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Stay well this winter

It may be cold outside but winter needn't be the unhealthiest time of year for you and your family.  There are lots of things we can do to prepare for winter and stay well during the colder months.

Colds and flu in particular are spread from person to person very easily, this can be especially serious for those with health conditions, young children, elderly people and pregnant women.  Flu jabs are therefore essential.

Other common health difficulties during winter include chest infections and problems with breathing, so make sure you help prevent the spread of viruses by staying hygienic – wash your hands and carry anti-bacterial gel or wipes in your bag for when you’re on the move.

From keeping your house warm to protecting yourself from common ailments, find out how to stay healthy this winter on the NHS website.


Winter viruses

While contagious viruses are active year-round, winter is a prime time for norovirus, colds, influenza (flu), and other respiratory illnesses. 

These infections are highly contagious, so we urge people to stay away unless their visit is absolutely essential to help reduce the spread of infection within our hospitals.

Hospitals are full of sick people, many of them frail and elderly, so bringing germs into a hospital is the worst thing you can do.  We have an active programme of infection prevention but we can’t spot visitors who really shouldn’t be here.  Please stay at home if you’re unwell to help aid the wellbeing and recovery of our patients.

Norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK.  It's also called the ‘winter vomiting bug’ because it's more common in winter, although you can catch it at any time of the year.  Norovirus can be very unpleasant but it usually clears up by itself in a few days.  Please stay away if you have signs or symptoms of the virus, and do not visit until you have been clear of symptoms for at least 48 hours.

Flu, short for influenza, is a common infectious viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes.  It is a major killer of vulnerable people.  People aged 65 and over and people with long-term health conditions, including diabetes and kidney disease, are particularly at risk.  If you have flu, please stay away until you are better.  The virus is highly infectious and outbreaks can happen quickly.

You can protect yourself, your family, colleagues and other patients by getting yourself vaccinated.  The flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its complications.

When to worry? is a useful guide to coughs, colds, earache and sore throats in young children.

Having an ill child can be a very scary experience for parents.  If you understand more about the illness it can help you to feel more in control.  This booklet is for parents (and older children) and deals with common infections in children who are normally healthy. It is not meant for children who have ongoing health problems such as asthma, heart, or kidney problems. You should not rely on the advice in this leaflet for children who are less than 3 months old. Babies younger than this can respond differently to infections.


Help us to help you

Local GPs and healthcare professional have worked with the Vale of York CCG to provide useful information about the flu vaccine and how to self-treat many common illnesses and ailments to help you to stay well this winter.  Visit Help Us Help You to watch and learn.


When to visit an emergency department

An A&E department (also known as emergency department or casualty) deals with genuine life-threatening Emergency careemergencies, such as:

Less severe injuries can be treated in urgent care centres or minor injuries units.  A&E is not an alternative to a GP appointment.

If your GP is closed you can go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111, which will direct you to the best local service.

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If your GP is closed you can go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111, which will direct you to the best local service

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Blood taking, York Hospital

Due to COVID-19, from Monday 6 April the Phlebotomy service at York Hospital outpatient department will be closed until further notice.

We will continue to offer a blood taking services for patients who have urgent bloods requests only, at the nearby Nuffield Hospital. The urgency will have been identified during your medical appointment. Please access the Nuffield Hospital via the main reception and from there you will be directed to Phlebotomy. Please take a seat and wait to be called.

Patients who have routine blood test for yearly check-ups should not attend. Instead, please contact your GP to request an appointment at the GP surgery for your bloods to be taken.


Maternity services

If you are due to have a baby, please visit our website for up to date information about maternity services at this time https://bit.ly/39ANleP


Haematology and Oncology services

With effect from Monday 6 April there will be temporary changes to the Haematology and Oncology services at Scarborough and York Hospital.  These decision have been made on the grounds of patient safety in the current coronavirus pandemic.  Find out more here.


Visiting cancelled

Due to the increasing number of cases of coronavirus across the UK, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has made the decision to cancel all visiting to all its hospital sites in order to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

There are three exemptions to the ruling which are for one parent of a sick child under 18, for the partner of a woman giving birth and end of life patients at the discretion of the ward sister.

We would ask people to respect this decision and to treat our staff, who will be enforcing the visiting restrictions, with courtesy and respect.  For more information visit our website.


Outpatient appointments

We know that NHS services will come under intense pressure as the coronavirus spreads, and as a Trust we need to redirect staff, free up staff for refresher training and carry out any works as necessary, so we are able to maximise capacity for patients for when the number of infections peak.  We also need to reduce the number of people coming into our hospitals to protect our patients, as well as keeping our staff safe, well and able to come into work.

To do this, with effect from Tuesday 24 March 2020, along with other trusts in the Humber Coast and Vale partnerships, we have made the collective decision to suspend all non-urgent routine outpatient appointments for at least three months.  Urgent and emergency cases and cancer appointments will be carrying on as normal.

These are unprecedented times and we thank you for your understanding.  We know many people waiting for treatment will be disappointed or worried but please not contact the hospital as we will be contacting everyone directly affected in the coming days and weeks.

If you do not receive a letter or a phone call from the hospital, please turn up for your scheduled appointment as normal unless you have symptoms of coronavirus, a cold, flu or norovirus in which case you should contact us to cancel your appointment by clicking here.