Matron sounds cold weather warning

A SENIOR matron at Colchester General Hospital has called on people to keep check on elderly people living nearby as the temperature plunges today and tomorrow.

Roddy Ashworth

A SENIOR matron at Colchester General Hospital has called on people to keep check on elderly people living nearby as the temperature plunges today and tomorrow.

And yesterday the chief executive of a charity for older people urged them to keep their houses warm over the next few days.

Carrie Fisher, matron for emergency services at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, said it was particularly important for people to be mindful of older relatives and neighbours during cold weather.


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Weather forecasters have predicted a maximum daytime temperature in Colchester of 8C today and 4C on Saturday, with a night-time temperature of 0C today and -1C on Saturday.

Both daytime and night-time temperatures are expected to rise slightly on Sunday.

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Mrs Fisher, who is based in the A&E department at Colchester General Hospital, said: “Most people are aware that a cold snap is predicted for the weekend so it is doubly important that we all remember to check on elderly relatives and neighbours.

“We have people brought into the A&E department with hypothermia during cold weather and what personally saddens me is that all cases are preventable.

“Each and every one of us can contribute by simply keeping a caring eye on our senior citizens to make sure they are warm, have enough food and adequate heating.”

Mrs Fisher said it was important for older people to heat their home to the right temperature (21C during the day, 18C at night), to make sure they have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day and, if possible, avoid going outside on cold days.

Rachel Fahie, of Colchester Age Concern, also stressed the importance of keeping homes warm enough.

“I appreciate people are worried about their fuel bills but it is very important people keep their houses at the right temperature.

“Cold snaps in this country tend not to go on for weeks. The important thing is not to get chilled, because that can be serious for old people and bad for their health.”

She said that when it was particularly cold the elderly should wear several layers of clothing, drink hot drinks and move around, rather than huddling up.

And she added that winter fuel payments were coming through at this time of year to help meet energy bills.

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