A scheme helping vulnerable people to be treated at home and avoid unnecessary trips to emergency departments will be a massive help' in easing pressure on NHS Wales during the winter months, Health Minister Eluned Morgan has said.
The My Winter Health Plan' scheme, which will celebrate its fifth anniversary later this year and has been refreshed ahead of this winter period, offers an easy way for people with long-term physical or mental health conditions to share information with visiting health professionals so they get the right care for their personal circumstances.
This ensures in an emergency they can use this information to inform their decision making and discussions with patients about the right treatment options for them.
The scheme helps to empower people to take responsibility for their own health and care over winter by sharing key information in an easily accessible format.
This means more people can be supported and treated in the community wherever possible, without the need to be taken to hospital.
This in turn can avoid unnecessary trips to an emergency department, reduce admissions to hospital and ease pressures on bed capacity during challenging winter months.
Having this information easily at hand can be crucial during an emergency.
The scheme is aimed at anyone living with a long term physical or mental health problem, older people with ongoing health needs, anyone who may need support from health staff and registered carers and family members looking after people with long-term health conditions.
In an effort to raise awareness of the scheme an additional 20,000 plans will be distributed this winter, available from community pharmacies across Wales and downloadable from the NHS 111 Wales website.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan yesterday said:
This winter period has been one of the most challenging our health service has ever faced, with the impact of the omicron variant putting our hospitals under great strain as they battle winter pressures.
The My Winter Health Plan' scheme will be a massive help in ensuring healthcare professionals visiting people's homes this winter have the necessary information easily at hand to provide the right, personalised treatment and support for their needs.
Reducing unnecessary trips to an emergency department and hospital admissions will ease pressures on our health service, and ensure our dedicated NHS staff can continue delivering quality care to people when they need it the most.
We are doing all we can to support our health service and we would urge everyone to Help US, Help You this winter by considering how and when they access care.