Health and care services work together on winter plan for Bishop's Stortford
Health and care organisations across Hertfordshire and west Essex are planning for winter together for the first time.
The East of England ambulance service, Hertfordshire and Essex county councils, the area’s three acute hospitals – Princess Alexandra in Harlow, Lister in Stevenage and Watford General - clinical commissioners, mental health trusts and NHS 111 want to work more closely.
Beverley Flowers, chief executive of East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, who is leading on urgent and emergency care for the Hertfordshire and west Essex STP, said: “Every winter, the health and care needs of the population place increasing demands on services which are already under pressure. By working together as a partnership across the whole of Hertfordshire and west Essex, we're doing all we can to ensure that people get the help they need, when they need it.
“For the first time, we have a single winter health plan, designed to increase the resilience of essential services, anticipate issues that might arise and plan the way that health and care services will be delivered during this busy period.
"By encouraging our hospitals and care services to work together through a mutual aid agreement and rolling out a live information ‘dashboard’ to help flag up pressure points in the system, we aim to provide high-quality services that our 1.5 million population can rely on.
“We heard about plans to encourage all front-line staff to have flu jabs as well as communication strategies to help the most vulnerable. We want all our population, especially older people, to get early help if they start to feel unwell.
“There will be a range of campaigns running over the next few months to help people make informed choices about which service to use in the first instance to get the health and care they need. People can ‘Help Us Help You’ by using NHS 111, pharmacies or the new GP extended access appointments wherever possible.”