After an unprecedented joint effort to ensure health and care services can respond to the coronavirus pandemic, the message is: if you need medical help – of any kind – the NHS is here to help you.
All NHS organisations across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, working with local authority and emergency service partners, have been involved in the effort to ensure that enough capacity is available for people needing care, whatever illness or condition they may have.
This preparation means that the local NHS has coped with the additional pressures to date, and is well-placed to meet any future peaks in demand.
The recent planning has been about more than simply creating extra beds, or extra space – it means doing whatever is necessary so that all patients know that they can access the right staff, and the right equipment, when they need it.
With more intensive care capacity, more hospital beds, and increased ability to care for people who might normally be supported to live at home, the NHS in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has taken every precaution so that people can be assured their health service remains open for business.
Dr Andrew Bishop, the lead on bedded capacity during the pandemic for the NHS in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said: “We are proud of the work we have done to be as prepared as we can be, and keen that people know they can still rely on us to be there for them.
“Treating people with Covid-19 is hugely important. But so is treating people with mental health problems, with cancer, with heart disease, and all the other conditions people may have – both urgent, and less urgent. The reason we have gone to such lengths to increase our capacity is so that we are available to everyone, no matter what they need us for.
“If anyone needs to contact their local GP practice, they should do so. If anyone needs urgent advice, they can use the NHS 111 online service. If someone has a serious or life-threatening emergency, they should call 999. If you need prescriptions or vaccinations, if you are pregnant, if your child is poorly – all of these things still matter. These are extraordinary times, but people should know that their NHS is still there to help them, as ever.”