Newsletter Update

Content originally from Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership

We hope this email finds you and your loved ones safe and well.

It seems almost impossible that a month has gone by since we sent the last newsletter.  

As the country moves forwards slowly and cautiously, the local health and care system continues to look at the safest way to make sure local services can support the physical, mental and social needs of communities affected by severe economic and social disruption both in the short and medium-term.

The coronavirus outbreak has had a significant impact with personal sacrifice and loss coupled with the unrelenting and unprecedented demands for local health and care staff.  Nevertheless, the relationship between the public and our health and care service has never felt stronger and we are keen to build on the fantastic support and vital contributions of the community to make sure local people have what they need. 
Whether it’s a chat on the phone to help ease loneliness or a helping hand to pick up important prescriptions, we are keen to further build on local community resilience.The goal is to meet the increasing needs of our communities whilst ensuring our services provide the best possible care in the right place when you need it.    

In this newsletter you will find the latest information about the impact of coronavirus outbreak, news from the local health and care partnership and an update on some of important projects.  Importantly, we have included information about how you can help the local health and care system to keep people safe and well. 
The health analytics team at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust and our community providers have provided us with the latest data on the impact of coronavirus across mid and south Essex.

As of 21 June, there have sadly been 701 deaths of patients from coronavirus in Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust (not including community providers) since the start of the pandemic.

As of 21 June, the number of patients being cared for with COVID-19 in mid and south Essex hospitals is 96. The numbers of patients requiring oxygenation or ventilation has reduced.

111 calls referred to A&E are back to pre-coronavirus levels.

A&E attendances have stabilised.

Local hospitals are reorganising all of their sites to ensure that COVID (medical term for Coronavirus) and non-COVID healthcare needs are addressed.
Part of this reorganisation involves catering for the sickest COVID-19 patients in one location. This will be the MSE Specialist Critical Care Centre situated on the Basildon site. 

The main reason for this decision is that there is already infrastructure (oxygen supply and appropriately configures ward space) at Basildon which will allow the patients to be cared for in one unit rather than spread across hospital sites in different locations as was the case during the first surge. The plan involves creating a facility for 26 patients with capability to increase to 100 in the event of extreme surge.

Responding to the coronavirus outbreak has accelerated transformation across the health and care system and while it is likely to remain under significant pressure, we must build on our partnership work to further tackle health inequalities.

Partners all agree that working more closely together at System, Place and Neighbourhood level will enable us to achieve this and have therefore signed a Memorandum of Understanding showing a commitment to this.  

One way that partnership organisations are working more closely together is through a system-wide integrated workforce strategy recently agreed. This will offer a more joined-up approach within health and care on our workforce challenges, especially key priorities of recruiting and retaining staff.

Our strategy identifies a range of actions and initiatives to be delivered mid and south Essex wide, with others taken forward by individual partners or at a place level (the four mid and south Essex “places” being Basildon and Brentwood, Southend/Castle Point and Rochford, Thurrock and mid Essex). Working collaboratively on areas such as training and employee development will offer invaluable ways to share learning and resources.

28 primary care networks across mid and south Essex have confirmed their commitment to drive forward local plans that will see increased investment to expand the local workforce and deliver more coordinated health and care services.

This investment is a further boost to deliver more ‘out-of-hospital’ care and will see a range of additional staff such as physiotherapists and clinical pharmacists join the local GP practice team.  Information about some of the of different roles available in primary care is on our websites.

Working closely with our local authority and third-party colleagues across mid and south Essex we supported a number of Awareness Weeks during the month of June.
Learning Disability Week

Learning Disability Week 2020 took place from 15 to 21 June. The theme of the week was focused around the importance of friendships during lockdown. We know that in many cases people with a learning disability already experience high levels of loneliness and social isolation and that this will only have been made worse by the lockdown.

The mid and south Essex Clinical Commissioning Groups brought together a suite of accessible documents taken from national guidance and locally developed resources.  We continue to work closely with our local authority and third-party colleagues to ensure the most up to date communications are made available to our learning disability communities.

Local GP Dr Taz Syed was interviewed on BBC Essex on Friday (19 June 20) alongside one of our community partners ‘Project 49’ to explain how they are working together to make sure those with additional needs get the information they need to stay safe and well, particularly during this time.
Men’s Health Week

Men’s Health Week took place from 15-21 June. The national theme was ‘Take action on COVID-19’. As well as its direct impact, there is evidence that COVID-19 has had a domino effect on other health conditions as people are not seeking help from their GP when they might have concerns about serious conditions such as cancer.

Videos recorded by Mid and South Essex Macmillan GP Deepak Kumar and Alfred Bandakpara-Taylor, Head of Mental Health & Learning Disability Commissioning at Basildon and Brentwood CCG, have been widely shared across our social media channels
Cervical Screening Awareness Week

Cervical Screening Awareness Week took place between 15-21 June. As a consequence of the pandemic, fewer women are making appointments for their routine cervical smearing, or smear test. 

Health and care partners are investigating ways to encourage more women to book for the test, so any potential cancer can be identified as early as possible.

With the support from a local MacMillan GP and Practice Nurse we produced a video supporting some of the key messages
Jo’s Trust plays an important role in helping women to understand changes to cervical screening as a result of coronavirus, including what to expect when they go. Jo’s Trust is issuing a national media release which includes a quote from NHS England. They have also published these public FAQs which have had NHS input.
HOW YOU CAN HELP THE LOCAL HEALTH AND CARE SYSTEM TO KEEP PEOPLE SAFE AND WELLNew Government guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19

From 6th July 2020 the Government will be issuing new guidance on shielding guidance for millions of clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19.  The new guidance takes into account that the COVID-19 infection rates have decreased significantly over the last few weeks.  This guidance remains advisory.  
Masks and face coverings

We can all play a role in reducing the spread of Coronavirus and keeping our hospitals and communities safe.  As more people start to wear face coverings and face masks, guidance is available for using them in different settings. Visitors and patients coming to hospital for planned and outpatient care will also need to wear face coverings when in hospitals to further reduce risk.

Wearing a face covering may be difficult for some people due to physical or mental health conditions. In these instances, other measures will be considered on a case by case basis, for example, timed appointments and being seen immediately on arrival.  

We understand that the use of face masks by clinical staff can be challenging for patients who are deaf or hearing impaired. Where possible, clear masks will be used by clinical staff to communicate with these patients, or alternative communication techniques employed such as the use of visual aids like writing things down, speech to text apps, and sign language.

Face coverings can be made of cloth and be reusable in line with government guidance on the use on public transport.  

These recommendations are in addition to existing national COVID-19 IPC guidance which advises on appropriate PPE usage in patient facing clinical settings and other measures to be taken to reduce transmission risk such as hand hygiene and social distancing.

These new measures for staff and patients will further help to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in hospital settings.

The Government has also issued guidance for Staying safe outside your house.  If you can, you should also wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible.
Test and trace

If you have Coronavirus symptoms please get a test immediately.  Do not leave home if you test positive.  The latest details of the NHS Test and Trace scheme are also available from the Public Health England Campaign Resource Centre.

The NHS website offers guidance for people contacted by Test and Trace staff:who have tested positive for the coronaviruswho have come into contact with someone who tested positive  
Health at Home

With tens of millions of GP consultations across the UK every year used to discuss conditions that could be treated at home, self-care has an important role to play in the sustainability of the NHS.

Self-care also provides greater flexibility to our population and ensures more appropriate use of valuable GP time.  If unsure if you or someone you know needs to book an appointment, NHS 111 now has a great online service that helps provide advice and support. Local people can get help in  other languages, including British Sign Language (BSL).

Lot of useful information about digital and online methods of contacting your GP practice, ordering repeat prescriptions and managing wellbeing and existing conditions from home are also available online.  
You can download more Health at Home information to share with your networks from the Public Health England (PHE) Campaign Resources Centre. A login is not required to access materials related to the pandemic response and the site offers other COVID-19 materials including a guide to current social distancing guidance.

Documents about accessing NHS services are available in Easy Read for people with a learning disability and plain English for people with autism and language challenges.

A series of videos with British Sign Language interpreters has also been made to explain how people can access local health services.  
A rise in domestic abuse

A global surge in domestic abuse has been reported during the coronavirus pandemic, as those living with domestic violence are put at increased risk by lockdown rules.  

The Mid and south Essex CCGs have been working closely with local organisations to share key messages and raise awareness of how people can get help.  

Dr Taz Syed an Essex GP has an important message for anyone who has witnessed, or is experiencing, domestic abuse.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic abuse Essex Compass is here to help victims Call- 0330 333 7 444 or visit   
Online training to raise awareness of domestic violence

The Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board are launching online training sessions to raise awareness and increase knowledge of domestic abuse. This “Community J9” training ensures that people who may come into contact with vulnerable people are equipped to respond appropriately and effectively. You may wish to share the information with your networks.

Sessions will begin on Thursday 2 July and continue to take place on Tuesdays at 10am and Thursdays at 2pm. The training will be offered via Zoom video conference and last for about an hour.
Anyone taking the training will be expected to watch a 20-minute video beforehand. This video was made by the family of Janine Mundy, who is commemorated in the name of the J9 initiative. If you would like to book a place, please email

Following training you will receive a link to download the J9 Information Pack which contains useful information and contact numbers.
The NHS at 72: A time to remember, reflect and say ‘thank you’
5 July will mark the 72nd anniversary of the NHS.  

Over the last few months, the NHS has been through perhaps its greatest test so far. We will continue to deal with the many challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic for the foreseeable future.
This year’s anniversary will be one of remembrance and thanks. We want to remember those who have died during the pandemic and say thank you to all the people and organisations who have supported us during these difficult times.

The Together Coalition website has lots of information about how you can get involved in these special celebrations.

On 4 July you can celebrate by placing an LED candle, lamp or a torch in your window to remember those we have lost.  

Look out for national landmarks and the following local landmarks which will also be lit up as part of our collective memorial.
Podiums at City Beach Southend
Basildon sign on the A127
St Martins Church Basildon Town Square
Hylands House, Chelmsford
Chelmsford Cathedral, Chelmsford
Brentwood Town Hall, Brentwood
Chapel Ruins, Brentwood
Brentwood Cathedral, Brentwood
Lakeside Shopping Centre, Thurrock
Thameside Theatre, Grays

The Mid and south Essex Health and Care Partnership will also be celebrating the NHS 72nd anniversary on Sunday 5 July  by asking local children to let us know who their NHS heros are by colouring in a special picture designed by Colouring Heroes.

You can download the colouring sheet and share it with us on Twitter or Facebook by tagging us in @MSEssex_HCP on Twitter and @MidSouthEssex HCP on Facebook.  You can also use #NHSHeros and #ThankYouNHS. Don’t forget to share your ‘thank-yous’ and images with your local NHS on our social media channels.
Finally, while the coronavirus outbreak poses fundamental challenges on how we are able to engage with members of the public and the wider communities.  In recent weeks the Mid and south Essex Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have started to consider how we can begin to involve members of the public in future discussions whilst prioritising the health, safety and welfare of patients, staff and wider society.  
We are in the process of establishing a working group for us to progress this work at pace and we hope to be able to provide you with an update in the very near future.