Healthwatch City of London Bulletin 59

Our first bulletin of the New Year gives you the latest guidance and updates from across Health and Social Care in the City.

Happy New Year

All of the team at Healthwatch City of London wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year. Covid continues to dominate how we live our lives and we find ourselves coping with changes to advice and guidance. Some of this came out over the Christmas period, but it is a rapidly moving environment. Our commitment is to keep you up to date. Read on for all of the details.

Numbers in the City are increasing. The rise in infections had been most pronounced in the younger age groups both amongst children attending education and working age adults, but there are signs that rates in those over 60 are now continuing to increase whilst other age groups are stabilising or decreasing.

If you have any concerns or if there is anything that you think we need to give further details on, please let us know via email on

Latest COVID 19 medical guidance

You should adhere to the following guidelines if you feel unwell or need to attend routine medical appointments.

  • If you urgently need medical help or advice but it is not a life-threatening situation, or if you don’t know who to ring, call NHS 111. 
  • If it’s a serious or life-threatening emergency, call 999.
  • If you are told to go to hospital it is important that you go to hospital.
  • If you need medical help from your GP practice, contact them either online, by an app or by phone to be assessed.
  • Attend routine medical appointments, including outpatient appointments adhering to the infection control measures (hands, face, space)
  • Attend routine screening appointments adhering to the infection control measures (hands, face, space)

Get Boosted now!

The most important thing that anyone can do is get vaccinated and have your booster (and flu jab) The NHS is seeing the benefit of vaccination on the severity of illness. If you are already vaccinated, please encourage friends and family to get their vaccination and booster jabs as soon as possible.

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.

Hospital sites

Guy’s Hospital: You do not need proof of address, immigration status, ID or an NHS number for vaccination.

  • 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.
    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.

Primary Care sitesD-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)

A new centre has opened on the City/Tower Hamlets border at Sai Pharmacy, 19 Stable Walk, Goodman’s Fields, E1 8EJ

  • 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

Changes to visitor guidelines at London Hospitals

With the continued spread of the Omicron Covid 19 variant the following guidelines have been issued for visitors to London Hospitals.

Barts Health NHS Trust

They are no longer allowing visitors to the Trust’s hospital Wards. Visitors are only permitted if any of the following exceptional circumstances are met:

  • Patients receiving end-of-life care
  • People using our maternity services
  • If a person needs a familiar carer / parent / guardian / supporter / personal assistant (e.g. if the person has dementia or learning difficulties)
  • Both parents/guardians for children
  • Patients who need assistance with communication and / or to meet their health, emotional, religious, or spiritual care needs

Outpatient appointments are still running though some appointments will take place via telephone and video, where safe to do so. If a patient needs to be seen in person, they will be. The trust are asking all visitors to do a lateral flow before they arrive, and to show proof of this. Infection control rules (hands, face, space) remain in place.

The most up-to-date information can be found on their website


They are only allowing patients and staff in all areas of the hospital. Visitors will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

The hospital recommends virtual visits to maintain contact with your loved ones. Volunteers and staff can help patients stay in touch with friends and family via virtual calls, for example providing iPads and assisting with mobile phones.

Visits are considered only in exceptional circumstances where one visitor – an immediate family member or carer – will be permitted to visit.

These include:

  • one regular carer for a patient with additional needs, e.g. dementia or learning difficulties
  • one parent/guardian for a child (more detailed information can be found on their children and young people's services pages)
  • one person with you at key stages during your pregnancy (more detailed information can be found on their maternity pages)
  • for a patient receiving end of life care
  • for a patient where a change in treatment would benefit from a meaningful exchange
  • one close relative for a long-stay patient where a visit would improve wellbeing.

Any visits must be pre-booked with the ward team, please do not visit unless you have been authorised to do so, as you may be refused entry.

You should continue to attend your outpatient appointments unless you have been told not to attend. Please attend all appointments and the emergency department (A&E) alone unless you have a designated carer that needs to assist you. They ask that at the current time you do not bring children to the hospital unless they are a patient. A friend, carer or family member can collect you from the entrance of the hospital when you are leaving. If you need help to get to the entrance to meet them, one of the porters or nursing staff will help you.

For more information go to their visitor information pages

Homerton University NHS Trust

They are restricting access to all acute hospital wards to essential personnel. Visitors will not be allowed access to these wards, this is to protect patients, staff and the general public. The restriction on visitors includes the intensive care unit and the Regional Neurological Rehabilitation Unit.

There are a number of exceptions:

  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Both parents only.
  • Maternity Delivery Suite/Birth Centre. One birth partner only. (Doula’s and women with exceptional cases are to be reviewed and agreed on a case-by-case basis). No children at any time.
  • Maternity Antenatal Ward (Turpin): One person between 2pm and 6pm daily (same person each day). 24 hours visiting. No children at any time.
  • Maternity Scans: One person to accompany a women having a 12 or 20 week scan. No children at any time.
  • Maternity Postnatal Ward (Templar):  One person, who must be your primary birth partner, 24 hours visiting. No children at any time.
  • Carers (for instance, from a care home needing to remain with the patient)
  • Patients with complex care needs requiring their carer
  • Patients coming to the end of their life. Relatives will be as asked to supply staff with a list of family members. Only one family member at a time can access the hospital.

Faith leaders have also been contacted with this message: Due to the current pandemic and national guidance the Trust has taken the decision to stop all visiting to general ward areas. They fully acknowledge that it is important for relatives to have time with their loved one as they enter their final stages of life. To ensure they are able to provide this they ask that a list is provided to the nursing team of people that will need to visit. They ask that these are immediate family members only and not family members that are self-isolating or symptomatic. People requesting access who are not on the list will not be granted access to the hospital premises. They also request that visitors attend the hospital one at a time and that they leave either before or on arrival of the next visitor.

Regular hospital appointments

For people still visiting the Homerton hospital for blood tests should enter the hospital via the front entrance to the site on Homerton Row and ask for directions to the Clifden Centre where phlebotomists are holding blood testing sessions.

Patients are still urged to attend A&E and children’s A&E if necessary and to attend their appointments (either outpatient, elective surgery or diagnostics tests). 

For the latest information visit their Covid update pages

General information from the City and Hackney Integrated Care Partnership (ICP)

The most important thing that anyone can do is get vaccinated and have your booster (and flu jab) The ICP is seeing the benefit of vaccination on the severity of illness.

If you have symptoms do get a PCR test and follow self-isolation guidance.

Use 111/primary care and only attend Emergency Departments if it is a medical emergency

If you are attending a hospital appointment, please follow the guidelines below:

  • For planned appointments do not attend if you are symptomatic but contact the department and seek advice.
  • On attendance, please wear a face mask at all times
  • Attend appointments unaccompanied where possible
  • Follow advice Government advice on social distancing and hand hygiene
  • If you use transport provided by ERS they are following infection control guidance to reduce the risk including cleaning of vehicles, mask wearing, working with staff on vaccination and hand hygiene
  • Consider regular lateral flow testing to ensure asymptomatic cases are identified in the household and family/carer network to reduce risk of transmission.

Getting help for children

When your child is ill or injured, it can be difficult to decide what help they need. Barts Health NHS Trust and East London Health and Care Partnership have put together a helpful guide to help you decide which NHS service to use.

The effects of the pandemic on children’s mental health are increasing. Public Health England has launched new psychological first aid training for those who work with or care for children and young people affected by COVID-19 or other crises. This free course will help anyone who cares for or is regularly in contact with children and young people up to the age of 25, including parents and caregivers. You don’t need any prior knowledge or experience as this introductory course will teach you the key principles of giving psychological first aid to children and young people in crisis situations.


Mental Health services in the City are provided by the East London NHS Foundation Trust. If you need support, there is a crisis line you can call on 0800 073 0006.

The Samaritans offer a confidential helpline on 116 123 which is available 24/7

Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham offer community and hospital-based advocacy, counselling, education services and employment support, therapeutic day service and welfare rights advice. Visit their website:

Confirmatory PCR tests to be temporarily suspended for positive lateral flow test results

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has announced temporary changes to confirmatory PCR tests. From 11 January in England, people who receive positive lateral flow device (LFD) test results for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.

This is a temporary measure while COVID-19 rates remain high across the UK. Whilst levels of COVID-19 are high, the vast majority of people with positive LFD results can be confident that they have COVID-19.

In line with the reduced self-isolation approach announced on 22 December, anyone who tests positive will be able to leave self-isolation 7 days after the date of their initial positive test if they receive 2 negative LFD results, 24 hours apart, on days 6 and 7.

It is important to note that people who are eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP) will still be asked to take a confirmatory PCR if they receive a positive LFD result, to enable them to access financial support.

For further information please visit the Government website

How to look after your mental health while self-isolating with COVID-19

The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may cause you to feel worried, anxious, or scared. Healthwatch England have produced this handy guide with tips to looking after your wellbeing when self-isolating and contact details for charities that can provide support.

How to look after your mental health while self-isolating with COVID-19 | Healthwatch

Help and Support if you are isolating

City of London Corporation

If you are a City of London Corporation resident, are self-isolating and you require assistance accessing food, medicine, money and other essentials if you are struggling to access them, contact the Corporation by filling in the COVID-19 form, by emailing the COVID-19 mailbox, or by calling 020 7606 3030. 

City Advice

They offer free, confidential and impartial advice on a range of issues, including debt and employment. City Advice can also refer you to the First Love Foundation (FLF) if you need help getting food.

City Advice are qualified to advise on:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Welfare benefits
  • Debt
  • Housing and legal issues
  • Relationships
  • Consumer and employment rights

Opening times are Monday - Friday 10am-1pm and 2-4pm, you can contact them via phone 020 7392 2919 or email them at

NHS Volunteer Responders can also help with things like:

  • collecting shopping
  • collecting medicines and prescriptions
  • phone calls if you want to chat to someone

Call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, everyday) to arrange help from a volunteer.

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 and events

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

Mental Health and Wellbeing Focus Group

Thursday 20th January 2pm – 3pm

The event is open to everyone and we will be discussing mental health provision in the City of London, identifying access issues and any gaps in the services provided to you. We will be joined by colleagues from MIND, East London Foundation Trust and City Connections. This month we will be focusing on mental health support for children and young people. 

You join on line here

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

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