Free phone service helps patients make life-saving connections

​UHNM has upgraded its free taxi and travel information phone units so that patients can also use them to make easy contact with other health-related advice services, both NHS and independent.

Royal Stoke University Hospital, part of University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, was already providing the free, easy-to-use Infopoint phone facilities to allow patients, visitors and carers to order taxis or make enquiries about public transport services. The Infopoint units have now been upgraded to enable patients to also make free calls to other health support services such as the Patient Advice and Liaison team and Beat The Cold, an independent organisation which works to help reduce cold-related illnesses, especially amongst the elderly or disadvantaged.

Gillian Wilshaw operations manager at Beat The Cold, said: “Living in a cold house is not only detrimental to the health of the elderly. Anyone with health problems like cardiovascular disease, arthritis or other such temperature-sensitive conditions and who lives in a poorly-heated house can be even more at risk in cold weather. We are always looking at new ways of providing assistance to those experiencing home heating difficulties. Stoke Hospital’s Infopoints will provide its patients with a free, direct means of contacting our team of experts for advice on getting adequate heating into their homes.”

Official surveys such as the major Marmot review ten years ago have shown that people living in cold homes are more likely to suffer from colds and flus and have increased risks of developing heart and breathing difficulties. Being constantly cold can also cause depression and mental health problems. Lack of adequate heating is particularly harmful for the elderly but it can also adversely affect the health of adults and children.

Michelle Harris sustainability manager at UHNM added: “Featuring organisations like Beat The Cold on our free Infopoint telephone units not only highlights the availability of their specialist support, but also enables patients to make quick, easy and free contact with their expert advisors. It’s an important, pro-active part of the care and support package the Royal Stoke aims to provide to patients, helping them to make possibly life-saving connections.”​​​​