Help the NHS and care services to help you this festive season

Dear Gloucestershire residents,

We are sure you are aware by now of the unprecedented pressures facing the NHS and care services as we head into the Christmas and New Year period, with rising cases of seasonal illness, increasing numbers of people with complex needs and staffing challenges.

Through our comprehensive Winter Plan, which has been developed alongside service user representatives, we are working more closely than ever before to support services, respond as one at times of peak pressure and maintain the very best care for local people.

Our fantastic frontline professionals in GP practices, community services, hospitals and emergency care are doing a truly inspirational job, but they are doing this under intense pressure. Please spare a thought for those working across the festive period and please be kind and understanding if you come into contact with our services – they are giving their all to provide the very best care they can.

The NHS and care services will be there if you need them, but we are appealing to everyone to do what they can to follow some simple advice on healthcare, looking after yourself and family members and staying well wherever possible:

Help us to help you:

  1. Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you come down with a winter bug and do not feel well enough to do your normal activities. Follow simple self-care tips from and family or friends can get good advice from the community pharmacy – a great first port of call.
  2. If you’re ill or injured, it’s not life threatening and you’re unsure where to turn, use or call 111 for advice. The 111 phone service can book you into NHS services if needed. The local website and ASAP Glos NHS App can also guide you through self-care options and recommend the best service for you.
  3. Follow the latest advice throughout the holiday period on local NHS social media channels and websites, including NHS Gloucestershire.
  4. Please do everything you can, as a relative or carer of someone in hospital, to work with us to get patients home from hospital as quickly and as safely as possible, with additional support if necessary from your local NHS community services or adult social care teams.
  5. Wear a face mask in healthcare settings, wash your hands regularly and practice social distancing whenever you can.
  6. Prioritise your health and wellbeing this winter. Our Stay Well This Winter campaign pages offer advice, resources, and practical ways to manage through the weeks and months ahead. Information and advice to help conserve energy, save money and reach out if you are worried about your mental health and wellbeing are also available by visiting Gloucestershire’s Support Hub.
  7. Boost your immunity – if you are eligible, get your COVID-19 booster and flu vaccination without delay if you haven’t already. Find out how and keep in touch with developments via our Covid-19 portal.

We know things are tough out there with the cost of living and family worries, but we have a fantastic tradition in Gloucestershire for coming together and supporting each other when faced with challenging times. We know that communities across our great county will do so once again in 2023.

Thank you for your support and we wish you and your families the best of health this festive season.

Yours sincerely

Mary Hutton
Chief Executive
NHS Gloucestershire
Deborah Lee
Chief Executive
Gloucestershire Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Paul Roberts
Chief Executive
Gloucestershire Health and Care
NHS Foundation Trust
Will Warrender CBE
Chief Executive
South Western Ambulance
Service NHS Foundation Trust

Peter Bungard
Chief Executive
Gloucestershire County Council