Vitamin D supplement supply

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Many people have been indoors more than usual this year and so might not have been making enough vitamin D from sunlight.

Particularly during the autumn and winter months everyone is advised to take a supplement of vitamin D every day to support general health and in particular for bone and muscle health.

Vitamin D supplements are available to purchase in pharmacies, health food shops and supermarkets. It is expected that patients will purchase such supplements. Community pharmacists or other healthcare professionals are able to advise on suitable vitamin D products.

This advice is particularly important for people who have been shielding this year due to COVID-19 because they are most likely to have been indoors over the spring and summer and so may not have been able to obtain enough vitamin D from sunlight.

A free 4-month supply of daily supplements of vitamin D is available for all adults who are clinically extremely vulnerable to support general health and in particular for bone and muscle health.

To opt-in to receive a free supply of vitamin D if you qualify, you will need register details between 30 November 2020 and 4 January 2021 at the following link:  

You can use this service if all of these apply:

  • You have received a letter from the NHS or the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) saying you're at high risk from coronavirus
  • You're aged 18 or over
  • You live in England

When you apply, a check will be made to ensure you are on the shielded patients list of people at high risk from coronavirus. If you have received a letter about this already, you're on the list.

Do not opt-in to receive the vitamin D supplements if:

  • You are already taking a vitamin D supplement or are prescribed Calcium and vitamin D by your GP or healthcare professional
  • You are currently living in a nursing or residential care home as supplies will be provided directly to the home where you live.

Distribution of the vitamin D supplements will start from January 2021.

Further guidance on how to safely take vitamin D supplements will be provided during the opt in process.

You can find general advice on vitamin D here:

Response to Independent review on 'James' case

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An independent review into the tragic case of ‘James’ have today been published. The provider, Essex Partnership University Trust and NHS England and Improvement have published their responses.

These together with the plan to address the recommendations made can be found  on the NHS England website

EPUT Actions are here: Essex Partnership University Trust, which is cited in the independent investigation report, has also published an action plan in response to the findings.

If you have any concerns about an adult please contact Southend, Essex orThurrock (SET) Safeguarding Adults Boards:

For concerns about children visit:

Essex hospice launches new Wellbeing, Information and Support Hub for patients

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St. Luke’s Hospice in Basildon has launched a new Wellbeing, Information and Support Hub (WISH) for people living with a life-challenging or life-limiting illness.

The new integrated service combines three traditional hospice departments; Day Hospice, the Information Resource Service and Complementary Therapy Service; under one umbrella, making it an easy to access holistic experience.

A comprehensive package of support will be on offer, with a variety of clinical and therapeutic services and support groups available. Alongside professional advice, people will be empowered to make their own choices and decisions about the support they need, helping them maintain independence and enhance their quality of life, whilst building knowledge and confidence to live as well as possible with their condition.

The support on offer includes medical assessments and support from specialist nurses and doctors, access to wellbeing support groups and courses, outpatient clinics and complementary therapies including massage.

WISH was developed in response to and from learning attained by the coronavirus pandemic. Over the past six months, St. Luke’s Hospice has responded to the enormous challenges faced in light of the pandemic, re-shaping many of its services to enable it to meet the needs of people in the local community.

It is also hoped the service will be utilised by people in the local community, many of whom may not have known the breadth of support St Luke’s Hospice has to offer.

Sharon Quinn, Director of Care and Quality at St. Luke’s Hospice, said: “With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the challenges faced, there has never been a greater need or opportunity to adapt our services for those who need us. Our new Wellbeing, Information and Support Hub brings together all we have to offer to help people with their medical, emotional and social needs, whilst empowering them to make decisions about their own care.

“We’re looking forward to supporting people at WISH and would encourage anyone in our local community living with a life-limiting or life-challenging illness to get in touch to find out how we may be able to support you.”

Referrals to WISH can be made by anyone living with a life-challenging or life-limiting illness in the districts of Basildon and Thurrock as well as the health and/or social care professionals involved in their care.

For more information about the service, please contact the WISH team on 01268 524973 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Parents: get the best safe sleeping advice for your baby

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Parents in mid and south Essex are receiving a helping hand on how to ensure their baby sleeps safely.

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The CCGs in mid and south Essex have launched a campaign aimed at providing parents and parents-to-be with the latest advice on providing a safe sleeping environment for their baby.

Every year more than 200 babies die suddenly and unexpectantly across the UK while sleeping. These deaths are a result of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The exact causes of SIDS are not fully understood but there are actions that parents can take to reduce the risk to their baby. These focus on the best position for a baby and creating a safe sleeping environment and include:

  • Laying a baby on their back for sleep;
  • Sharing a room with a baby for the first six months;
  • Never sleeping with a baby on an armchair or sofa;
  • Sticking with cots or Moses Baskets for sleeping. Other sleeping products like sleeping pods, nests, and baby hammocks do not follow safer sleeping guidelines and are not recommended;
  • Sharing a bed with a baby (also known as co-sleeping) is not recommended. Parents should never share a bed with a baby when their baby was born premature or at a low weight (below 2.5kg / 5½ lbs); and they should never share a bed with a baby if they smoke, have been drinking alcohol or have taken drugs, including prescription medicines that cause drowsiness;
  • Keeping a cot clear of anything but bedding: this includes but is not limited to removing soft toys, pillows, and cot bumpers;
  • Keeping a baby at a comfortable temperature, around 16-20°C and regularly checking their temperature by feeling the back of their neck or chest.

Dr Sooraj Natarajan, Essex GP and clinical lead for children and young people’s health in mid and south Essex, said: “Becoming a parent is one of the most challenging things that anyone can do. We know parents want the best for their baby, but it can sometimes be confusing knowing what advice to follow and what sources of information to trust. Our new campaign aims to share the very latest advice with parents that is based on clinical knowledge and expertise.

“many parents worry about the risks of SIDS, but there is a lot they can do to create a safer sleeping environment for their baby. If you have any questions or concerns on how to prepare a baby for sleep properly, then please do talk to a health professional such as your midwife or health visitor.”

For more advice on safe sleeping for babies, please visit:

Keeping people safer by breaking the cycle of domestic abuse

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“Everyone deserves to live a life free of domestic abuse.” – That’s the message from the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board (SETDAB) as it aims to raise awareness of how people can get help and change their behaviours.

Latest Essex Police figures reveal that more people are being protected by the partnership work that is place.

  • Repeat incidents are DOWN by 765 in the last year
  • Arrests are UP by more than 2,000 – taking more suspects into custody so they’re prevented from causing more harm
  • More than 250 plus Domestic Violence Protection Notices issued this year – keeping more people safe
  • 431 MORE cases have been solved

But the Board are not stopping there, and all of the partners want more people to be safe and get the help they need.

Next week, to coincide with International Day of the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25th, the partners will be highlighting different elements of their work and priorities on social media.

They will promote help and support for victims, show ways that perpetrators can help to change their behaviour, look at stalking, highlight how domestic abuse affects young people and children and educate people on how to spot the signs of domestic abuse.

Breaking the cycle of domestic abuse is a key priority in the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex’s Police and Crime Plan. Deputy PFCC Jane Gardner chairs SETDAB and says now more than ever, when people are spending more time at home and may be at risk of greater harm, people need to be made aware of what can go on.

Jane said: “This week gives us an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of the different types of domestic abuse, look at how it affects people and signpost where people can go for help and support.

“Only by working with the representatives from agencies and organisations in partnership can we go a significant way to realise Southend, Essex and Thurrock’s vision of a County where everyone lives a life free from domestic abuse.”

Chief Superintendent Andy Mariner said: “In the last year we’ve seen some real success in our work tackling domestic abuse, we’ve made 2,000 more arrests, incidents involving repeat victims are down and we’ve issued even more Domestic Violence Protection Notices.

“All of this is good news and means we are making good strides to keep people safe and catch domestic abuse perpetrators, but we are not complacent, one victim is one victim too many.

“Tackling domestic abuse is a matter for all of us – whether you are a police officer who can protect a victim and put an offender behind bars, whether you work in housing and can help someone suffering move away and start afresh, whether you work in education and can support a child who has seen abuse in the home - we all have a role to play.

“During the restrictions we know that some people suffering at the hands of an abusive partner may have felt isolated, particularly not being able to see friends and family.

“But we need people suffering to know that the help continues to be available, the restrictions haven’t changed anything, we will protect victims, we will remove you from dangerous and violent situations and we will all come together to give you the support you need.

“There is help available and this campaign aims to remind people that we are all here to support you and tackling domestic abuse continues to be a priority for all of the partner organisations who make up SETDAB.”

Following on from the campaign 250,000 leaflets will be distributed into 360 supermarkets across Essex, Southend and Thurrock which have been produced by Essex Police. The leaflet will contain useful information on where people can get help, advice and support.

To find out more about the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board go to