A fresh approach is being taken to tackle the growing pressures of winter across Oxfordshire’s health and social care system.

In the first appointment of its kind in the county, Oxfordshire now has a Winter Director, Tehmeena Ajmal, who will lead a central winter team to reduce seasonal pressures across health and care services. The team will also work to improve quality and performance of emergency and urgent care in the area.

The Winter Team

The Winter Team will ensure all health and care professionals in the county – including mental health services, hospitals, ambulance services, GPs, social services and charities – work together to deliver better, responsive and more joined-up services, especially during the flu season.

Tehmeena was appointed by the chief executives of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Tehmeena said: “Our priority is to ensure patients get the best care especially during winter and this new approach which brings together clinical and community teams should make a difference.

“But this approach will also rely on people having their own winter plan to help protect from coughs, colds and flu.”

A winter plan for family, friends and neighbours

Tehmeena continued: “I would like everyone in Oxfordshire to have a winter plan for themselves and their family, so that they know what they need to do to keep as well as possible, what they can do if they start to get unwell, and how they can look after their elderly neighbour who might not be able to look after themselves.

“People most at risk of flu can help us by having a free flu vaccination. This includes people aged over 65, people with a long-term condition such as diabetes or a kidney or heart condition and also pregnant women. Children aged two and three years can have a free nasal spray vaccine from their GP and school age children will receive the vaccination at school.”

GP practices will contact patients eligible for the free flu jab to attend vaccination clinics taking place over the next few months in Oxfordshire. The flu vaccine is an effective way for people to keep well and healthy over winter.

Supporting local communities

In a joint statement by Stuart Bell, (Chief Executive at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust), Louise Patten (Chief Executive at Oxfordshire CCG), Kate Terroni, (Oxfordshire County Council’s director of Adult Services), Andrew Elphick (Chief Executive at Principal  Medical Limited GP Federation), Dr Bruno Holthof (Chief Executive at Oxford University Hospitals) and Will Hancock (Chief Executive at South Central Ambulance Service), said:

“We are delighted that Tehmeena Ajmal will be leading our new Winter Team, which is due to be based at the John Radcliffe Hospital with staff from all our different organisations which make up Oxfordshire’s health and social care system.

“A valuable lesson learned from last year is that we need to work more closely together to provide the best possible care and support for the local communities which rely on all our services during the challenging winter months.”