Healthwatch City of London Christmas Bulletin 2021

Our Christmas bulletin brings you all the latest information on the new guidance issued by the Government this week and includes our Christmas information leaflet.

Have a Happy and Safe Christmas and New Year

All of the team at Healthwatch City of London wish you a Happy and Safe Christmas and New Year. Over the past year we have kept you up to date with all of the latest information on the COVID 19 pandemic and Health and Social Care provision. We will continue to do so in the New Year.

Our offices will be closed from 5pm Friday 17th December until 9am Tuesday 4th January. Urgent emails received up until 24th December will be responded to, please email Emails received after this date will be responded to after 4th January.

We urge you to follow Government Guidelines over the Christmas season and stay safe. There have been many changes to the guidelines this week, below you can access our Christmas information leaflet which details opening hours of local pharmacies and NHS providers over the Christmas period and the latest government guidance due to the rise on Omicron cases.

Wishing you health and happiness.

The Healthwatch City of London Team

Government Guidelines

England has moved to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant. The main guidance is:

  • Wear a face covering in most indoor public places and on public transport
  • Get tested and self-isolate if required (you can read how and where to get tested below)
  • Work from home, if you can
  • Get vaccinated (details of how are below)
  • Let fresh air in if you meet indoors. Meeting outdoors is safer
  • Wash your hands regularly and cover coughs and sneezes
  • Try and stay home if you are unwell

Find out more

To read the latest advice from Government, visit:  

Get Boosted now!

People aged 18 or over can pre-book a booster dose appointment 2 months after their second vaccine dose. You can get your booster dose 3 months after your second vaccine dose. Book your booster vaccination appointment or find a walk-in vaccination site.

We have been told by the Neaman Practice that all patients registered for home vaccinations, that have not yet received a booster vaccination, will be contacted. We understand that this will start this weekend.

Hospital sites

St Bartholomew’s Hospital

St Bartholomew’s Hospital will be offering walk in booster appointments from next week. The clinic will be open between 9am and 4pm on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 December, with more dates to be announced soon.

  • This is a walk-in service for people aged 18 and over. No booking is required.
  • Vaccines are provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • At least three months must have elapsed since your second dose in order to receive a booster.
  • First and second doses of the vaccine will also be available.
  • Visitors must have to hand their NHS number and know the date of their previous vaccines, if applicable.
  • All vaccines administered at St Bartholomew’s will be Pfizer.
  • Vaccines will be given in clinic one on the ground floor of the hospital, opposite the Barts Guild shop.
  • The clinic is a few moments from the hospital’s main entrance on King Edward Street and will be signposted on the day.

Please check their website for further updates.

Guy’s Hospital

  • Location: Burfoot Court Room, Counting House at Guy’s Hospital, Great Maze Pond, London SE1 9RT (view Site Map)
  • Day and time:
    • Pfizer (+16s): Monday to Saturday – 8am to 7pm
    • Moderna (+18s):
      • Monday, 8am-9pm
    • AstraZeneca (+40s) – 2nd dose only:
      • Monday, 10-12.30pm
  • Booking information: Walk-in, no appointment needed
  • Further information: The Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines are available at this clinic.

    First, second and booster doses available – second dose only offered if at least eight weeks since the first dose. Booster dose only offered if at least 3 months since second dose.

    You do not need proof of address, immigration status, ID or an NHS number.

St Thomas’ Hospital

  • LocationSt Thomas’ Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7EH (view Site Map)
  • Day and time: Monday to Saturday, 8am to 7pm – (weekdays = Vaccination Centre 2, Saturdays = Vaccination Centre 1)
  • Booking information: Walk-in, no appointment needed.
  • Further information: This clinic is for anyone age 12 and over.

    First, second and booster doses available – second dose only offered if at least eight weeks since the first dose. Booster dose only offered if at least 3 months since second dose.

    You do not need proof of address, immigration status, ID or an NHS number.

Primary Care sites

  • COVID-19 Vaccination Centre, 3A Bocking Street, E8 3RU
  • John Scott Health Centre, Green Lanes, London, N4 2NU
  • St. Leonard's Hospital, Nuttall Street, N1 5LZ

Pharmacy sites (booked through the national booking portal)

  • Boots, 120 Fleet St, EC4A 2BE
  • Clockwork Pharmacy - 398-400 Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 1HP
  • Bees Pharmacy - 199-201 Rushmore Road, Clapton, E5 0HD
  • Haggerston Pharmacy, 197-215 Haggerston Road, E8 4HU
  • Day Lewis Pharmacy, 77 Stoke Newington Rd, N16 8AD
  • Silverfields Chemists, 141 Homerton High St, E9 6AS
  • Spring Pharmacy, 223 Hoxton Street, N1 5LG
  • Murrays Pharmacy, 96-98 Murray Grove, N1 7QP

Alternatively, vaccinations for residents registered at Tower Hamlets GPs are being administered from:

  • Newby Place Health and Wellbeing Centre, 21 Newby Place, Poplar, E14 0EY
  • The Art Pavillion, Mile End Park, Clinton Road, E3 4QY

Get tested 

Getting tested for Covid-19 is really important in helping control the spread of the virus. It is important you get tested if you have symptoms and get tested if you don’t have symptoms but will be mixing with other people indoors.

If you are a City of London Corporation resident, are self-isolating and you require assistance, contact them by filling in the COVID-19 form, by emailing the COVID-19 mailbox, or by calling 020 7606 3030

There are different tests you can get to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19). The test you need depends on why you're getting tested.

The 2 main tests are:

  1. PCR tests – mainly for people with symptoms, they're sent to a lab to be checked
  2. rapid lateral flow tests – only for people who do not have symptoms, they give a quick result using a device similar to a pregnancy test

Both tests are free.

How to get rapid lateral flow tests

You can also collect rapid test kits from the COVID-19 Test Site Aldermanbury, London, EC2V 7HH. There is no need to book to collect your kits. The site is open between 9am and 3.15pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. There is no need to book to collect your kits.

How to book a PCR test

You can find the closest test site to you by going to the following link Covid testing in the City of London. For the City the main test site is located at COVID-19 Test Site Aldermanbury, London, EC2V 7HH. The site is open between 9am and 3.15pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. or you can book a PCR test on the NHS site Tests can also be booked by calling NHS119.   

New Guidance for those identified as a close contact of someone who tests positive with Covid 19.

As from 14th December the Government have changed the rules regarding anyone identified as a close contact of a positive case, irrespective of whether they are a close contact of the Delta variant or the Omicron variant.

If you test Positive 

As of now, anyone whose lateral flow test comes back positive or who develops COVID-19 symptoms whether (Omicron or not) should self-isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test ASAP to verify the result. If the PCR result comes back positive, they must self-isolate for 10 days from the day they took the positive lateral flow test or developed symptoms. 

If you test Negative

If the PCR result comes back negative - (whether Omicron or not), all adults who are fully vaccinated and children aged 5 to 18 years and 6 months, identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 – whether Omicron or not – should take a lateral flow device (LFD) test every day for 7 days instead of self-isolating. 

If you are close contact of someone who has tested positive

All close contacts of anyone who tests positive for Covid19 do not need to self-isolate but are now strongly encouraged to take a daily Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Test

We thought it would be useful to share the below FAQs with you:

Can contacts already isolating, come out of isolation and carry out LFT tests instead?

Yes, isolation can end and you can carry out daily LFT tests for the remainder of the time you would have been isolating

Do contacts of positive cases need to do LFT test and a PCR test?

The guidance replaces the requirement for close contacts to undertake a PCR test with recommended daily LFT tests. PCR tests only then need to be taken if someone develops symptoms or has a positive LFT test

Do contacts need to take a daily LFT test if they have tested positive in the previous 90 days for Covid19?

Yes, this new guidance replaces all previous guidance.  If the LFT test is positive, then a PCR test needs to be taken. The chance of a false positive test between the LFT test and PCR test is very low.

COVID 19 Passports

You need to show your NHS COVID Pass at nightclubs, some venues and large events to show you’re fully vaccinated, have had a negative test result in the last 48 hours, or you have an exemption. We are working on your behalf to find out how to obtain a Covid pass other than on line or by calling NHS 119.  

Who can get a digital NHS COVID Pass?

If you're aged 16 or over, you can get a digital NHS COVID Pass for travel. People under 16 may need to show a negative test result.

If you're 18 or over, you can also use your digital NHS COVID Pass for domestic events and venues. People under 18 do not have to show proof of their COVID-19 status for domestic events or venues in England.

Some venues and events are legally required to check the Covid status of visitors over 18. This applies to:

  • nightclubs
  • indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people
  • unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people
  • any venue with more than 10,000 people

You can now only enter these venues if you can show:

  • an NHS Covid Pass confirming you've been vaccinated with two doses of an approved vaccine (or a single-dose of Janssen vaccine)
  • a negative PCR or rapid lateral flow test (LFT) result, taken within the last 48 hours (the NHS Covid Pass can also show this as long as you've reported the LFT)
  • you have a medical exemption or are taking part in a clinical trial

You have to use an NHS test for this and must report your LFT result online or by calling 119.

Proof of natural immunity - for instance, a positive PCR test taken in the past six months - is not accepted as an alternative to proof of vaccination or a recent test.

Some large events aren't included in the rules, including communal worship, wedding ceremonies, funerals, protests and mass-participation sporting events (such as a marathon).

If you had your vaccination in the UK or the Isle of Man, it will automatically show on your NHS vaccination record within 5 days.

How long a digital NHS COVID Pass is valid for?

If you've had:

  • a vaccine used in the UK – your NHS COVID Pass lasts for 30 days, but the 30 day period refreshes every time you log in
  • a negative PCR test or rapid lateral flow test – your NHS COVID Pass is valid for 48 hours after a negative result
  • a positive PCR test – your NHS COVID Pass lasts 30 days, but the 30 day period refreshes every time you log in (for up to 180 days after you took the test)

If you download your digital NHS COVID Pass as a PDF, always check the expiry date before using it.

If you're fully vaccinated or had a positive test result, the barcode on a PDF is valid for 30 days.

The NHS App may ask you to confirm your phone number when you log in. If you do not confirm it, your NHS COVID Pass will be valid for 72 hours.

There are several ways in which you can obtain a COVID passport.

Via the NHS App

To get a digital COVID Pass you can obtain one by downloading the NHS App

The follow the instructions in the App


If you are unable to download the App you are able to obtain the pass online

You will need to be registered with a GP and you will need to create a NHS log in (if you don’t already have one)

You can download your digital NHS COVID Pass and print it.

Via post

If you cannot apply digitally using the NHS App or online service, you can ask for an NHS COVID Pass letter to be sent to you by post. Please note that booster vaccinations will not show on the NHS COVID pass letter.

If you are not registered with a GP you can use your NHS number. This is available on any letters you have received from any NHS Service provider.

The letter will be sent to the address you have registered with the NHS (usually the address you have registered with your GP.

You can request the letter online  

Via phone

You can call NHS119, Press Option 3 the COVID pass service. It would be useful to have your NHS number available when you call to speed the process up.

Flu vaccinations

If you've had COVID-19, it's safe to have the flu vaccine. It will still be effective at helping to prevent flu. You can get vaccinated at your GP surgery or a local pharmacy offering the service.

The groups now eligible are:

  • adults aged 50 and over
  • pregnant women
  • those with certain pre-existing conditions
  • NHS and social care workers
  • all children up to year 7
  • household contacts of those who are clinically extremely vulnerable

Flu vaccination is important because:

  • more people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • if you get flu and COVID-19 at the same time, research shows you're more likely to be seriously ill
  • getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 will provide protection for you and those around you for both these serious illnesses
  • If you've had COVID-19, it's safe to have the flu vaccine. It will still be effective at helping to prevent flu.

You can find a list of local pharmacies on our website

For further information and to book your vaccine visit the North East London flu vaccination site Home - Flu and Booster (

Christmas information leaflet

Please see below our Christmas information leaflet. The leaflet gives the opening hours of local pharmacies and NHS providers, this includes access to mental health services and your GP.

Christmas Information Leaflet

Healthwatch City of London Annual Public Meeting

Last Friday we held our Annual Public Meeting, a massive thank you to Catherine Pelley from Homerton Hospital and Professor Charles Knight OBE from St Bartholomew’s hospital, who both gave us an overview of how their hospitals have dealt with the pandemic and planning for the flu season and the new Omicron variant.

Following the meeting HWCoL have facilitated a conversation between the Neaman Practice and Barts around clearer pathways for cardiology appointments, and we have published an article on how to obtain Covid passports.

Thank you to everyone who attended. If you’d like to give us feedback or make suggestions for future webinars, please email us at

Last chance to give your views on City of London community pharmacies: PNA 2022 Public Questionnaire

Around every three years there is a review of pharmaceutical services across England. The survey closes on 17th December.

So, what are pharmaceutical services?

In the City of London, pharmaceutical services are provided from community pharmacies, internet pharmacies, and providers of specialist medical appliances. Community pharmacies also provide healthcare support and advice and are often the first point of contact when people are concerned about their health.

Why are views on pharmaceutical services being sought?

The City of London Health and Wellbeing Board, which Healthwatch City of London are a member, have a statutory duty to publish a Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment every three years, under the NHS (Pharmaceutical Services and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013.The Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment is a report of the current needs for pharmaceutical services. It is used to identify any gaps in current services or improvements that could be made in future pharmaceutical service provision. The Board want to make sure that you can access pharmaceutical services easily and that you are happy with the service you receive. Anyone who uses local pharmaceutical services is invited to comment.

Who will use the Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment?

It will be used by NHS England, City of London Corporation, and the Northeast London Clinical Commissioning Group to make decisions when applications for new pharmacies are received, and for the commissioning of other services that could be delivered by community pharmacies and other providers.

How can your views on Pharmaceutical Services views be heard?

A questionnaire has been developed, to get your views on pharmaceutical services that you use. If you would like to complete this online, you can access the survey by clicking on this link

The survey closes on Friday 17th December.

Healthwatch City of London website *further update*

Our project to review and update our website continues at full speed, this week we have uploaded information on the ereferral system Choose and Book. You can read how to access the system and what services are available to book.  

We would welcome your input so if you have any ideas how the site can be improved, please let us know by emailing

City Carers Community Share and Learn - Extra Sessions

The City Carers community have organised some more share and learn sessions for all unpaid carers to join, and a fun quiz. Please see the details below.

Share and Learn sessions

Monday 20th, 27th December & 3rd January 11am or 8pm (45 minutes) via Zoom or Telephone

Virtual Drop in, listen, ask questions and feel free to share your unpaid caring knowledge. Are you helping to look after a family member, friend or neighbour? Open to anyone, of any age, looking after someone in the City of London. Run voluntarily by City residents going through the same as you. You're not alone. For the zoom link or telephone number to join please email

Quiz in a box

Thursday 30th December 4pm (1 hour) via Zoom or Telephone

Do quizzes leave you feeling a card short of a deck? Do you roll your eyes at the thought? Do you relish the chance? Whichever way Everyone is welcome. Residents, friends, family and neighbours.  It can be just you on zoom or in a household. No experience or quiz prowess needed. This is just for laughter and fun.  Run voluntarily by City residents. To join in mail

Latest Covid-19 statistics for the City of London

The joint City and Hackney Public Health Intelligence Team produce regular statistics on Covid-19 levels and vaccination uptake data in the City. The site is updated regularly and accessible at   

HWCoL upcoming webinars

Healthwatch City of London have a programme of webinars booked for your interest and information in the New Year. The webinars are run alongside our regular events. Please see the details and how to join below.

Dr David Collier, William Harvey Research Institute Webinar 

Thursday 20th January 6pm – 7pm

Dr David Collier, Joint Clinical Director at the William Harvey Research Institute will be joining us on Thursday 20th January to talk about the William Harvey Research Institute, how it links with Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, and the current projects being undertaken by the research team.

You can submit a question for Dr Collier and register here

Accessing Long Covid Services in City and Hackney Webinar

Wednesday 2nd February 3pm – 4pm

We will be joined by Joanna Lyndon-Cohen, Highly Specialist Occupational Therapist from the City and Hackney Long Covid Services team. Joanna will be giving an overview of the services on offer for City residents who are suffering with symptoms of Long Covid.

Please register here to join us

Keep up to date with the latest advice

HWCoL are constantly updating our advice and information pages. Please make sure you visit them regularly.

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. email:  Tel: 020 3745 9563 Facebook: Twitter: @HealthwatchCoL

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