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Call from doctors to use services wisely as the cold snap continues

Doctors across Bradford District and Craven are urging people to take care as the cold weather continues. NHS staff have been working very hard to ensure services continue uninterrupted while the snow has been falling, to ensure patients receive high quality care.

However, as the snow melts for some, minus temperatures and strong winds are due to move in, which can further increase the risk of illness or injury to vulnerable people and those who are out and about on icy pavements and roads.

Dr David Tatham, clinical lead for urgent and emergency care at NHS Bradford District and Craven CCGs said: “It’s tempting to think we’re ‘out of the woods’ now that the snow is beginning to melt back for some, but this week’s snowfall will be followed by extreme cold, ice and strong winds. 

“These conditions pose additional challenges for the health service as they increase the likelihood of slips, trips and falls, resulting in higher numbers of patients needing treatment for minor injuries.

“Prolonged cold weather also increases risks to vulnerable people including those who are older, or who have long-term conditions such as asthma, COPD or lung diseases.”


Accident and emergency (A&E) departments have been busy this week treating those who have fallen ill during the cold snap, with pressures felt throughout the system including at GP surgeries, in hospitals and at the ambulance service.

Dr Tatham added: “Our hospitals have taken steps to ensure we have extra staff available this weekend as we are expecting A&E departments at both Bradford Royal Infirmary and Airedale General Hospital to continue to be extremely busy.

“People are triaged when they arrive at A&E and are then treated depending on the severity of their illness or injury. You will not be seen more quickly than other people if you arrive in an ambulance and if you attend for a minor reason you could be in for a long wait or may find you are redirected to a more appropriate service for minor ailments.

“There are things we can all do to take care of ourselves and our loved ones when the temperature drops and making sure we use the most appropriate service for our needs will mean busy NHS staff can provide lifesaving treatment to those who really need it in an emergency.

“Make sure you wear sturdy footwear out in the snow and ice, allow plenty of time for your journey and only drive if it is essential, pop in to check on older or vulnerable friends or neighbours, keep your home at a minimum temperature of 18°C, wrap up warm (multiple layers are warmer than one thick layer) and make sure you have a well-stocked medicine cabinet. You can avoid the spread of common bugs such as norovirus, coughs or colds by washing your hands regularly, especially after every cough or sneeze, and binning your tissues immediately.”

A&E is not the only option for those seeking medical care this weekend. If you need urgent help but it’s not a life-threatening emergency, please call NHS 111 by dialing 111 on your landline or mobile telephone. Calls are free and lines are open 24 hours a day.


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