Health care chief’s winter letter to Teesside

Health care chief’s winter letter to Teesside

In an unusual move a Teesside health care boss has penned a letter to communities across the region in a bid to ensure they stay safe and well this winter.

Newly appointed Chief Operating Officer for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, Levi Buckley said he felt compelled to write the note after hearing about pressures across the health care system, as the colder weather reaches the North East.

Dear Teesside (and, of course surrounding areas),

Christmas is on its way, and with it comes presents, fun and unfortunately illness and accidents for too many.

We very much hope you are well, because being frank – we don’t want you to visit our hospital sites this winter. We very much want you to stay safe and stay well – so you can stay away from hospital.

We are pretty certain that despite our first class service and outstanding catering you don’t want to spend time with us too. So, this letter is a quick note to hopefully help to divert you from a holiday in University Hospital Hartlepool or a stay in Stockton at University Hospital of North Tees.

There are some simple ways in which we can work as communities in facing the prospect of a harsh winter together. Because it’s only by working together can we build a healthier future.  A future we all deserve.

By keeping in touch with each other, we can ensure that our most vulnerable stay protected and our population health remains positive.

For many throughout the colder months, isolation becomes a really big issue. We hear the messages every year – but checking in on our elderly or less able neighbours can really make a difference.

Our younger population can work to prevent illness being spread too – hand washing to prevent spreading nasty bugs picked up in the playground.

From ensuring that you and your loved ones stay warm this winter to help prevent colds, flus and more serious problems such as heart attacks and pneumonia to feeding your family with healthy hearty meals, there are so many simple steps to avoid illness.

Avoiding visiting friends and family in hospital if you’re ill is also important. We know you miss them, but many of our patients are very vulnerable. The very same bugs that you may able to manage with some simple over-the-counter remedies can be fatal to others in hospital.

Speaking of over-the-counter remedies, many common illnesses can be treated on the advice of your pharmacist. It certainly beats spending hours in a hospital waiting room.

You can also visit www. or call 111 for advice on common winter ailments, even before calling your overstretched GP or before you are so ill you need to come to A&E.

We could all do with a little more self-care, being kinder to ourselves.

In joining North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, I have joined a family of over 5,500 colleagues who work tirelessly to keep Teesside (and the surrounding areas) ticking. Help us to help you this winter – keep an eye on our news and social media feeds for more top tips.

We’re here to help, that will never change. We’re just asking you to help us, help you.

On behalf of all at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous and most importantly, healthy 2020.

With the very best of wishes,


North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust have today launched what they describe as their ‘hyper local’ winter campaign surrounding the fictional character ‘Poorly Paul’ (pictured).

In a series of key messages, the ‘local lad’ explores some of the biggest health concerns surrounding the winter months including flu and norovirus. You can expect to see his walk through winter health in a series of messages tailored to talk directly to Teessiders in their own distinct dialect.


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