More local GPs begin offering COVID Vaccine as part of biggest NHS Immunisation Programme

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More local vaccination services run by family doctors and their teams will open across mid and south Essex today (Thursday 14 January 2021), as the roll out of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history continues.

Further vaccination centres are launching today at the following locations:

  • Pump House Surgery, Earls Colne
  • Whitley House Surgery, Chelmsford
  • Benfleet Clinic, Benfleet

These latest centres are in addition to those that have already opened in Brentwood, Rochford, Danbury, Leigh-On-Sea, Grays, Rayleigh, Maldon, Westcliff-On-Sea and Wickford, Billericay, Basildon and Canvey Island.

Each of the GP-led sites are run by Primary Care Networks (PCNs) that see GP practices working together in geographic areas to ensure vaccinations are available to all residents.

Nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and other NHS staff will work alongside GPs to vaccinate those aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers and other health care workers, identified as priority groups for the vaccine.

Residents of care homes have also started to receive their first vaccine.

Like hospital staff at Basildon University Hospital, Broomfield Hospital and Southend Hospital (all part of NHS Mid and South Essex Foundation Trust), who launched their campaigns recently, local practice teams are working rapidly to redesign their sites and put in place safe processes to meet the tough logistical challenges of offering the vaccination.

The local NHS will contact people in the priority groups when it is their turn to receive the vaccine and local residents are being asked not to contact their practice enquiring about vaccination.

For further information about the vaccine visit the NHS website

Further information about the local COVID vaccination programme is available on the EPUT website.

COVID-19 vaccine programme is full steam ahead

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Local NHS asks residents to bear with them

Since early December, thanks to the hard work of local NHS staff and the invaluable support of volunteers, the COVID-19 vaccination programme has seen a successful start.

Despite the complex challenges posed by the particular requirements associated with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine alongside further developments happening at breakneck speed, the local NHS in mid and south Essex has risen to the challenge.

13 GP-led vaccination sites have already been mobilised since early December together with a further two local hospital vaccination hubs.

Subject to the vaccine supplies coming through, we are expecting all 25 GP-led vaccination sites across mid and south Essex to be live by the end of next week (w/c 11 January). Each of the GP-led sites are run by Primary Care Networks (PCNs) that see GP practices working together in geographic areas to ensure vaccinations are available to all residents.

This means that we will have begun to protect those over-80, frontline staff and our care home residents and staff in all local areas. The roll out to these groups is in line with national guidance in regards to which groups benefit the most. If you are in these groups but have not been invited to have a vaccination, please do not worry. Larger practices are unable to invite everyone in the priority groups to receive vaccinations at the same time. Local teams are working to the national vaccine supply schedule so it is difficult for staff to give exact timeframes.

Details of all vaccination sites as they go live are available on this webpage.

Last week’s announcement that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has been authorised by the MHRA for use in the UK is very welcome and we are seeing more COVID-19 vaccine supplies arriving across mid and south Essex. Increased supply also means that vaccination can now be expanded to more care homes and frontline health and social care workers.

As the NHS gears up to open more centres in the next few weeks, the local health and care system is seeking volunteers that can help people to play their part in protecting the community and saving lives.

If you are interested in volunteering please email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr Alex Shaw, local GP and Clinical Director of SS9 Primary Care Network said:

“The COVID-19 vaccination programme is the biggest vaccination programme the NHS has ever undertaken. Every single patient that we have vaccinated has got their own personal stories around the difference it's going to make. It is a huge challenge, but locally we have already vaccinated thousands of people across Essex and are continuing to roll out new sites as planned.

“We are pleased with the response local people have had to the vaccination programme but ask residents to bear with us. The local NHS will contact people in the priority groups when it is their turn to receive the vaccine and we ask local residents not to contact their practice enquiring about when they will be called in for vaccination. Clinics are being rolled out in phases in line with the supply and delivery of the vaccine.”

The wider public have an important part to play to help their local NHS continue to roll out this vaccination programme, they are asked:
• please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you;
• when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments on time – please avoid arriving early as we want to avoid queues;
• please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.

Taking care in cold weather

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The Met Office has issued a cold weather alert due to the falling temperatures this week.

cold frost wood

There is currently a yellow warning for severe cold weather, ice and light snow across Thurrock. This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services.

For the very latest, visit the cold weather alert section of the Met Office website.

Keep Warm Keep Well

It's not just the icy conditions that can be treacherous during cold spells. The cold weather itself is life threatening, especially for the elderly and those with long-term health conditions.

Every year around 27% more people - the majority aged over 75 - die in the winter months compared to thet non-winter months which is why it is vital people keep warm and safe.

One of the best ways of keeping well during winter is to stay warm and follow the below top tips. Some may seem obvious, but they could help you to stay warmer and maintain good health over the coming weeks.

Heat your home well

By setting your heating to the right temperature (between 18-21ºC) you can still keep your home warm and lower your bills. If you feel cold at night, use a hot water bottle or electric blanket – but never use both together. It is especially important if you’re at home all day.

Wear a scarf when outdoors

Wrap a scarf loosely around your mouth when outdoors – add a hat and wear shoes with a good grip, too. If you have a heart or respiratory problem like asthma or COPD, stay indoors during very cold weather.

Eat well and have plenty of fluids

Food and water are vital sources of energy, and they help keep your body warm. Try to make sure you and your family have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day.

Get a flu jab

You can get free flu jabs to protect against seasonal flu from your GP or local pharmacy if you are over 65, pregnant, or have a long-term condition.

Look after yourself and others

On cold days try to avoid going outside. However, if you do need to go out, remember to wrap up warm and take care on slippery surfaces. If you have an older neighbour or relative, look out for them during the winter to make sure they are safe and well.

If you're worried about a relative or elderly neighbour, contact your local council or call the Age UK helpline on 0800 678 1174 (8am-7pm every day).

If you're concerned that the person may be suffering from hypothermia, contact NHS 111.

Keep your medicine cabinet well stocked

If you’re on medication, make sure you get your repeat prescriptions in time so you don’t run out. If you haven’t already, talk to your GP practice about registering for GP online services. Simply complete the relevant paperwork and you’ll be able to request repeat prescriptions online as well as make GP appointments. Check to make sure you have enough over the counter remedies for coughs and colds so you don’t need to leave home unless you have to.

Stay active

Try not to sit still for more than an hour or so indoors – get up and stretch your legs. Even moderate exercise can help keep you warm.

For more information on staying will this winter please visit NHS website.

COVID-19 vaccination scam alert

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We are aware that some people are receiving fraudulent calls and text messages offering the COVID-19 vaccination.

In some cases, people are asked to press a number on their keypad or to send a text message to confirm they wish to receive the vaccine.

Doing so is likely to result in a charge being applied to their phone bill. In other cases, callers are offering the vaccine for a fee or asking for bank details.

People are warned to be alert to these scams.

The vaccine is only available from the NHS and the NHS will contact you when it is your turn. At present, appointments are only being offered to members of the public over 80 years old.

The NHS will:

  • NEVER ask you to press a button on your keypad or send a text asking you to confirm you want the vaccine.
  • NEVER ask for payment for the vaccine or for your bank details.

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Citizens Advice online or via 0808 2231133.

Covid-19 pressure on the NHS and health system prompts ‘major incident’ declaration by Essex Resilience Forum

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In response to a significant growing demand on hospitals and health and social care services across Essex, and particularly Mid and South Essex due to coronavirus, the Essex Resilience Forum (ERF) has declared a ‘major incident’ – enabling the County to seek further support from Government to address the pressures.

Local leaders from the ERF - a group that comprises the NHS, blue light responders and local authorities - say the pressures are being felt primarily in NHS and local authority services and are associated with critical care and bed capacity, staff sickness/self-isolation levels and the system’s ability to discharge patients quickly into safe environments.

Today, the number of patients in Essex receiving treatment for coronavirus increased to levels which have exceeded those seen at the peak of the first wave of the virus in the Spring. These levels are likely to increase further in the coming days.

Anthony McKeever, Executive Lead for Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership, said:

“We are taking every action possible within the NHS and across the wider health and social care partnerships in Essex to limit the impact on the NHS and the wider health system.

“This involves using critical care capacity elsewhere in Essex and the Eastern region and identifying additional locations and capacity to assist with the discharging of patients to reduce pressure on hospitals.

“Our strong working relationships mean we are able to respond effectively to support our local communities.

“I would also like to pay tribute to all those hard-working colleagues who are working tirelessly to support our communities across the system. They are all doing an amazing job in extremely difficult circumstances.”

Chief Constable of Essex Police and Co-Chair of the Essex Local Resilience Forum, BJ Harrington, said:

“Declaring a major incident enables us to seek further support from the Government to address the severe pressures which the health system is under because of Covid-19.

“The people of Essex have been magnificent and are only dialling 999 or attending A&E in an emergency – we need this to continue because this will help protect the very limited capacity available at our hospitals. Please stay safe; work from home if possible, follow the social distancing rules, and only travel if absolutely necessary.”