Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Health Matters. Hospital Fines, Stay Well, NHS 111, Patient Transport, 1,000 Miles!

Four Issues in tonight’s DriveTime

  • Hospital Fines
  • Stay Well This Winter
  • NHS 111
  • Patient Transport
  • 1,000 miles for the NHS

1. Hospital Waiting List Fines
West Herts Hospital Trust (“WHHT”) has been fined £888,000 by our local Clinical Commissioning Group because patients are waiting too long for planned and elective surgery – these fines are in respect of APR and MAY this year; further fines are likely to be levied at around £500K a month for the rest of the year.

How ridiculous is this? True, waiting times need to be improved and steps need to be taken to address the issue; but this is really the result of years of under-funding and that can hardly be fixed by imposing fines. In effect our Commissioning Group is saying “we’re fining you for not investing the money we haven’t given you over the last three years!”. But there is good news for WHHT – they’re getting an extra £11m to fix A&E!
2. Stay Well This Winter
Some strong tips to help you stay well this winter

  • If you start to feel unwell, even if it is just a cough or cold, don’t wait until it gets more serious – get help from your pharmacist.
  • If you have a long-term health condition like COPD (lung diseases), bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes, heart or kidney disease, or have suffered a stroke, get advice from your pharmacist or GP on how to keep well during the colder months.
  • Remember to pick up your prescription before the Christmas holidays start. Many GPs and pharmacies will close over the holiday period.
  • NHS 111 will help you get the right medical attention urgently or visit www.nhs.uk which can direct you to a local service that is open during the holiday period.
  • Older neighbours, relatives, friends and other elderly members of the community are more vulnerable in the winter months and may need a bit of extra help this winter, so make sure you keep in touch.
  • It is important to keep warm in winter, both inside and out as it can help to prevent colds, flu and more serious health problems, such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.

For full details on staying well this winter, go to

3. NHS 111
The third instalment (of three!) on NHS 111. We’ve covered the general service, we had Health Advisor Beverley Squirrel (we would probably refer to her as a call handler) in the studio last month and this month we’re covering the support behind those call handlers.

Because this is the critical point about 111 – there’s a full service team available 24 hours a day – it’s not just the call handler and a computer as we heard last month from Beverley. There’s a 24hr GP, as well as a Pharmacist, a Dental Nurse, other Nurses and a Paramedic who assist with complex cases.

Talking to the Hatfield Rotary Club a couple of weeks ago there was universal agreement that the 111 service is exceptional! So our special thanks to the team and best wishes for Christmas.

4. Patient Transport
One of the real problem areas locally is that of Patient Transport - for full information go to

5. NHS at 70By walking to the studio this evening I completed my 1,000 miles for the NHS. So now reality sets in – my wife is picking me up after the show!

And finally - a very happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year!

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