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Health / Community can help to alleviate pressures on health and care service this winter

AS HEALTH and social services in Shetland prepare for a second winter dominated by the ongoing pandemic, a call has gone out to the community to continue to follow the Covid guidelines and look out for each other.

Presenting the winter plan for ensuring service sustainability to a meeting of the integration joint board (IJB) on Thursday morning, chief officer Brian Chittick said having a comprehensive plan in place would help to ensure risks are mitigated and services remain resilient through the period.

Chittick also said that islanders could help ease the pressure on health and social services by following the Covid guidelines and to regularly test, self-isolate when returning a positive Covid test, stick to social distancing and continue with a strict hand hygiene regime.

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IJB chief officer Brian Chittick. Photo: Shetland News

He referred to a recent mail drop to every household in the isles to help people access the “right professional help and conversation” and use the NHS inform website. It also advises on when to contact NHS24 on telephone 111.

He added: “That aside, there are always emergencies that arise, which will straight come to accident and emergency [in the Gilbert Bain Hospital], and what we are trying to do is to prioritise those cases.”

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But he also called on the community to be good neighbours and be mindful of those who are living on their own and who may feel isolated during the dark months of the year.

“From a social perspective, this winter in particular we will rely on the strengths and assets that we have in our community in Shetland,” he said.

“Even small things can make such a difference,” he said. “This is something that we have learned in the past.”

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