Healthwatch City of London Newsletter 25 February 2021

In the week the Prime Minister details the roadmap out of lockdown, this month's newsletter gives you all the details. It also brings you the latest on the vaccination programme and its uptake rate in the City.
Women reading advice and information leaflet by advice stand

Dear Reader,

At Healthwatch City of London we understand how worried you all are about the effect of this pandemic on our everyday lives. Today, we are cautiously optimistic that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

In the City of London, the vaccination programme is rolling out at speed, with over 80% of those in cohorts 1-4 having had their first vaccination, and 86% of Neaman Practice patients in cohorts 1-4 receiving theirs.

The CCG is now vaccinating cohorts 1-6 which includes 64–69-year-olds and those who are clinically vulnerable. You can read where to get your vaccination below.

This week has also seen the long-anticipated announcement from the Prime Minister on the roadmap for getting England out of lockdown. We are pleased that the focus for the plan is on data and not dates as a driver for progress. Whilst we wait for more information in the coming weeks, particularly on when workers can return to offices, we recognise that this may cause some anxiety for those of us who have lived without the hustle and bustle of the City for over a year. We will be working with the CoL to make sure safety is at the heart of the plans to bring back City Workers.  

We know that the pandemic has had a real impact on people metal health and to support you, we are holding a mental health focus group this Friday where we will be joined by colleagues from East London NHS foundation Trust, do join us.

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome Sean Lee to Healthwatch City of London as a Trustee, below you can read and interview with Sean and his ambitions for his work with us. I am very much looking forward to working alongside him using his invaluable insight to help us reach every community in the City.

Finally,  do join us at our Update on the Vaccination Programme event on 10th March. We’ll be joined by Dr Sandra Husbands from City and Hackney Public Health team and leaders from the CCG. Details of how to join us are below.

Thank you and stay safe.

Gail 

COVID 19 Vaccination update

City and Hackney CCG are now vaccinating groups 1-6, which now includes people aged 65-69, and those who are 16-64 who are clinically vulnerable.

Within the City of London, the current up uptake rate for the vaccination is 80% in cohorts 1-4, which is within the range of the National average.

Every person who falls into the groups 1-6 will be contacted three times to be offered the vaccine. This follows the protocol of the National Guidelines.

Vaccinations via NHS England (The National Programme) are being administered at the National Vaccination centres, our nearest being the ExCel centre, or from a pharmacy. The nearest are:

  • Clockwork Pharmacy - 398-400 Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 1HP
  • Bees Pharmacy - 199-201 Rushmore Road, Clapton, E5 0HD

You can book via the national online booking service: www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination, or if you are unable to book online can call 119 free of charge between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. Find out more by clicking on this link

Via the local Programme, invitations will be sent via letter or text from your GP practice, these will include a link to a website for you to book your appointment.

Vaccinations for residents registered at City GP’s are administered from:

  • COVID Vaccination Centre, 3A Bocking Street, E8 3RU
  • John Scott Health Centre, Green Lanes, London, N4 2NU

Vaccinations for residents registered at Tower Hamlets GP’s are being administered from: 

  • Newby Place Health and Wellbeing Centre, 21 Newby Place, Poplar, E14 0EY
  • Queen Mary’s University, Arts Research Centre, Mile End Road, E14 4NS

Extra help for people added to the shielding list

As mentioned in our last bulletin, thousands more people in the City are being asked to shield. This is because evidence about COVID-19 and the factors that lead people to become seriously ill is constantly improving. These people have been identified by a new risk assessment model, to predict a person’s risk of becoming seriously unwell from COVID-19.  This model has been developed using data which was gathered during the first wave of the pandemic.

Residents will be receiving letters directly from the NHS which enable them to register for support if needed, for example priority supermarket slots and access to statutory sick pay. Residents who are shielding should work from home and stay at home as much as possible. They should contact friends, family or neighbours to help, or order online, to access food or prescriptions – but if they can’t and need and need extra help, they can contact the City of London Corporation on 020 7606 3030 Mon – Fri between 9am-5pm or email col-covid-19@cityoflondon.gov.uk

We will publish updates, as and when we get them, on our new COVID 19 information pages

Welcome to our new Trustee, Sean Lee

We are delighted to welcome Sean Lee to Healthwatch City of London as a Trustee. Sean was officially introduced and accepted to the Board at our Board meeting in Public on 12th February.

 

In this interview we get to find out more about Sean and why he decided to become part of Healthwatch City of London.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have lived in the City since 2012. I am a qualified accountant who trained in London. Professionally my experience is in accounting and finance, project management, internal audit, and external audit encompass in the UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and China, across various industries and commerce. I have gained my experience and skills from working in various industries and commerce. Personally, I live on the Middlesex Street Estate where I am a member of the Middlesex Street Residents Association and the Petticoat Square Leaseholders' Association

How did you find out about Healthwatch City of London?

I saw a Trustee recruitment advert placed on the main entrance notice board where the estate office normally communicates important messages to all residents, and it caught my eye. I was curious about what is Healthwatch as an organisation and I wanted to find out more.

Why did you want to become a trustee?

I did some research on the internet and Healthwatch website. I was surprised to find out the important role that Healthwatch is carrying out for everyone who use Health and Social care services, and how they make those health and social care services work better for us.

I feel that our GP, social care services and access to NHS resources are all very critical to everyone but we might not know how to get help when we need. I want to help everyone get fair access to these services.

What are the main things you want to achieve?

In the current lockdown situation, everyone needs support as we try to get through this pandemic as soon as possible. I want to support Healthwatch City of London to reach all the residents, students and workers, to provide them with the most updated and accurate information.

I want Healthwatch City of London to engage more with the East of the City and help build its reputation within our community. Within this I would like to engage with more people to listen to their experiences and share their views. It is important our voice is heard to ensure that people’s needs are met, and the service providers deliver the services to best suit our requirements.

What are you most excited about?

I am looking forward to working with the team at Healthwatch City of London, they are a team of dedicated and experienced people, many of whom are volunteers.

I’m also looking forward to focussing on the community and their Health and Social Care needs, making sure they have access to the right services at the right time.

I’d really like to help build a larger team of volunteers that is truly representative of the population of the City of London, I think this will help us to fully understand and represent our community.

Why is Healthwatch City of London important to the City of London’s residents?

I think it’s important as many people do not feel confident or comfortable asking for advice or help. We can help build that relationship and point people in the right direction.

Roadmap out of lockdown

The UK Government has this week announced the roadmap out of the current lockdown in England. So far, over 17 million people have received a vaccine across the UK.

The Government has achieved its goal to offer a first dose of the vaccine by 15 February to all those in the four most vulnerable cohorts. The Government aims for everyone who is 50 and over, or at risk, to have been offered a first dose of the vaccine by 15 April, and for everyone aged 18 and over to have been offered a first dose by 31 July.

The success of the vaccination rollout, alongside falling infections and hospitalisations, has paving the way for the safe and gradual lifting of restrictions. Vaccines will mean that fewer people will get COVID-19 and that those who do are far less likely to go to hospital or to die. However, not all those offered the vaccine will take it up and there are some groups, such as children, for whom the vaccine is not yet authorised. The Government will take a cautious approach to easing lockdown, guided by the data in order to avoid a surge in infections that would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

Increased vaccination reduces the risk of infection leading to severe disease or death. However, as with other diseases like the flu, some degree of risk will always remain. As social and economic restrictions are lifted, it will be increasingly important for people to consider the risks for themselves, taking into account whether they and those they meet have been vaccinated or have any pre-existing vulnerabilities.

The roadmap outlines four steps for easing restrictions. Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of the previous step. This assessment will be based on four tests:

a. The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.

b. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.

c. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

d. The assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

It takes around four weeks for the data to reflect the impact of the previous step and the Government will provide a further week’s notice to individuals and businesses before making changes.

The roadmap steps are set out in brief summary below for the full detail please visit COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) :

Step 1:

8 March

  • Schools and colleges are open for all students. Practical Higher Education Courses.
  • Recreation or exercise outdoors with household or one other person. No household mixing indoors.
  • Wraparound childcare.
  • Stay at home.
  • Funerals (30), wakes and weddings (6)

29 March

  • Rule of 6 or two households outdoors. No household mixing indoors.
  • Outdoor sport and leisure facilities.
  • Organised outdoor sport allowed (children and adults).
  • Minimise travel. No holidays.
  • Outdoor parent & child groups (up to 15 parents).

Step 2

At least five weeks after Step 1, no earlier than 12 April.

  • Indoor leisure (including gyms) open for use individually or within household groups.
  • Rule of 6 or two households outdoors. No household mixing indoors.
  • Outdoor attractions such as zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas.
  • Libraries and community centres.
  • Personal care premises.
  • All retail.
  • Outdoor hospitality.
  • All children’s activities, indoor parent & child groups (up to 15 parents).
  • Domestic overnight stays (household only).
  • Self-contained accommodation (household only).
  • Funerals (30), wakes, weddings and receptions (15).
  • Minimise travel. No international holidays.
  • Event pilots begin.

Step 3

At least five weeks after Step 2, no earlier than 17 May.

  • Indoor entertainment and attractions.
  • 30 person limit outdoors. Rule of 6 or two households (subject to review).
  • Domestic overnight stays.
  • Organised indoor adult sport.
  • Most significant life events (30).
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment (including performances).
  • Remaining accommodation.
  • Some large events (expect for pilots) - capacity limits apply.
  • Indoor events: 1,000 or 50%.
  • Outdoor other events: 4,000 or 50%.
  • Outdoor seated events: 10,000 or 25%.
  • International travel - subject to review.

Step 4

At least five weeks after Step 3, no earlier than 21 June. By Step 4, the Government hopes to be able to introduce the following (subject to review):

  • No legal limits on social contact
  • Nightclubs.
  • Larger events.
  • No legal limit on life events.

Upcoming Healthwatch City of London Events

One of Healthwatch City of London’s purposes is to understand the needs, experiences and concerns of people who use health and social care services and to speak out on their behalf. To ensure we hear of and know of your concerns we run regular events. Ideally, we’d like to hold them face to face, but because of the current pandemic we are restricted to Zoom events.

Please see a list of our events below with joining details.

Mental Health Focus Group – Friday 26th February

Overview: We would like to hear from anyone who or knows of anyone who’s mental health has suffered as a result of the pandemic. We will be joined by Dean Henderson from East London Foundation Trust and colleagues from MIND.

Time: 3pm – 4pm

Joining details:
https://zoom.us/j/92880753825?pwd=Y1ppQjhvM3VRTXM4TU5IYW5zaWl1Zz09 

Meeting ID: 928 8075 3825 Passcode: 429130 Dial in: 0203 481 5237

COVID 19 vaccination programme information event – Wednesday 10th March

Overview: We are holding an information evening for City of London residents, to give an update on the vaccination programme. Residents are invited to submit questions prior to the event, which will then be put to the panel. Confirmed for the panel so far are Dr Sandra Husbands, Director Public Health, City of London and Hackney Public Health. The event will be chaired by our Chair Gail Beer.

Time: 6pm – 7pm

Further details: To submit a question and to register for the event, please email info@healthwatchcityoflondon.org.uk

Voice for disabled residents

Disabled residents have faced more difficulties than most during Covid. The eight North East London local Healthwatch, in partnership with the East London Health and Care Partnership (the eight councils and 12 NHS organisations in East London), are conducting a programme of community insights gathering with disabled residents.

The impact of Covid 19 and how services have changed as a result will be highlighted, we want to understand how these changes are affecting our disabled residents so we can inform service delivery in the future.  

If you have a health condition that impacts your daily life, we want you to help shape healthcare services locally by completing our questionnaire.

You can access the survey by clicking on this link https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NEL_disabled                                                                                                                  

If you look after somebody who would not be able to answer questions themselves, for example if you are the parent of a disabled young child, the carer for someone with a severe learning disability or dementia please complete this survey https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NEL_carers

If you have any questions or need help please email Paul Coles on paul@healthwatchcityoflondon.org.uk

Anyone who completes the survey can enter into a draw to win Amazon vouchers.

Set up your own personalised care plan

All City of London residents can now have a personalised care plan. The plan is linked to all the urgent care services including 111, the out of hours GPs, the London Ambulance Service and all the emergency departments.

If you would like a personalised plan that includes your wishes and preferences, go online and fill in a questionnaire at www.coordinatemycare.co.uk/for-patients/mycmc/

As soon as you complete the questionnaire and you press the submit button, the questionnaire will automatically go to your NHS GP. Your GP will then add your clinical details and approve the plan. Once the plan is approved all the urgent care services can view it. This way, 111, the out of hours GPs, the London Ambulance Service and the emergency departments will have key information about you, so they won’t be strangers to you when they are called. For more information about the care plan you can visit the coordinatemycare.co.uk website.

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. https://hackney.gov.uk/coronavirus-data

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.

Web: www.healthwatchcityoflondon.org.uk Email: info@healthwatchcityoflondon.org.uk

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

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