COVID-19 update for Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership stakeholders
Posted on: April 7, 2020
Sent on behalf of NHS Basildon and Brentwood, NHS Castle Point and Rochford, NHS Mid Essex, NHS Southend and NHS Thurrock Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)
We are sending this communication to key external stakeholders in mid and south Essex update you on the NHS response to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic in mid and south Essex.
How we are coordinating the local NHS response
A Mid and South Essex Incident Management Team (IMT) is now operating with senior staff from across the five CCGs. This is an important part of national Emergency Preparedness Resilience Response arrangements, co-ordinated in this area by the cross-agency Essex Resilience Forum.
We continue to work closely with colleagues within NHS England regional and national office to implement all national guidance at a local level. All CCG staff are working hard to ensure the health and safety of mid and south Essex residents.
The principal advice for all residents in mid and south Essex at present is that “social distancing” is an essential part of protecting each other and helping NHS and other services to cope through the pandemic. The most up-to-date information remains available at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus and www.gov.uk/coronavirus
People with serious or worsening symptoms should use the NHS111 online service at 111.nhs.uk to get advice and find out if they need further medical help. Calls to 111 should be made only if advised by the online service or by people who cannot get online.
If you have the capacity to share them with your networks and, where relevant, staff and service users, the latest COVID-19 public campaign resources are available from coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk (please note, you will need to register to download campaign resources for the campaign).
Locally, GP practices have introduced a nationally-agreed telephone triage service for patients ahead of offering a face-to-face appointment to minimise the risk for patients and staff. Some practices are already offering online consultations and people receiving repeat prescriptions are being encouraged to manage these electronically via the NHS App.
These measures have been put in place to maintain safe staffing levels and to ensure that the practice as a whole can continue to provide services for all their patients. Safety is our priority.
Hospitals in mid and south Essex
To support the NHS COVID-19 response, the new Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust which includes Basildon, Broomfield and Southend Hospitals has for the time being stopped taking non-urgent routine outpatient referrals from GPs and offering non-urgent blood tests. People with cancer and time-critical “life or limb” conditions will still be referred to hospital, though initial consultations may be by phone or online.
The hospitals have also stopped all non-time critical:
- outpatient appointments
- CT, MRI and ultrasound scans
- nuclear medicine
The number of routine operations and procedures is currently being wound down through to the end of next week. These measures are intended to free staff and resources within the hospitals group for COVID-19 response.
The hospitals will continue to provide outpatient appointments, scans and procedures for patients who need them urgently, for example patients with suspected or confirmed cancer. Initial outpatient consultations for these conditions will be carried out over the phone or, where available, by video link.
The hospital is currently contacting all patients affected by these changes by phone or letter to confirm what they need to do. If you have an urgent query about your appointment please contact [email protected]
All press and broadcast enquiries to the CCGs around COVID-19 are being managed as part of our IMT work. If you have any media enquiries you think the NHS should be aware of, or urgent information to share with GP practices, please email [email protected]
We are currently looking to keep our key stakeholders informed of what actions the NHS is taking on a weekly basis. If circumstances change, we will let you know.
Very best wishes,
Mid and South Essex CCGs