Be prepared for winter months, warns Hamilton

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info@newrytimes.com
Monday, December 14th, 2015
Community
Health Minister Simon Hamilton has urged people to prepare for the winter months ahead, while highlighting plans to deal with increased demand on the health service. winter-bluesEarlier this month, Hamilton welcomed an additional £47.6million for Health and Social Care (HSC), of which £40million was invested specifically to tackle waiting lists. He also announced £4million for HSC Trusts and primary care to manage increased demand during the busy winter months. Speaking to Newry Times, Hamilton said, “This £4million funding will be used to support capacity in a number of areas including increasing diagnostic capacity; additional bed capacity to support anticipated increases in demand; additional domiciliary care and nursing home placements; additional GP surgeries in-hours, additional GP, nursing and call handler support out of hours; and additional ambulance cover. “My Department works closely with the HSC Board (HSCB) and Trusts to ensure they have arrangements in place to effectively manage any additional demands on emergency departments and other services resulting from winter and unscheduled care pressures. The HSCB monitor service continuity and, should a prolonged spell of severe whether lead to a surge in activity, the HSCB, in consultation with the Department, can make the decision to escalate these arrangements.” The Minister said that health and social care (HSC) services come under increasing pressure during the winter months and our health services must prioritise resources to deal with urgent and emergency cases. He urged people to think carefully about how they use services, should they or their family become unwell or have an accident this winter. “Remember, emergency and 999 services are for life threatening and serious conditions. Before you dial 999 or go to your local Emergency Department, think how serious your condition is. He added, “There are other options, for example many common ailments can be dealt with at home or by seeking the advice of a pharmacist. GP and out-of-hours services can advise on more serious health concerns.”

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