Cambs NHS urge patients to choose the right service as they seek ‘The Perfect January’


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HEALTH and social care services in Cambridgeshire are plotting to reduce the pressure on hospitals this winter by targeting what they have dubbed “The Perfect January”.

In January and February last year the number of people admitted to hospital over the age of 65 increased by 10 per cent on 2011.

This year, services are keen to ensure that patients choose the right NHS service at the right time.

Dr Geraldine Linehan, chair of Cambridgeshire Association to Commission Health (CATCH), said: “Winter illnesses always cause extra pressure on hospitals and emergency services, this January health and social care services are working together to tackle the problem.

“What we would like to achieve is ‘The Perfect January’ which would see patients getting the right treatment at the right time, in the right place.”

A test of the ‘Perfect Week’ was carried out in Peterborough in December. The event has meant some patients are now discharged earlier in the day, while it was established that there must be better communication between hospitals and community services.

GPs will run additional services in the community as part of the project to support patients with care needs outside of normal working hours.

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Home visiting services will be reviewed, while there will be more consultants available in the emergency departments of hospitals throughout January.

There will be better access to community nurses from the emergency department to ensure patients can be cared for at home and more facilities to support people with dementia and mental health problems.

The NHS has urged people to help them achieve “The Perfect January” by ensuring they choose the right service for their situation.

NHS Services available:

* Self-care can be used to treat many basic conditions at home by simply having a well-stocked medicine cabinet. You should ensure that you have enough paracetamol or aspirin, anti-diarrhoeal medicine, rehydration mixture, indigestion mixture, plasters, and a thermometer in your medicine cabinet.

* NHS Direct can be used if you think you need additional advice. NHS direct offers confidential information on all aspects of health and healthcare. You can visit the website at to check your symptoms, check hundreds of conditions and treatments and find telephone numbers and addresses for most NHS organisations online. Alternatively, you can telephone 0845 46 47.

* Pharmacists can give you advice on healthy living and how to treat minor ailments. You can find out details of your local pharmacist, including details of opening hours by calling NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or visit the website at

* You should call your GP if you have a minor illness or injury that needs treatment. They provide a range of services by appointment, including medical advice, examinations and prescriptions. An out-of-hours service is also available for urgent problems. To find your local GP surgery contact PALS in Peterborough on 01733 758584 or PALS in Cambridgeshire on 0800 279 2535 or 01223 725588.

* Cambridgeshire Minor Injuries Units are for minor injuries such as cuts and grazes, minor burns and scalds, bites and stings, strains and sprains and minor eye or ear problems. Your nearest minor injury unit is at:

* North Cambridgeshire Hospital, The Park, Wisbech PE13 3AB tel: 01945 488 068

* Princess of Wales Hospital, Lynn Road, Ely CB6 1DN tel: 01353 656 675

* Doddington Community Hospital, Benwick Road, Doddington PE15 OUG tel: 01354 644 243

* St Neots Health Centre, 24 Moores Walk, St Neots PE19 1AG tel: 01480 219317

* Accident and Emergency departments should only be used in a critical or life-threatening situation. A&E departments provide immediate emergency care for people who show the symptoms of serious illness or are badly injured. Dialling 999 and stating a medical emergency will result in a response vehicle being sent to you.

In Cambridgeshire, your nearest A&E department is at:

* Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QQ tel: 01223 245 151

* Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Hinchingbrooke Park, Huntingdon, PE29 6NT Tel: 01480 416416.

* Peterborough District Hospital, 3 Thorpe Road, Peterborough, PE3 6DA tel: 01733 874000.

* The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gayton Road, King’s Lynn, PE30 4ET Tel: 01553 613613.

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