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27 February 2018

Are you coping with the big freeze?

As snow falls on many parts of the south east, with sub-zero temperatures, we are working hard to make sure our patients continue to be cared for in the best possible way.

All our essential services are running as normal and we will do our best to make sure this continues during the cold spell. Our staff are pulling together as usual; going above and beyond.

Our fleet of 4x4s are helping us reach vulnerable patients, plus staff are using their own to share lifts.

Our Hawkhurst Community Hospital team is staying overnight to make sure patients on the ward are cared for.

Nurses, therapists and other staff have been wrapping up and walking to local meeting points, where they have been collected by 4×4 vehicles to make sure they can get into work. Some staff who do not live near their base, are walking instead to their nearest hospital to help ease pressure.

At times like this, it’s all hands on deck and I’d like to thank everyone for their efforts and this includes our local communities. Near Coxheath, last night at 10pm, our rapid response nurses were stuck going up the hill after Farleigh bridge. Six local heroes stopped to help and pushed the car all the way up the steep hill.

A huge thank you also to Edenbridge League of Friends, which has offered to fund local staff to stay in B&Bs so they can be close to work too, and all our Leagues of Friends for their continued support.

Please remember:

  • you can help by letting us know if you cannot make a scheduled outpatient appointment during the bad weather. Contact details will be on your appointment letter or correspondence from us
  • only travel if you have to. Find out about road conditions on Highway England’s website and via Kent County Council.
  • it’s likely to be slippery in places when walking, so take extra care if you do have to go out. We have minor injury units across Kent if you do fall and need some help. Please avoid going to A&E unless absolutely necessary. Call NHS 111 for advice too
  • to check if you have enough medication to last you through the cold spell. If you need to collect medication from your GP or pharmacist, check opening times and if you can’t get there ask friends or relatives for help
  • NHS Choices offers lots more advice about keeping warm and well during such adverse weather.

It’s also really important to make sure you are ready, prepared and safe over the next few days. If you have to drive, some things you should have in your car with you include:

  • enough fuel – more than you would usually need for your day’s journeys
  • a blanket and warm clothes (layers)
  • a shovel, de-icer and window scraper
  • food, water and a flask of hot drink if possible,
  • your phone (fully charged) and a phone charger.


Keeping warm

  • Heating your home to at least 18C is particularly important if you have reduced mobility, are 65 and over, or have a health condition, such as heart or lung disease. Having room temperatures slightly over 18C could be good for your health.
  • If you are under 65, active and wearing appropriate clothing, you may feel comfortable at room temperatures slightly lower than 18C.
  • Overnight, people who are 65 and over or who have pre-existing health conditions may find bedroom temperatures of at least 18C are good for their health.
  • If you can’t heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and your bedroom just before you go to sleep.
  • It’s really cold, but do not use a gas cooker or oven to heat your home; it is inefficient and there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning which can kill.
  • Draw your curtains at dusk and tuck behind radiators to help keep heat inside.
  • Make sure your radiators are not obstructed by furniture or curtains.

Look after yourself

  • Being cold isn’t just uncomfortable it can be bad for your health. Sitting or sleeping in a cold room is not good for you and increases the risk of heart attacks, stroke and breathing problems.
  • Keep your bedroom windows closed; breathing cold air can increase the risk of chest infections.
  • Food is a vital source of energy and helps to keep your body warm so have plenty of hot food and drinks.
  • Wear a few layers of thin clothing rather than one thick layer; this will trap the heat better to keep you warm.  Socks and hats are great too and are a good idea to keep you warm in bed. Thin layers of clothes made from cotton, wool or fleecy fibres are particularly good and maintain body heat.
  • Wear good-fitting slippers with a good grip indoors and shoes with a good grip outside to prevent slips, trips and falls.
  • Cover yourself with a blanket or shawl if you are sitting for long periods, this will help keep you warm. Put your feet up if you can; the air may be colder near the floor.
  • Keep moving if you can, this will help keep you warm. Try not to sit for more than an hour – get up and walk around, make a hot drink and spread housework throughout the day.  If walking is a problem try moving your arms and legs while sitting or wiggling your fingers and toes.

Look after others

  • Check on frail or older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses to make sure they are safe, warm and well.