When asked to write a piece on health for the summer edition of Penarth View, I racked my brain trying to think of a subject other than COVID-19. However, the truth of the matter is that it is dominating our health landscape, and rightly so. This pandemic has affected all of us, both directly, via increased hospital admissions, adjustments to our everyday lives, and indirectly, through the unfortunate cancellation of surgeries or treatments.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hijacked the public conversation from the rest of healthcare to such a degree, that A&E attendance has plummeted, health visitor interactions have gone down, vaccination appointments have been missed, and GP’s have found themselves with appointments that should have been made weeks ago.
The idea presented to us about flattening the curve, was to stop the NHS becoming overwhelmed, so it could continue to function as close to normal as possible. Moreover, flattening the curve was not intended as a reason to avoid using the NHS altogether. By doing this, we inadvertently apply more pressure to health professionals, who are facing the management and diagnosis of conditions that perhaps could have been mitigated if patients were seen at an earlier stage.
The fact is, we all need to work as a team, because now, more than ever, the NHS and the amazing members of the public need to be on the same page. The outpouring of generosity towards the NHS at this time has demonstrated how highly the public think of us. It is for this reason that I say COVID-19 has not closed the NHS. Remember, ignoring symptoms, or thinking that you’ll just rebook appointments at a later time, won’t do anyone a favour. There are provisions in place to deal with the times we live in, and we are ready to help you. After all, it’s why we decided to work in healthcare.
So, please, call your health visitor if you’re having problems breastfeeding, make an appointment to see your GP about that lump or rash, and keep that appointment to have your child vaccinated.
Stay safe, and for a full list of services available in your area visit https://111.wales.nhs.uk/localservices