Are you winter ready? - DMHG campaign aims to arm public with the tools to stay healthy this winter

Tallaght Hospital is the pilot site for the new campaign; alerting patients to community health services and alternatives to Emergency Department (ED) attendance

Group Winter Ready Shot‘Are You Winter Ready?’ is the question the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group (DMHG) is asking of its staff, patients and wider public as part of the Group’s Winter Ready campaign. The campaign was launched today (26/10/2017) at Tallaght Hospital, where DMHG Acting CEO, Trevor O’Callaghan was joined by the CEO of Tallaght Hospital David Slevin alongside hospital and local community healthcare professionals to officially start the campaign.

This campaign, which will run from October to the end of February, is a public information campaign designed to empower patients of the Hospital and the wider public to better manage their health to ensure that they stay healthy this winter. The core message of the campaign for staff, patients and public is to Protect, Prepare and Prevent the impacts of winter illness.

The initiative launches with targeted health messaging to encourage staff, patients and wider community in Tallaght Hospital to get the flu vaccine in order to reduce the risk of contracting influenza this winter.

The campaign also recognises that flu is just one of the common illnesses which can impact on public health during winter. To this end, it will also provide support and advice on avoiding contracting other conditions such as vomiting bugs or winter colds.
The campaign recognises that winter is the time when many people, particularly those in at risk categories such as those over 65 or those with underlying health issues, become ill from viruses or other infections.

When this happens, it’s key that patients can secure the most suitable treatment in the fastest time and in the most appropriate healthcare setting.

Hospitals across the health service are already very busy places and waiting times for treatment in our Emergency Departments can be long, particularly for patients with less severe symptoms. The campaign aims to educate people on how to stay healthy and out of hospital and use alternative pathways where possible.

The first phase of the campaign launches today, encouraging hospital staff and the public to avail of the flu vaccination. The remaining phases of the campaign will be rolled out between now and the end of January/early February when there is the highest level of flu in circulation in the community.

Additional components of the campaign include public health information talks and the provision of information and support by local health experts such as local GPs, pharmacists and social workers.

Commenting at the launch, Acting DMHG CEO Trevor O’Callaghan, noted: “The winter period provides a challenging period for hospitals, particularly in our Emergency Departments.

We want to encourage everyone to better manage their health and stay healthy in the first instance and thereafter, be informed of the health services available in their communities, how to access them, and where, depending on their condition, is most appropriate for them.

This message is about ensuring that those with the greatest clinical need can be treated in our Emergency Departments, in the fastest time, and those with less severe conditions can be cared for just as well in other healthcare settings. This in no way seeks to discourage patients from attending our Emergency Departments, where clearly necessary, but rather, for some with less severe conditions to first consider, where they can best be treated.”

CEO of Tallaght Hospital David Slevin also noted: “At Tallaght Hospital we recognise the importance of empowering our community to lead healthier lives. Patients and public need to be supported in doing this by having access to health information to achieve this objective and also knowing where to go if they require health services, whether in the community or in our hospitals.

While the winter period will be a period of intense activity and increased demands on services at our hospital, management and staff have been planning and working to mitigate these pressures and ensure that patient quality of care is maintained.
However, a key objective of this campaign is to implement solutions to tackle the challenges hospitals face, beyond just what happens within our hospital walls. We strongly support this objective and welcome the opportunity to contribute to this campaign. It supports and underpins the work Tallaght Hospital is already undertaking to build partnerships with primary and community care providers to develop healthier communities leading to reduced and shorter inpatient hospital stays.”

The first public talk takes place this evening in the Institute of Technology Tallaght – the title ‘Are You Winter Ready?’ will look at the best way to Plan, Prepare and Prevent and be Winter Ready. Speakers on the night include a number of local-based healthcare experts such as Professor Stephen Lane, Consultant Respiratory Consultant at Tallaght Hospital, Local GP Catherine Wilkinson, Eimear Digan, Senior Dietician and Martina Mc Govern, Senior Social Work Practitioner. ENDS. 

About Dublin Midlands Hospital Group
The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group comprises seven hospitals: St James’s Hospital, Coombe Women’s and Infants University Hospital, Tallaght Hospital, St Luke's Oncology Radiation Network, Naas General Hospital, Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise and Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore. Encompassing the counties of Dublin, Kildare, Laois and Offaly, the DMHG has a catchment population of 800,000, with over 11,000 staff.

About Tallaght Hospital
Tallaght Hospital is one of Ireland’s largest acute teaching hospitals, providing child-health, adult, psychiatric and age-related healthcare on one site. The hospital has 495 adult beds and 67 paediatric bed with 2,600 people on staff. The Hospital is a provider of local, regional and national specialities. It is also a national urology centre, the second largest provider of dialysis services in the country and a regional orthopaedic trauma centre.

Tallaght Hospital is one of the two main teaching hospitals of Trinity College Dublin - specialising in the training and professional development of staff in areas such as nursing, health and social care professionals, emergency medicine and surgery, amongst many others. Tallaght Hospital is part of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group which serves a population of over 1.2 million across seven counties.

A new satellite centre is to be built at Tallaght Hospital as part of the National Children’s Hospital project as a key element of an integrated clinical network for paediatric services nationally.

The Hospital’s Emergency Departments catered for 49,512 Adult Attendances and 33,717 Paediatric Attendances in 2016. A further 252,418 patients were treated through the Hospital’s adult and paediatric outpatient clinics in 2016. The Hospital’s operations are supported by 200 general practitioners in surrounding communities.