Wintry conditions, winter bugs – as usual at this time of year, the NHS is geared-up to cope with more emergency patients than normal.
Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh NHS Trust manages your local hospitals including Royal Albert Edward Infirmary as well as those at Leigh and Wrightington. The Trust is also responsible for the Thomas Linacre Centre in Wigan town centre which is a dedicated outpatients department. The Trust will ensure key services at all facilities are maintained during the winter period as tried and tested plans are in place to respond to peak demands.
Staff rotas have been designed to encourage and support staff working over the winter period; training schedules have been adjusted and certain limitations placed on annual leave over peak periods to make sure patients’ needs are met.
The Trust can also draw on a ‘nurse bank’ for extra resources and get additional nursing support for the Accident & Emergency Department.
Emergency Hospital Services
The accident and emergency facility at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan will be accessible 24 hours every day throughout the festive period.
Staffing levels are set to cope with expected patient demand, with the flexibility to expand as required.
No routine ‘elective’ surgery will be booked for a short period around Christmas to help accommodate any increase in emergency cases.
Hospital Clinics Opening Times
All Trust clinics will be open 9am to 5pm, but will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
The A & E Department at Wigan Infirmary is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year.
Hospital visiting times
It is advisable to check hospital visiting times with the individual wards concerned via the main switchboard number 01942 244000.
Further information on the Trust and services provided at each facility can be found on the Trust’s web site at: NHS Trust (external link)
Trust reduces infection rates
Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust has made excellent progress against two key priority areas for Trusts this year - to cut Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) healthcare acquired infections and to reduce waiting times to 18 weeks for patients.
The trust’s C difficile rates are currently among the lowest in the North West and show an enormous drop compared to last year.
In addition to this, MRSA bacteraemia rates in the trust’s hospitals have also reduced. This has resulted in improving the quality of care provided and has contributed to the improvement in mortality rates.
The trust has reported that over 92 per cent of patients who required admission to hospital, and 95 per cent of patients requiring outpatient care, started their treatment within 18 weeks of GP referral.
A spokesman said: “These are just a couple of examples where staff effort is contributing significantly to patient quality and safety.”
Public can help prevent spread of virus
Residents are being urged to help prevent the spread of the unpleasant Norovirus which causes severe vomiting and diahorrea.
Norovirus affects between 600,000 and a million people in the UK each year.
It can be a nasty experience for those affected but it is usually a short-lived infection – people normally recover within 12 to 60 hours.
Health experts in Wigan have issued advice to lessen the impact of so-called winter vomiting disease on individuals and places like hospitals, care homes and schools. People with winter vomiting symptoms should:
- Stay away from work or school until free from symptoms for at least 48 hours.
- Not visit friends or relatives in hospital or residential care homes.
- Not visit a GP or accident and emergency unit. You will recover from the infection without treatment (However, elderly people or the very young can become dehydrated and if this is the case they, their family or friends should call NHS Direct or their GP).
- Drink plenty to replace lost fluids (non-alcoholic). If symptoms persist for more than 48 hours call your GP or NHS Direct.
- Do not handle or prepare food until you have been symptom free for 48 hours.
- Wash hands thoroughly and regularly at all times, but especially after visiting the toilet and before eating.
- Maintain good personal hygiene, particularly in relation to using the toilet.