Health and care organisations across Norfolk and Waveney are calling on people and communities to use and access the right health and care service for their health issue.
All local hospitals are incredibly busy caring for some very sick patients. For those who don’t need to use emergency departments, known by many as Accident and Emergency (A&E), health chiefs are calling for people to call NHS 111, visit their local pharmacy, minor injuries unit or walk-in centre.
Tricia D’Orsi, Director of Nursing, NHS Norfolk and Waveney, said: “Your local hospitals are extremely busy right now caring for some very sick patients. Our staff are working incredibly hard to provide the care and treatment that people need.
“To help our hospitals provide the care that people need, we really need those people who do not have life threatening conditions to use a range of services that exist elsewhere in communities across Norfolk and Waveney.
“NHS 111, local GPs, out of hours GPs, pharmacies, walk-in centres and minor injury units are available. If you are unsure which service you need to access, please call visit NHS 111 online or call 111.”
As always, the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care System (ICS) is determined to help keep people as safe as possible. Over the past few weeks, the health and care system has been supporting and aligned with the national approach to living with COVID, taking a proportionate approach to the use of face coverings. With COVID-19 case rates rising across most areas across Norfolk and Waveney, all health settings will temporarily reinstate use of face coverings in all buildings and clinical areas.
Patients who are not exempt from wearing a face covering should wear one, follow social distancing and hand hygiene guidance. If patients are exempt from wearing a mask, a face shield may be offered as an alternative. Wearing a face covering is an effective way of preventing the spread of infection, proving to be particularly useful in busy or crowded indoor spaces, which is particularly important when we know case rises are rising.
It’s also really important that anyone who is eligible for a vaccine and hasn’t yet come forward does so without delay. Those eligible can book an appointment to have their vaccine or attend a walk-in centre.
Dr Louise Smith, Director of Public Health, Norfolk County Council and Stuart Keeble, Director of Public Health, Suffolk County Council, said: “The virus has not gone away. We all need to live safely with it and that means taking sensible precautions when numbers rise.
“We would encourage people to wash their hands, practise social distancing, wear a face mask in healthcare settings and get vaccinated if they’ve not yet done so.”
Tricia D’Orsi added “Wearing face coverings is important, particularly when we see cases rise. We appreciate it can be frustrating, but it’s important to understand we do see some very sick and vulnerable patients, some of whom are not able to have the COVID-19 vaccination due to their conditions.
“By continuing to take reasonable and sensible measures against the virus we are helping to protect the most vulnerable in our communities and providing patients with greater reassurance.”
Local hospitals are also calling on family, friends and carers of those who are currently in hospital that have recovered following illness, injury or surgery to help ensure they can be discharged from hospital as early as possible.
In many cases, people are ready to be discharged and well enough to leave hospital, but unfortunately cannot be discharged due to a change in circumstances with their health and care needs, such as mobility or receiving low level support to care for themselves whilst they recover.
While some people awaiting discharge from hospital have complex health or care needs, all of whom will have appropriate care put in place, others may benefit from simple support from family and friends.
Tricia added: “As a result of safe, effective, compassionate care, many people are able to be discharged from hospital, but due to a number of reasons, cannot go home as temporary arrangements and support may not be in place.
“Friends, families and carers or individuals ready to leave hospital can help get people home quicker. No-one wants to say in hospital longer than they need to so if you are a family member of friend and feel you can help, please speak with the nurse in charge.”
James Bullion, Executive Director of Adults’ Social Services, Norfolk County Council, said: “We are doing everything we can to help people we support get home after a stay in hospital.
“Most people can go home – whether that’s the family home, a care home or supported living setting. But some people need some further support for a few days, and if they can’t get this, then they are having to stay in hospital.
“So, any families that can help in these circumstances will make a real difference in helping someone to come out of hospital.”
Helpful information is available about the range of local services that exist across Norfolk and Waveney on the new Integrated Care System website.