Vaccinations are vital to protect staff, their families and their patients, many of whom are particularly vulnerable to flu.
All hospitals face increased pressures during the winter months, with bugs like flu and Norovirus, accidents related to the cold weather and greater numbers of people being admitted with respiratory problems and other illnesses associated with colder temperatures all playing their part in increasing demand for our services.
As a major trauma centre The James Cook University Hospital in particular is busy all year around.
However, we would like to assure our patients we do carry out contingency planning for all our hospital services well ahead of the winter months in the knowledge that all our services are busier than usual during this time.
In recent years, the trust has invested in increased medical and nursing support and equipment aimed at helping us to treat patients more efficiently and ensure patients can be discharged as soon as they are well enough.
Our Rapid Access Frailty Assessment (RAFA) unit and discharge lounge also help with this, as well as our work with social care and third sector partners such as the Middlesbrough Staying Put Agency and Carers Together.
Patients can also help us by choosing the right services for their needs at this time of year, such as pharmacies, NHS 111, walk-in centres in North Ormesby and Eston, Redcar Primary Care Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit and the STAR GP service. This helps us to keep our emergency departments free for emergencies only.
As we see increasing numbers of elderly people in our hospitals at this time of year, encouraging independent elders to take good care of themselves and encouraging neighbours and relatives to visit elderly people can also help prevent hospital admissions; which can mean a lengthy stay in hospital for many elderly people.
You can also look out for Carol and Eric, the first of nine friendly faces who will be helping people to make the best use of the region’s NHS services this winter. Information will also be shared on Twitter @staywellNE
We hope these pages will provide a useful guide to staying well and where to get the most appropriate care for your needs during the winter months.
Sharing isn't always caring - help us to protect our patients and staff at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust against norovirus - the UK's most common stomach bug.
Have you ever been frustrated sitting in the waiting room of our emergency department while “nothing seems to be happening” and the queue just grows and grows? Think beyond those waiting room doors. Think Major Trauma Centre for the whole region.
The South Tees Access and Response (STAR) scheme has been set up by GPs to improve access to GP services outside the current core hours of care. The scheme extends GP opening hours providing access from 6.30pm to 9.30pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 8pm on weekends and bank holidays.
A new child health app available for all smartphones provides medical advice and reassurance at the fingertips of parents with children under 5. Parents and carers can now find NHS advice on many common childhood illnesses, so you know when you need to seek further medical advice from a pharmacy, GP or hospital - or how you can care for your child at home until they recover.
Are you and your home #winterready? Keeping warm during winter is one of the simplest things you can do to protect your health and Stay Well This Winter.
Information on infection prevention and control at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.