NHS in Leeds getting ready for winter surge in demand

From: Matt Storey, Programme Manager – Urgent Care, NHS Leeds North Clinical Commissioning Group.

WE are writing in response to Jayne Dowle’s column (Yorkshire Post, December 19) headlined “NHS is on critical list as a winter storm looms ahead”.

We welcome Jayne’s column which provides an overview of NHS urgent and emergency care nationally. We wanted to reassure your readers that in Leeds we are preparing ourselves for any surge in demand this winter and have invested significant resources across the health care system to help us manage any additional pressures.

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We wanted to let your readers know that here in Leeds we have urgent and emergency care services that tend to perform well against national parameters, for example on Wednesday, December 18, both Leeds A&E departments achieved 100 per cent of the stringent A&E four hour wait target. However, we know that there are challenges in the system and plenty of work to do.

The clinical commissioning groups in Leeds have initiated a complete system-wide review of Urgent and Emergency Care services, which is looking to develop a more sustainable urgent care system that is responsive to the needs of Leeds people and delivers “joined up” care, rather than making patients fit in with historical healthcare provision. As part of this review we are actively seeking the views of patients who have used our services. If anyone would like to provide feedback they can visit www.leeds.nhs.uk/ucleeds.

We also want to pick up on Jayne’s advice which correctly states that people should not choose A&E as a default option should they fall ill or get injured.

This winter we have launched a campaign to encourage people to make the most of the range of services available to them or take greater care of their own health. This means that you could visit your local pharmacy, go along to a minor injury unit or call NHS 111 for more minor ailments and injuries so that our emergency care resources are freed up for those who really need them.

Often visiting or using other services mean you are likely to be seen and treated quicker than you would if you attended A&E for conditions that are medically described as minor. We want to encourage your readers to find out more about local services and also read useful self care information on our new website: www.leeds.nhs.uk/isitforme.

We want to once again reassure your readers that should they need urgent or emergency care services over this winter (and beyond) significant extra work is going on behind the scenes to ensure that the population of our city gets the best care that the system can possibly deliver.

We hope all your readers have a safe and healthy new year.

From: Robert Craig, Priory Road, Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset.

THE Francis Report on what went wrong at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust points to another reason why the centralisation of government in London is no longer fit for purpose.

A devolved northern government in Leeds would be less overloaded with business and better able to exercise oversight of any future Mid Staffordshire.