NHS NW London Weekly Briefing
7 December 2020
London is in Tier 2
London is now in Tier 2, please ensure you are following the national guidance here and continue to protect yourself, your family and the NHS.
Covid-19 monitoring in NW London
This week there has been an encouraging reduction in the number of cases in NW London but levels do remain high, between 100 and 200 per thousand cases. As we move out of national lockdown into Tier 2 in London, we remain concerned that numbers might rise again and this could be further accelerated by the further relaxing of the rules during the Christmas bubble period between 23 December and 27 December. We should therefore continue to remain extremely vigilant and follow the national guidance set out in Tier 2.
Covid admissions in Ealing, Northwick Park and West Middlesex Hospitals remain high but all our hospitals are managing well and as system we are providing mutual aid across NW London as needed.
Our hospitals continue to see patients as normal, but if cases continue to rise we will need to take further action to increase our capacity to deal with Covid cases, which will have a subsequent knock-on effect elsewhere.
The NW London ‘Gold’ incident support team meets on a daily basis. 7 days a week to monitor the situation and activity across all of our services and co-ordinate a response.
Key messages for local residents:
- People should continue to strictly follow the national restrictions and public health guidance in place under Tier 2.
- The NHS is open. We want our local residents to know that no matter what your concern may be, our NHS services continue to be available for your use:
A coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech has been approved for use in the UK and the NHS expects to start giving the coronavirus vaccine this week.
The vaccine has met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
We expect the vaccine will first be offered to:
- people who live in care homes and care home workers
- people aged 80 and over
- health and social care workers in England
You will be contacted when it’s your turn. At first, the vaccine will be offered to people who are most at risk from coronavirus, before being offered more widely.
The final decision on who will get the vaccine first will follow advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
There are currently no known capacity issues at testing centres so appointments should be readily available.
Key messages for local residents:
- If you have symptoms, book a test online or call 119. Please do not turn up to a test site without a booking.
- Download the NHS COVID-19 app, part of the NHS Test and Trace programme.
- If you are going into hospital for a planned procedure or you are taken into hospital in an emergency you will be tested.
Regular Covid testing for asymptomatic NHS staff
Regular Covid testing for asymptomatic patient-facing NHS staff is being rolled out across England in stages, using lateral flow testing. This will involve twice weekly self-administered tests. If staff test positive; they will be required to take a confirmatory PCR test and will need to self-isolate whilst they await the results.
All NHS Trusts are now able to access lateral flow testing for their staff. We are waiting for notification of when testing will be rolled out to primary care staff and also to dentists and community pharmacists.
Clinically extremely vulnerable people.
Enhanced guidance is available for the clinical extremely vulnerable following the end of the national lockdown period, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/cev-from-2-dec
This winter, the NHS in North West London is reminding residents of the range of healthcare services available to help them. Here’s a list of things you can do locally, online and over the phone that will help you stay well this winter.
- Call your GP
- Contact NHS 111
- Speak to a pharmacist
- Access wellbeing and psychological support
- In an emergency call 999 or go to accident and emergency (A&E).
- Don’t forget to get your flu jab
We continue to encourage uptake of the flu jab – it’s not too late. Please encourage your constituents who are at risk to have their free flu jab without delay.
- The NHS has taken every precaution to provide flu jabs in a COVID-safe way with screens, social distancing and PPE. If you are eligible for a free flu vaccination, your GP practice will contact you directly by letter or text to arrange it.
- If you are invited for a flu jab, it’s important you book and attend your appointment at your GP practice or local pharmacy.
- You can call your pharmacy or book online at https://myvaccinations.co.uk or for Boots visit boots.com/online/pharmacy-services/winter-flu-jab-services.
The flu jab is now available for 50-64 year olds
- If you’re aged 50-64, your GP will contact you about getting your free flu vaccine from December. Please wait until you are invited by your practice to come forward for your flu vaccine, unless you are in a vulnerable group.
For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/free-flu-vaccinations-rolled-out-to-over-50s-from-december “
- Your GP will contact you about getting a vaccination or you can contact your pharmacy.
- Your GP practice and the pharmacies in your area will have a range of measures in place to keep you safe from COVID-19.
Fatwa on flu
The British Fatwa Council/Karimia Institute has issued a fatwa (a formal ruling or interpretation on a point of Islamic law) which concludes the nasal flu vaccine containing porcine gelatine is permissible for Muslim use read more: https://www.britishfatwacouncil.org/2020/10/fatwa-on-flu-vaccine-containing-porcine-gelatine/
Many false claims and myths are circulating around the flu vaccination. Flu can be serious and the flu vaccination is your best protection. It is important to distinguish the facts from the myths. Find out more at: https://bit.ly/flu-mythbusters
If you are worried about an urgent medical concern contact NHS111 either online by visiting www.111.nhs.uk or dial 111 on your phone.
- Doctors, nurses, paramedics and fully trained advisors are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- You can ask questions about your symptoms and find out when and where to get help. If medically necessary, NHS111 can make direct appointments with a variety of health services, including your GP, Urgent Treatment Centres, A&E, specialised mental health crisis services, dental services and pharmacists for urgent repeat prescriptions and advice.
- If needed, they can also arrange for an ambulance to be sent to you.
Help Us Help You – access Mental Health services
A national mental health services campaign launched this week as part of the NHS ‘Help Us Help You’ campaign. We know mental health needs are increasing as a result of the pandemic and we want to reassure people that the NHS is here for mental health, and that help is available.
- The NHS is asking anyone facing feelings of anxiety and depression to come forward for care.
- Just talking can help – and NHS talking therapies are an effective way to address mental health issues.
- NHS Talking therapies can be delivered safely even during lockdown, with appointments available over the phone and online. Face to face appointments are also still available, and services have implemented new measures to limit infection risks.
- Download and circulate the new resources to local residents and help us reach as many people as possible.
Access to North West London mental health services
You can refer yourself to the North West London IAPT service or speak to your GP or another healthcare professional for a referral. Visit: www.westlondon.nhs.uk/service/iapt/ or www.talkingtherapies.cnwl.nhs.uk/.
All GP practices in NW London continue to offer face to face appointments to patients but provide a telephone call back in the first instance to reduce the spread of infection where possible. Patients will then receive a video or face to face appointment dependant on their need. GPs are also providing same day emergency care.
Some patients are still apprehensive about attending an appointment in a health setting and we are keen to work with local stakeholders to convey the message to their constituents that hospitals and GP surgeries are safe and people should attend appointments and seek help when needed.
Key messages for local residents:
- hospitals and GP surgeries are safe and people should attend appointments and seek help when needed
- you can still see your GP face to face if required.
NWL formally designated as an ICS from 1 April 2021
The NHS and local authorities in North West London will join together as an ‘integrated care system’ (ICS) from April 2021, using their collective strength to improve life expectancy and quality of life, reduce health inequalities and achieve health outcomes on a par with the best of global cities.
NHS England and Improvement has confirmed that North West London is one of 11 areas which will be formally designated as an ICS from 1 April 2021, bringing the total number of ICSs in England to 29.
An integrated care system (ICS) brings together all part of the NHS and local authorities in an area to focus on improving the health of the local population. The NHS and local authorities in North West London have already been working informally as an ICS, ahead of expected legislation to put ICSs on a statutory footing next year.