Winter is coming.

Posted intially three years ago, these messages are still important and yes Winter is coming again!

By Joanna Mowbray. Physiotherapy Service Lead NHS Ayrshire & Arran
Last month I attended the very inspiring 3rd session of the eNMAHP leadership programme at NES Edinburgh. As my train journey was delayed due to signal problems I had some time to reflect on the day and identify my next steps; one of which was to write my first blog.

515030555_640Firstly what do I blog about? Physiotherapy? eHealth? Leadership? AHPs? My family? Ayrshire? How do you choose? Nothing too controversial was Fraser’s guideline; he said he had even blogged about his dog. So here goes.

A key theme of the course is that eHealth is an adjunct to other forms of health care. It is not a replacement for all other traditional means of service delivery. How can we use eHealth to supplement or provide an alternative to traditional ways we work?

Sitting in a very full train with many frustrated commuters made me think of another training session I attended this week around winter planning. This delay would have been so much worse if the weather had been severe.

The session highlighted how we need to have plans in place for bad weather not only within our work place but also at home. The scenarios we encountered increased in their severity to the point of no electricity for half of Ayrshire, severe damage to hospital buildings, severe transport disruption due to weather all of which lead to shortages of food, fuel and essential equipment, and the inability to provide care to vulnerable individuals in the community.

A very scary picture that I hope never becomes reality.

During the session I realised I don’t have a home  plan. There was no alternative to our normal home practice.

I have no emergency food supply ‘just in case’. I shop weekly and don’t have a back up as I can always pop round to the local store that stays open late.

The only form of heating in house is by gas, however I have discovered since Tuesday that it requires electricity to make it run.

IMAG0050I can remember power cuts as a child when we used to huddle round the fire with candles listen to the radio, play games. Now of course very few houses have fires and we are all used to getting our information digitally from phones, computers TV all of which require electricity.

Sadly I am now at the stage that I don’t have to plan for who would pick the children up from school and care for them when they shut the schools and I have to remain at work or am unable to get home due to bad weather, as they have all left home; however who would look after the dog the cat and the guinea pigs if I couldn’t get home?


The good news is I now have a plan
I have purchased

  • Tins of food to keep us going for several days
  • Extra animal food as I normally purchase this weekly
  • Batteries for my radio
  • Matches to light the cooker and fire
  • Some candles for light rather than aroma
  • Wind-up torch
  • Paper copy of all my contacts numbers

The next step will be to contact any of my vulnerable friends and relatives to have a chat about how they can be prepared for severe weather.

Following on from the NMAHP eHealth leadership course I  have looked to see what local information will be available digitally and found some useful web pages, however I am sure there will be more.

I have downloaded the ready Scotland app. and follow them on Twitter.

A lot of the specifics in my winter plan could be linked to using technology to provide solutions in this case, eSaftey. This technology is equally important to eHealth. Using web sites such as and can provide you with alternatives to getting safe and effective advice for your health if you are stuck at home this winter. To paraphrase Dr Owl “Be eHealth wise this winter!”


That’s my first blog completed. The positives are I now have a winter plan for home and the animals and ourselves won’t starve.

Follow Joanna on Twitter here



  1. I really enjoyed your blog Joanna, I too don’t have a home winter plan but plan to remedy that, I have a car plan, at this time of year I keep some warm jackets, boots, a nice warm blanket, some water and plan on buying a small compact shovel to store in the boot just in case..

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