HEALTH leaders are urging the public to take sensible steps to keep themselves and others safe this weekend amid sustained pressures on local services.

Demand for health and care services, rising Covid-19 levels, continued high volumes of 999 calls and other factors mean dedicated teams face ongoing challenges as they work tirelessly to support patients.

These challenges are compounded by the forecast increasing temperatures in the coming days.

It comes as latest figures show more than 9,300 people have attended Emergency Departments across the area in the last week alone – almost one a minute.

Dr Matt Nisbet, GP and partner member at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Board, said: “Local health and care services are under extreme pressure and we are incredibly grateful to everyone working across the local health and care system to ensure patients continue to receive safe, high quality care.

“There are some steps our communities can take to help us help them. The NHS is here for you, but please think carefully before dialling 999 or attending an Emergency Department. If you need urgent care but it is not a life-threatening emergency please contact NHS 111 who will support you to get the care you need. You can also speak to your GP or pharmacist or visit an Urgent Treatment Centre for illness and injuries that are urgent but not life threatening.

“Please do take care in the sun any if you have vulnerable family members, friends and/or neighbours, please do ensure they are aware of how they can keep themselves protected from the hot weather.”

The main risks posed by a heatwave are:

• not drinking enough water (dehydration)

• overheating, which can make symptoms worse for people who already have problems with their heart or breathing

• heat exhaustion and heatstroke

A heatwave can affect anyone, but the most vulnerable people are:

• older people – especially those over 75

• those who live on their own or in a care home

• people who have a serious or long term illness – including heart or lung conditions, diabetes, kidney disease, Parkinson's disease or some mental health conditions

• those who may find it hard to keep cool – babies and the very young, the bed bound, those with drug or alcohol addictions or with Alzheimer's disease

• people who spend a lot of time outside or in hot places – those who live in a top floor flat, the homeless or those whose jobs are outside

Tips on self-care generally are available here. More information on how to cope in hot weather is available on the NHS website here.

Meanwhile anyone who eligible who has not yet taken up the offer of a COVID-19 jab is urged to do so as soon as possible. The offer is not time limited and information on where to get the vaccine is available by calling the Hampshire and Isle of Wight COVID-19 helpline on 0300 561 0018 (open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm at weekends). Alternatively more information is available here.



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