As part of the Winter plan 2018/19, the HSE has focussed efforts on admission avoidance along with optimised patient flow and facilitated discharges in order to support the management of the winter surge in illness requiring admission.
The purpose of Winter Ready Services/ Clinics is to take every opportunity to make sure that at-risk patients have prepared themselves for winter, that they have had their flu vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine, checking that they are using their medications and devices correctly (e.g. nebulisers, inhalers), that they are aware of the effects of winter weather on their condition and that they have a management plan should they become unwell.
Winter ready advice and management is being delivered via Community Healthcare Organisations using the ‘Make every contact count’ approach which aims to maximise the benefits to the patient and best use existing resources. These at-risk patients are already in contact with health services with specialist staff such as a COPD outreach nurses, Community Intervention Teams and Public Health Nursing who are delivering this service. Additionally Waterford and Cork are both opening specific Winter Clinics for Respiratory COPD / Breathlessness assessment, diagnosis and management.
In relation to the specific query raised about the location, staffing and patients who have attended the clinics, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.