Update from Healthwatch Blackpool
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, Public Health England and Government advice our Healthwatch team have made the difficult but responsible decision to work from home.
All of our face to face engagement has been temporarily postponed until we are advised otherwise. We are committed to ensuring that our community is supported at this uncertain time.
We will endeavour to continue to provide our community with regular updates via our social media channels and website. We are operational and can still engage with you via email and telephone as usual contact us here.
We recommend that you follow us on Twitter @HealthwatchBpl or Facebook @Healthwatchblackpool where we will continue to share resources and information.
We wish you all the very best at this challenging time.
Protect the NHS , Save Lives
Everyone must stay at home and stay alert to help stop the spread of coronavirus. This applies even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.
We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:
- stay at home as much as possible
- work from home if you can
- limit contact with other people
- keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
- wash your hands regularly
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
What to do if you have Coronavirus symptoms
It is advised that you continue to stay at home if you have:
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste
To protect others, do not visit your GP, Pharmacy, or Hospital. Stay at home and use the NHS 111 Online Coronavirus Service to find out what to do.
It is advised that you only call 111 if you cannot get help online. For a medical emergency dial 999.
Information for people at high risk
You may be at high risk from coronavirus if you:
- Have had an organ transplant
- Are having certain types of cancer treatment
- Have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
- Have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
- Have a condition that makes you much more likely to get infections
- Are taking medicine that weakens your immune system
- Are pregnant and have a serious heart condition
If you’re at high risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus, there are extra things you should do to avoid catching it.
If you’re at high risk, you will be contacted by the NHS by Sunday 29 March 2020.
Updated guidance on shielding can be found here
What changed on 6 July
The government has made some changes to its guidance for people who are shielding because the transmission of COVID-19 in the community has gone down. The changes from 6 July are:
- you no longer need to socially distance from people you live with
- if you want to, you can meet in a group of up to 6 people outdoors, including people from other households
- you may also form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household if you want to, but one of the households in the ‘support bubble’ should be a single adult household (either an adult living alone or with children under 18 only). You can all spend time together outside and inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to socially distance
- the government support offer has been extended: you can still get a food box, care and/or medicine delivery until 31 July if you want them, and have registered online by 17 July. If you have been recently advised to shield there is more information on the page below outlining on the support available to you below
- the latest evidence indicates that the risk of serious illness for most children and young people is low. All children and young people should continue to shield until 31 July. A clinical discussion with your paediatric specialist or GP will be needed before any child or young person is removed from the shielded patient list. Health services will be in touch with children and their families over the summer, ahead of the new school term, to discuss what the new evidence means for them personally in the longer term. Families, carers and young people do not need to make immediate contact
What will change from 1 August
From 1 August, the government will pause shielding unless the transmission of COVID-19 in the community starts to rise significantly.
- the government will no longer be advising you to shield
- the support from the National Shielding Service of free food parcels, medicine deliveries and care will stop
- NHS Volunteer Responders will carry on delivering the food you buy, prescriptions and essential items to you if you need it
- you will still be eligible for priority supermarket slots (if you have registered by 17 July)
You may still be at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus, so stay at home as much as you can and continue to take precautions when you do go out. You can do this by washing your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face and keeping 2 metres away from people outside of your household or bubble wherever possible.
Getting Assistance and support when deemed high risk
Advice suggests that you ask family, friends and neighbours to support you and use online services. If this is not possible, then the public sector, business, charities, and the general public are gearing up to help those advised to stay at home. It is important to speak to others and ask them to help you to make arrangements for the delivery of food, medicines and essential services and supplies, and look after your physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Blackpool Council have a Corona Kindness Initiative and Healthwatch Blackpool have agreed to get involved and be of service to those who are struggling in these unsettling times.
The NHS are also supporting the community with a call for a ‘volunteer army’ to support those affected by Covid-19. See more here
NHS Test and Trace
This service is in place to help return life more to normal, in a way that is safe and protects our NHS and social care.
The NHS test and trace service will help to control the rate of reproduction (R), reduce the spread of the infection and save lives. By playing your part through the actions set out below, you will directly help to contain the virus by reducing its spread. This means that, thanks to your efforts, we will be able to go as far as it is safe to go in easing lockdown measures.
You can help in the following ways:
- if you develop symptoms, you must continue to follow the rules to self-isolate with other members of your household and order a test to find out if you have coronavirus
- if you test positive for coronavirus, you must share information promptly about your recent contacts through the NHS test and trace service to help us alert other people who may need to self-isolate
- if you have had close recent contact with someone who has coronavirus, you must self-isolate if the NHS test and trace service advises you to do so.
Advice in other languages
Doctors of The World have information about Coronavirus available in to download in 20 different languages. Available here.
Information in Easy Read
Mencap have produced Easy Read information about Coronavirus. Available here.
Information in British Sign Language
Sign Health have produced British Sign Language (BSL) videos about Coronavirus. Available here.
Healthwatch Together:Coronavirus Survey Summary
Healthwatch Together have endevoured to learn how it has been for our community in the Covid-19 pandemic. We have worked in collaboration under Healthwatch Together to find out how people were feeling and coping in light of restrictions and uncertainty in the pandemic.
We created a survey and have since produced two summary reports , click below to read more: