NEIL Hamilton, AM for Mid & West Wales, and Leader of UKIP is urging his constituents to help reduce the pressure on the NHS this winter.

Mr Hamilton is backing a call from Hywel Dda University Health Board, who are encouraging people in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, to choose their healthcare service carefully.

Last week, the health board approved its 2019-20 winter plan, which includes operational measures and community interventions aimed at reducing pressure on emergency and scheduled care systems.

Mr Hamilton said: “It is vitally important people take a moment to think about their health and wellbeing, especially at this time of the year.

“Hywel Dda University Health Board are, quite rightly, asking the public to help look after our precious NHS resources and make sure they are seeking the correct health care service.

“We all know it is vital for patients, who have a genuine medial emergency, to be treated as soon as possible and the need to avoid ambulances queuing up outside our Emergency departments. Anything we can do to ease this situation should be supported.

“I would also urge anyone who is in a high risk group to have the flu jab. It takes seconds and can prevent weeks of debilitating illness.

“By being a bit more health aware and prepared we will can all ease the pressure on our over-stretched NHS.”

Some of the measures to be introduced by the health board include; An integrated nursing approach between the Out Of Hours service and 24/7 Acute Response Teams; Additional A&E staff to cover peaks in demand and support from the British Red Cross ‘Home from Hospital’ scheme; Additional community nursing; Acute Response Team resource and Pharmacy at the ‘front door’ of Emergency Departments; extended weekend opening.

Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda, said: “The way that we try to manage this is by adopting a whole-system approach, which brings together our acute hospitals, primary care and community services, ambulance service, local authorities and the third sector. We need everyone to play their part and help – and our public and patients are absolutely key to this.

“We have clear expectations about seeing and treating patients the way we want to, but we can’t do it alone and we urgently need the public to help us.”

For more information, advice and support on choosing the right healthcare service go to http://www.hywelddahb.wales.nhs.uk/winterwise.

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