Healthwatch City of London Christmas Newsletter 2020

Our Christmas newsletter gives the latest information on the Covid vaccination programme across London, and details of Health and Social Care provision over the Christmas period.

Dear Reader,

Welcome to our Christmas Newsletter.  The darker nights are accompanied by darker news, and as we enter Tier 3 it is important that we maintain our vigilance and follow the guidance, keeping ourselves and members of our community safe. 

Our edition this month features the arrival of the vaccine and the guidance on accessing the service for those who are most vulnerable amongst us.  As we move into next year, we will see more people vaccinated and the programme will gather pace. We are working very closely with the CCG to keep you up to date so please check into our website at regular intervals to find out more.

As usual we have collated a list of service availability over the holiday period and you can find out more details by following the links.  We are very grateful to our partners in the City Foodbank who managed to deliver 150 of our leaflets by hand as we make every effort to reach those who are not able to access the internet as easily or regularly as many of us now do. A subject we will be coming back to in the New Year.

A reminder in this issue that health and social care services continue to seek volunteers to participate in helping how care is commissioned.  If you have a rare disease or have cared for someone who does; have a special interest, then there is an opportunity to work with the NHS to influence specialist commissioning. I would encourage anyone who is interested to apply. It is only by getting involved that we make our voice heard. Speaking of which, in the New Year we will be sharing with you our latest work on finding out what you want from your local GP as we at HWCoL play our part in supporting the development of the Primary Care Network. Making sure City residents get the access to the services we need is part of our core work. We will be asking you to help us.

Please stay safe and stick to the rules this Christmas and do look out for those who are lonely and isolated too.  There are many who would love to hear a friendly voice or see a friendly face. Christmas can be difficult every year for some people.  

Although we will be in smaller groups, I know we will all relish the time we have with our families or friends, which ever bubble you are in.  Where possible, we all need a bit of downtime and a chance to rest.

Wishing you a safe Christmas

Gail Beer Chair, Healthwatch City of London

Coronavirus Vaccine

The first local community COVID-19 vaccination services run by family doctors and their teams opened in north east London this week, as the roll-out of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history gains further momentum.

Several GP practices in Barking and Dagenham, City and Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest have taken delivery of 975 doses of vaccine and have started COVID-19 vaccination clinics. 45 doses went to Neaman Practice Patients, which we estimate covers 10% of those eligible within the City of London. We understand that all the doses allocated for City and Hackney patients have now been distributed.

It is vitally important that if you have received the first jab, that you attend for the second jab. Patients will have been given the time and date of their second appointment when they went to Elsdale Street Practice for their first jab. It is important as you only get the 95% cover after the second dose. Patients are asked to arrive just before their appointment is due to avoid a safe distance can be maintained whilst waiting.

Patients are now being urged to wait to be called for their vaccination appointment, this is in line with National Guidelines, however the Neaman Practice is happy for eligible patients to contact them between 10am – 12pm when vaccines are available. People registered at all other practices should wait until they are contacted.

When contacted the GP will have a discussion with the patient about the vaccine, this will cover allergies and administration of the vaccine. Patients will be contacted according to their clinical need and age when the next round of vaccinations are due.

Practices were asked to identify their most vulnerable patients those aged over 80 and according to clinical need, first for vaccination. For City and Hackney residents, the vaccinations took place at Elsdale Street Practice, E9 6QY, to which transport was provided to Neaman Practice patients.

There is no set date for the next batch of the vaccine, but Healthwatch City of London understand that it will be early January. City and Hackney are in the process of opening further vaccination centres at The Lawson Practice and the John Scott health Centre.

Healthwatch City of London will continuously monitor the situation and keep you updated when we are aware of the next vaccination roll out.

Latest COVID-19 data for the City of London

The joint City and Hackney Public Health Intelligence Team produce regular statistics on Covid-19 levels in the City. The site below breaks down the cases in the City, and in Hackney, and by Ward, this enables residents to see the wider picture of infection rates. The site is updated regularly.

London now in Tier 3

The government announced this week that London has been placed in tier 3 restrictions to tackle the spread of COVID-19. Please follow the guidance set out although during the Christmas period (23 to 27 December) different rules on social contact will apply.

City & Hackney Safeguarding Adults Board Newsletter

The City and Hackney Safeguarding Adults Board Newsletter have released their December newsletter which includes an overview of the Adults Safeguarding week held in November.

You can download it from our website

Bring your voice to NHS specialised services 

NHS England and NHS Improvement is recruiting to a range of Patient Public Voice (PPV) partner roles on groups with responsibility for the commissioning of specialised services. 

For full details on the roles and how to apply visit this web page: 

These PPV roles support the commissioning of often rare and complex specialised services across England. This includes treatment for rare cancers, genetic disorders, or complex medical conditions or surgical procedures. PPV partners ensure patients and the public are at the heart of specialised commissioning - informing, supporting, and influencing the work of these groups. 

All Specialised Commissioning roles currently open to applications are considered Expert PPV Advisor roles and, in line with the NHS England and NHS Improvement’s PPV policy, include an involvement fee which PPV partners are eligible to claim. 

To watch a short video which explains the work of PPV partners in specialised services see here The deadline for applications is 17 January 2021. 

Health & Social Care service over the Christmas Period

Healthwatch City of London recognise that provision of Health and Social care can change over the holiday period, therefore we have pulled together this guide to services across the City of London.

NHS 111

If you have an urgent, but not life-threatening health problem you can contact NHS 111. Simply dial 111, the call is free from landline and mobiles. You answer questions about your symptoms on telephone by speaking to a fully trained adviser on the phone.

You can ask for a translator if you need one.

Depending on the situation you will:

  • find out what local service can help you
  • be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist, or GP
  • get a face-to-face appointment if you need one
  • be told how to get any medicine you need
  • get self-care advice

NHS 111 can book you an appointment at your local A&E or emergency department. This means you will have an allocated time to attend hospital and be treated, so you do not have to wait a long time to be seen. Tel: 111

In an emergency you should always dial 999.


To find where to get an emergency prescription you can visit and enter your postcode, this will give you the nearest available pharmacy. Here are the opening hours of a selection of pharmacies in your area.

Portmans Pharmacy, 5, Cherry Tree Walk, Whitecross Street, London EC1Y 8NX Tel: 020 7638 0067. Usual opening hours are Mon – Fri 9am – 6:30pm, Sat 9am – 5pm.

Lloyds Pharmacy, Sainsbury’s, Cambridge Heath Road, Whitechapel, E1 5SD Tel: 020 73776916. Open 8am – 8pm Mon to Sat, 11am – 5pm Sun. Closed 25th and 26th December.

Boots Pharmacy, 88 Aldgate High St, London, Greater London, EC3N 1LH Tel: 020 7265 0343. Open 8pm – 6pm Mon – Fri. Closed 25th, 26th and 28th December and 1st January.

Day Lewis Pharmacy, 12-14, Old Montague Street, London, E1 5PB Tel: 020 7247 1895. Open 8am – 7pm weekdays. Closed 25th and 28th December 1st January.

Chapel Pharmacy, 139 Cannon Street Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E1 2LX Tel: 020 74806796. Open 9am - 7pm 24th and 31st December, 9:30am - 6pm 26th December. Closed 25th, 28th December and 1st January

A&E Departments (24 hours unless stated)

University College Hospital, 235 Euston Road, NW1 2BU (adults only) (Entrance on Gower Street, opposite Euston Square Tube Station) Tel: 020 3456 7890

Royal London Hospital A&E, Whitechapel Road, E1 1FR Tel: 020 7377 7000 The hospital contains a paediatric A&E department.  

Whittington Hospital, Emergency Department, Magdala Avenue, London N19 5NF (Children and young people) Tel: 020 7272 3070

St Thomas' Hospital A & E, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7EH Tel: 020 7188 7188 Also located on this site is Evelina Children’s Hospital where the A&E department is open as normal.

The Homerton Hospital A&E, Homerton Row, E9  6SR Tel: 020 8510 7120

Guy's Hospital Urgent Care Centre, Ground Floor, Tabard Annexe, Great Maze Pond, London SE1 9RT (8am – 8pm) 020 7188 7188 Please note that this is NOT an A&E department.

Neaman Practice

The surgery will be open as normal over the period, with the exception of the 25th December, 28th December and 1st January when it will be closed.

Normal opening hours apply the rest of the time. Tel: 020 76009740 to book an appointment. 

Mental Health Services

Mental Health services will be provided by the East London NHS Foundation Trust up to 24th December and after 29th December, during this time you should contact your Duty Worker if you are an existing service user. If you need support, there is a crisis helpline which is open throughout the period. You can call 0800 0730006

City Advice

City Advice will be closed over the Christmas period, however you can visit their website for emergency contacts for emergency and statutory services

Safeguarding issues

To report any safeguarding concerns you have, use the telephone numbers below:

Adults: 020 8356 2300 Children: 020 8356 2710

Get in touch with Healthwatch City of London

Visit our website for more information, news, and events, have your say about your care, and spread the word about Healthwatch City of London.

Healthwatch City of London will be closed from 5pm Friday 18th December until 9am Tuesday 5th January. 

We wish you all a happy and safe Christmas and New Year

Web: Email: Tel: 020 3745 9563 Twitter: @HealthwatchCoL Facebook: @CoLHealthwatch

Portsoken Health and Community Centre, 14-16 Little Somerset Street, London E1 8AH

Our sole purpose is to understand the needs, experiences and concerns of people who use health and social care services and to speak out on their behalf. We focus on ensuring that people’s worries and concerns about current services are addressed and we work to get services right for the future. Given the current situation, we realise that many health and social care services are being delivered differently and will be so in the future. We are launching a series of surveys to gain a further understanding of your needs, views and experiences of the current, and future provision of services. Make sure your voice is heard by completing the surveys .

Survey 1: Your experience of accessing services in the current situation (closed)

Survey 2: Your experience of using the NHS 111 service (closed)

Survey 3: Access to GP surgeries during Covid 19 (closed)

Survey 4: Carers survey (closed)

Survey 5: Access to dentists during Coronavirus

Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey.

Your views are important to us.