Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Karen Howell writes for the Globe...

First and foremost, Happy New Year! I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and kept warm and healthy.

It was certainly a busy one for the NHS.

Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust is the main provider of out-of-hospital care in Wirral, and we do all that we can to treat and care for people closer to their own home, helping to relieve the pressure on hospitals.

Our urgent care services include walk-in centres in Eastham, Wallasey and at Arrowe Park, GP out of hours and a minor injuries unit in Wallasey.

They saw more than 2,500 patients between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day – more than twice the usual number, providing an alternative to A&E and supporting the efficient use of urgent care services in Wirral.

It’s worth getting to know the health services in your local area, so if you find yourself needing help, you’ll know what’s available in the community and save yourself a trip to the hospital.

Using community clinics, GP out of hours, pharmacies or your GP means you can receive treatment at the right time and in the right place and help support the future of health and social care services.

Have you made any New Year Resolutions?

There was lots of coverage in the news over Christmas about health and wellbeing and many people choose this time of year to resolve to make changes to their lifestyle.

The BBC ran a story about middle-aged people facing a health crisis because of unhealthy lifestyles and according to Public Health England, eight in every 10 people aged 40 to 60 are overweight, drink too much or get too little exercise.

The fact it, we don’t move enough, eat too much fast food and the daily grind takes its toll.

It’s never too late to take action, even in mid-life. You can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, dementia and disability.

There’s lots more information and support on NHS Choices and Public Health England websites and don’t forget if you’re a library member you can use the computers there for free.

Finally 2017 looks set to be an exciting year for Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust.

We’ll be launching a number of new services, including an exciting new pilot providing healthcare advice to care homes.

Using ipads, our senior nurses will provide virtual clinics for care home staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

They will be able to rapidly assess residents and support care homes to organise the appropriate treatment, so that people don’t need to go to hospital unless it’s absolutely necessary.

We are hoping it will mean better healthcare and support for people living in care homes - I’ll bring you more in my next column!

As always, visit our website www.wirralct.nhs.uk for details of all our services, like us on Facebook/nhsbuzz or follow us on Twitter @wirralct.

Happy New Year!