NHS Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus Emotional Support Helpline

In these extraordinary times we are all mindful of the importance of supporting both physical and mental health needs.

To help address the emotional health needs of the public, Mindline (run by Mind in Somerset) have extended their hours so people can call (at local rate) and talk to some one about their anxieties and worries.  It is not a general advice line but they will be able to listen and support you.

Mindline’s extended hours start on Monday 23rd March and will be online in the evening and over the weekend.  To find out more about this service, go to: https://www.mindinsomerset.org.uk/our-services/adult-one-to-one-support/mindline/

NHS Guidelines

Leaders of NHS organisations across Somerset have praised locals for their response during the coronavirus pandemic.

Peter Lewis, chief executive of both Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have been overwhelmed by people’s kindness, thoughtfulness and support as our staff and services face unprecedented times”.

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions. Other things you can do to stop the infection spreading:

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • stay 2 metres (3 steps) away from other people, if you need to go outside

To read more about how to prevent the spread of coronavirus, go to: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Somerset GPs Ask You to Help Them Keep Services Running

GPs and primary care staff in Somerset are working hard to keep people as safe as possible in these exceptional circumstances.

There are several things that people can do to help us keep services running well. Anyone who is unwell should to go NHS 111 online first for advice rather than approaching their GP practice:

– People can also help by using the NHSApp and other online services where they can. Each GP practice website has links to a range of online services which will support people to access advice and  information and, in most cases, order repeat prescriptions online.

– For parents and carers of babies and young children, the HandiApp offers simple and straightforward advice.

– You can also help us by only requesting your usual supply of medications when required and not try and do it early or order extra, to help the supply chain keep up with demand. We will make sure suitable provision is made for people self isolating owing to illness or being in at risk groups.”

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

Visiting Restrictions Across Somerset Hospitals and Units

Dr Ed Ford, Chair of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “In the light of yesterday’s Government announcement, and to help us protect patients, colleagues and the public, our hospitals in Somerset are now closed to visitors. This includes Yeovil District Hospital, Musgrove Park Hospital, all thirteen community hospitals, all our mental health units among others.

The only exceptions are for

  • patients receiving end of life care
  • patients on children’s wards and neo-natal units and
  • patients with specific conditions such as a dementia or a learning disability.

Individual visiting arrangements will be made for patients receiving end of life care and with specific conditions such as dementia or a learning disability.

Visitors to children’s wards and neonatal units must be parent or guardian visitors only and are limited to a maximum of one visitor per patient.

Women in labour can be accompanied by one birthing partner.

We fully appreciate that this may be difficult for many people who naturally want to visit their loved ones when they are unwell. We do not take this action lightly but we truly believe that asking you to comply with these restrictions it will help keep our patients, visitors and colleagues safe during this period. By limiting visiting in these ways you are helping our hospitals, units and NHS services to manage to keep everyone as safe as possible.

For people attending outpatient appointments they are asked to attend alone if at all possible. If they need to be accompanied due to mobility issues, one person may accompany them. No children are to enter the outpatients unit unless they are the patient.

All permitted visitors to our hospitals are required to wash their hands with soap and water, or use the alcohol gel when they go into a ward/department and when they leave. For the latest public health advice, click here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

No one should visit a hospital or unit, even if they meet the criteria above, if they are

  • unwell, especially if you have a high temperature or a new, persistent cough
  • vulnerable as a result of medication, a chronic illness or if you are over 70 years of age