As temperatures plummet and pavements and roads continue to freeze, the number of people attending A&E is now in the hundreds.
It’s an annual problem the NHS faces but, with Covid-19 cases on the rise again, health bosses are striving to keep the number of ice-related injuries down.
In a week where OAPs revealed they felt like “prisoners in their homes” due to the treacherous conditions, health bosses issued advice to anyone who had to go out and about – walk like a penguin.
Emboldened by this new tip, Tele reporter Amy Hall decided to leave the house and do her best Pingu impression to see if it really did work.
‘It seemed simple’
I am no stranger to a sore behind from slipping on ice as the temperature plummets so when I received the handy tips from NHS Tayside it seemed like a no-brainer to go out and test the unique walking style.
It seemed simple, bend your knees slightly and keep them loose, point your feet out slightly, extend your arms to your sides, walk flat footed with short, slow steps and keep your centre of gravity over your feet.
As I walked through the centre of Dundee I have to admit I was a little bit dubious over whether this would actually help to keep me on my feet however I was shortly proven wrong.
I admittedly probably wasn’t wearing the most sensible pair of shoes, wearing some knock off UGG boots was my choice this morning and while they are cosy they don’t really have the best grip. This became even more apparent as I almost fell a number of times walking to meet the photographer at Discovery Point.
The ground surrounding the group of penguin statues was glistening with ice – what better place for me to mimic them and see how long I lasted.
Fearing I might be one of the NHS’s next statistics I started off with trepidation, but I soon realised I was walking around the area with little to no problems.
Did I feel like a bit of a numpty? Yes.
Did I care when the technique saved me a bruised bum and ego though? Not one bit.
I think the powers at NHS Tayside got this one right and I hope to see many more penguin walkers out and about soon.
The message is clear – stay at home where possible to avoid an injury
With temperatures set to plummet overnight, clinical teams in NHS Tayside’s emergency departments are encouraging people to stay at home to avoid icy conditions.
In the past few weeks NHS Tayside has seen a sharp increase in the number of people needing treatment for slip and trip injuries, such as broken bones including hip fractures, and minor head injuries, with many of those requiring surgery for their injuries.
Dr Julie Ronald, consultant in emergency medicine, is urging people in Tayside to avoid going out in wintry weather as much as possible to protect the NHS.
She said, “Winter is often a very busy period for our emergency department and we have experienced a marked increase in the number of patients with broken bones attending due to the icy conditions in recent weeks. This demand is on top of the ongoing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“To help protect the NHS, we are encouraging people not to go out in icy conditions unless it is absolutely necessary. If they do have to leave their homes, they should ensure they dress warmly, wear sensible shoes with a good grip and take care when on icy surfaces.
“It’s important that everyone knows that the way people access A&E services has changed in the past month across Scotland to make sure everyone gets the right care in the right place.
“If you think you need A&E but it’s not life-threatening, you should now call NHS 24 on 111 first, day or night, to be directed to the right NHS service.
“If A&E is the most appropriate place to provide the right care, patients will either be directly referred to A&E by NHS 24 or a telephone or video consultation with one of the clinical team.”