People in Oldham are being urged to do their bit to ease pressure on the local health and social care system.
With Covid-19 cases at record highs across the borough, the impact of increased infections and self-isolation is being felt heavily.
The Royal Oldham Hospital has already temporarily paused non-urgent surgeries and appointments, due to its increased numbers of patients with the virus, while in care homes, many are working additional hours to cover huge staff shortages.
Local GPs are also struggling with added pressures, as patients make more appointments for conditions that can be easily treated at home or at a nearby pharmacist.
Affected services are already doing their very best to prevent further disruption, but residents are also being urged to join in this collective effort to help avoid additional pressures.
Steps such as only visiting A&E in real emergencies and treating minor conditions at home or via your local pharmacy, that don’t normally require medical care or any treatment to get better, make a huge difference to hospitals and local practices alone.
Continuing to follow the latest Covid-19 guidance, as well as getting your vaccinations and testing before periods of high risk, also help to soften the impact the virus is having.
Councillor Zahid Chauhan OBE, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “Our system is under immense strain at the moment due to Covid-19, as we see our highest case numbers since the start of the pandemic.
“Staff are already mentally and physically drained from an extremely challenging couple of years and patients are also again now feeling the brutal impact of these pressures too, with many non-urgent operations and appointments on hold until the situation improves.
“Local GP surgeries are incredibly busy, and on top of this, we have our carers working additional shifts to cover for colleagues who are self-isolating, and this can be just as challenging for the people they care for, due to the change in their routines.
“That’s why I’m urging everyone to play their part in easing this pressure because we all have a role to play, particularly those who haven’t yet come forward for their vaccinations or booster.
“Boosters are now 88% effective at preventing you from ending up in hospital with Covid-19, according to the latest data, and to go against this just adds to the problems our local NHS is facing.”
Vaccine clinics continue to operate across multiple sites in Oldham throughout the week on a walk-in basis and residents are being encouraged to come for their first, second and booster doses.
People should also continue to get tested regularly, especially before periods of “high risk”, wash their hands, wear a face covering in public places and do their best to keep a social distance.
“We all have to pull together and be patient during this difficult time,” added Cllr Chauhan, who also works as a local GP in Failsworth.
“I know the disruption that’s been caused is far from ideal but if we do not act now, we are only making the situation worse for ourselves and others.
“Please take care, look after yourself and loved ones and play your part in protecting our health and social care system from the pressures it is currently facing.”
For the latest information on where you can get vaccinated or on where you can get tested, please visit www.oldham.gov.uk/Coronavirus