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    Keeping residents safe during severe winter weather

     Gritting the roads

    TAMESIDE Council staff sprang into action to ensure residents stayed safe during severe weather conditions.

    As our gritting team ploughed on through heavy snow yesterday (1) to keep main routes open, colleagues ensured vital frontline services continued and the vulnerable were cared for.

    The Integrated Urgent Care Team were able to visit patients in remote areas and the Community Response Service (CRS) was able to make crucial call outs after 4x4 vehicles were made available.

    And our Digital Health Service proved its value by helping avoid unnecessary journeys to hospital and keeping our residents in the comfort and safety of their own homes. Through the Care Together programme, the Digital Health Centre, based at Tameside Hospital, uses Skype to connect 40 residential care homes and the CRS to a registered healthcare professional.

    In many cases the one-to-one advice allows incidents to be dealt with without the need for an ambulance or a GP - helping reduce pressures on these vital services. Since November the service has made 1,300 calls and avoided more than 800 ambulance call outs and unnecessary A&E visit.

    NHS Tameside and Glossop CCG staff also went above and beyond to help patients. Many travelled through difficult conditions or walked through snow to ensure practices were open. One example was when Tameside Hospital were unable to get transport to Glossop to collect blood samples, Dr Laura Dudbridge, of Manor House Surgery, visited all the GP surgeries in Glossopdale to collect them and take them to the hospital.

    Tameside Council also distributed messages calling on residents to check on vulnerable neighbours, while non-essential travel was advised.

    And staff pulled together to ensure no funerals had to be cancelled, postponed or delayed, despite the weather conditions.

    The freeze has also seen our cold weather protocol for rough sleepers instigated since February 22 with placements for 19 vulnerable rough sleepers arranged. Staff have worked closely with our partners, such as Greystones, Tameside Housing Advice, police, probation, CRC, CAB, Shelter and Street Support, to provide warm and safe provisions.

    So far this winter we have treated highways 92 times, against an average winter of 55 treatments, using 4,143 tonnes of salt on 22,000km of road and filling grit bins with another 600 tonnes.

    Tameside Council executive leader Cllr Brenda Warrington said: “Our gritting teams have done a sterling job working in severe weather conditions to keep priority routes open and our frontline service staff have done all they can to ensure our vulnerable residents remain safe.

    “Many members of Tameside staff have worked in adverse, dangerous conditions during this period of inclement weather, to help keep the residents of Tameside safe, and I thank and applaud them all.”

    “Please take care if travelling and look out for any vulnerable neighbours.”