can signpost patients to a more convenient service for them, if they do not need to attend hospital.

Stephen Eames said: “Ambulance services across England have been under considerable strain all year and there is no straightforward solution to ease this, but as one measure, additional paramedic staff are being located where they are needed the most to support ambulance crews with patient handover and helping ambulances get away quicker to respond to emergency calls. We also have Hospital and Ambulance Liaison Officers at each hospital helping maintain patient safety standards and again helping with handover times.”

Furthermore, extra discharge rounds have been added in hospitals in a bid to identify more patients who are ready to be discharged home without needing a care package. Mental health support and ‘crisis house’ services have also been bolstered across the region.

“Our GPs and practice nurses are also working incredibly hard to give extended access to patients,” continued Professor Eames. “In fact, we are seeing more primary care appointments available to patients than ever before. A patient that needs to be seen the same day and face-to-face, will be seen that day.

“We continue to see thousands of patients a week across our region book a GP appointment and then not attend and I would urge people to cancel their appointment if it is no longer wanted. That consultation can then be given to a patient who has an urgent need.”

While many patients in hospital are very unwell, health and care services are urging people to seek other health services if their condition is not serious or life-threatening:

Stephen Eames added: “We face a vast number of challenges this winter, that threaten to be as great as the challenges of the pandemic. It requires an extraordinary response from all of us in the Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership – working together.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is involved in our system working long hours, and determinedly, to improve patient care, especially our frontline colleagues, and indeed the public for their understanding at this extremely challenging time.”

New mental health house supporting people in crisis

Published on

Local residents who are struggling will receive a timely boost after a new mental health support facility opened in central Scunthorpe in September.

Haven House, which is provided by North Lincolnshire Mind, offers crucial short-term support for adults experiencing a mental health crisis, who can be supported in a non-clinical setting.

The house, which has four bedrooms and spacious communal areas downstairs, has been designed to feel homely and offer an escape, whilst being in a safe space. The layout and design of the house were developed following feedback from previous mental health service users.

Once referred into the service by the mental health crisis team, patients are offered one-to-one support and staff will work with them to develop a personalised care plan. Each person’s stay is expected to be short-term, anything from 48-hours, up to two-weeks; but each stay is tailored to individual need.

Residents can also play board games and cards, tackle puzzles, watch television and will have the opportunity to learn how to cook if they wish. There is also a garden to get fresh air and exercise. Staff can signpost to other services, such as financial or housing support, to assist with the individual’s long-term goals for when they leave the house, with these social aspects considered in their personalised care planning. Staff are also able to refer other teams in, for the individual to receive home-based treatment.

Jason Coy, Haven Crisis Prevention Lead at North Lincolnshire Mind, said: “We set up the house to be homely – we didn’t want to replicate a clinical environment. We needed it to be somewhere people could come and have time away, while we help put support in place and turn things around for them.

“The service is not only supporting people in the community, but hopefully easing pressures on hospital beds within the acute setting and A&E.

He added: “When people visit us here for the short periods that they’ll be with us, we will be looking to support not only with their mental health and getting them through their immediate crisis – but to also put the foundations in place to help them stay in the community and stay safe and well for the future.

“Haven House has the potential to do really well for the local community.”

For further information about Haven House or other services provided by North Lincolnshire Mind, please visit www.nlmind.org or contact support@sdmind.org.uk.

New Scunthorpe GP practice extension unveiled by 105-year-old patient

Published on Oct 06, 2022

Cambridge Avenue Medical Centre in Scunthorpe unveiled its new building extension, with 105-year-old patient Mrs Winifred Wells cutting the ribbon to mark the extension officially open. 

 

The construction work has been ongoing for two years and was designed to provide better services in-house for patients and offer more space to work with their primary care network (PCN).

 

The extension has created a spacious reception area for patients, three additional consulting rooms, five admin offices and extra car parking spaces for staff and patients.

 

Members of the Patient Participation Group (PPG), retired partners, staff and patients were invited to the opening on Wednesday, September 14, and offered a tour around the new facilities. 

 

Stephanie Grant, Financial Manager at Cambridge Avenue Medical Centre, said: “We’re delighted to be able to unveil our extension finally, and this will allow us to work better with our PCN and house their staff, as well as being able to look at other services and provide them in-house, which will ultimately be better for the patients. 

 

“Our goal is to provide a place where our patients’ needs are taken care of in one place, to save them going to different facilities. 

 

“We would like to thank our patients for all their support and understanding over the last two years, which has been difficult for all.”

 

Kay Dawson, Chair of Cambridge Avenue’s PPG, said: “I’m excited for both the surgery and the patients as I think it is such a fantastic building which is up to date with the latest health standards, there is so much more space, and the extension has created such a welcoming atmosphere. 

 

“I want to thank all the staff and patients, as we have all had to put up with the building work over the two years, but it has been well worth the wait. The future for the practice looks very bright.”

 

For more information about Cambridge Avenue Medical Centre, please visit www.cambridgeavenuemedicalcentre.nhs.uk.

 

Pharmacy opening times in North Lincolnshire – Monday 19 September 2022

Published on Sep 16, 2022

Monday, 19 September has been declared a national bank holiday to mark the date of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral.

Please see below the pharmacies that will be open on the upcoming bank holiday.

As qualified healthcare professionals, pharmacists can offer clinical advice and over the counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses.

Urgent and emergency NHS services will still be there for you and your family’s needs during this day of mourning. This includes out of hours GP appointments, by calling NHS 111 with an urgent need first. If you need help or advice, please visit 111.nhs.uk. A number of pharmacies will also be open and we will publish details of locations and opening times as soon as they are available.

Remember, emergency services are extremely busy saving lives and you should only ring 999 or attend A&E in a medical emergency.

If you or a loved one have an emergency mental health need, please call the RDaSH Mental Health support (Crisis Team) on 0800 015 0211. They also have a text service for anyone unable to use the standard telephone line (i.e. deaf or hard of hearing); you can text 07918 372894.

Thank you.

Bank holiday arrangements – Monday 19 September 2022

Published on Sep 14, 2022

Monday, 19 September has been declared a national bank holiday to mark the date of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral.

Your GP practice will be closed to allow staff and patients to pay their respects to Her Majesty with the rest of the nation.

To avoid any delays in getting your regular medicines, please order any repeat prescriptions you may need over the weekend as soon as possible. You can order repeat prescriptions through the NHS App or through your GP practice.

Urgent and emergency NHS services will still be there for you and your family’s needs during this day of mourning. This includes out of hours GP appointments, by calling NHS 111 with an urgent need first. If you need help or advice, please visit 111.nhs.uk. A number of pharmacies will also be open and we will publish details of locations and opening times as soon as they are available.

Remember, emergency services are extremely busy saving lives and you should only ring 999 or attend A&E in a medical emergency.

If you or a loved one have an emergency mental health need, please call the RDaSH Mental Health support (Crisis Team) on 0800 015 0211. They also have a text service for anyone unable to use the standard telephone line (i.e. deaf or hard of hearing); you can text 07918 372894.

Thank you.

August Bank Holiday pharmacy opening times in North Lincolnshire

Published on Aug 17, 2022

A number of pharmacies will be open on the upcoming Bank Holiday.

As qualified healthcare professionals, pharmacists can offer clinical advice and over the counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses.

Remember to stay at home if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, no matter how mild.

Symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

To protect others if you have symptoms, stay at home. Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

Life-saving vaccination programme up for national award

Published on Aug 08, 2022

The life-saving vaccine rollout programme in North Lincolnshire has been shortlisted for a prestigious national honour.

The campaign has been shortlisted for this year’s eagerly anticipated Health Service Journal awards.

The Vaccine Programme Award recognises excellence in the planning and delivery of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

The success of North Lincolnshire’s vaccination programme is a collaborative effort between what was previously known an NHS North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, North Lincolnshire Council, Safecare Network, North Lincolnshire GP practices, pharmacies and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Foundation Trust.

The joint project enabled North Lincolnshire’s largest vaccination centre in the heart of Scunthorpe to open, and the barriers of language, ethnicity and socio-economic factors that prevented our population from getting the vaccine were challenged.

The programme was exclusive to all and excluded no one, with staff working tirelessly to encourage vaccine confidence among our culturally diverse communities via videos and leaflets translated into several languages, as well as setting up outreach sessions to take the vaccines to people in the community – including mosques, gurdwaras, the homeless and workplaces.

Dr Satpal Shekhawat, local GP and Senior Responsible Officer for the programme, said: “It is terrific news that we have been shortlisted, and that the collaborative work has been recognised.

“I would like to thank all the partners who worked tirelessly on this project, and for coming together to make the vaccination programme a reality – without the help of all the partners, it would not have been possible.

Dr Shekhawat added: “Despite all the challenges we faced with the pandemic, the vaccination programme has been invaluable to the way we work and has set a precedent for how we will continue to work in the future and establish new projects to benefit the people and our communities ultimately.

“It undoubtedly saved lives, that may otherwise have not been saved.

“We won’t stop here though as we have an important autumn booster programme to rollout ahead of a challenging winter. We aim to do the same again and more.

Peter Thorpe, Chief Executive of North Lincolnshire Council, added:

“The vaccine rollout programme was a game changer in the fight against Covid-19. It saw all partners coming together quickly and effectively to deliver an unprecedented programme to keep people safe and well in North Lincolnshire.

“I am delighted that this hard work and collaboration has been recognised nationally, especially of our clear ambition to be as inclusive as possible to make sure all parts of our community benefitted from the vaccine”.

“We will continue to work collaboratively across the health and care sectors in North Lincolnshire to improve health outcomes and reduce health inequalities for local people.”

The full list of nominees for the HSJ Awards 2022 is available here: https://awards.hsj.co.uk/shortlist-2022.

Winners will be selected ahead of the 2022 HSJ awards ceremony, which is due to be held at Evolution London on 17 Thursday November 2022.

Spring and Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday pharmacy opening times in North Lincolnshire

Published on May 23, 2022

A number of pharmacies will be open on the upcoming Bank Holidays.

As qualified healthcare professionals, pharmacists can offer clinical advice and over the counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses.

Remember to stay at home if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, no matter how mild.

Symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

To protect others if you have symptoms, stay at home. Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.