An Update from Us 20.06.22

On Sunday 19 June: Will we have to discuss plans for lockdown in winter 2022 at our AGM on 14 July? BEWARE! COVID INFECTIONS ARE INCREASING AGAIN.  IT’S STILL AWFUL TO HAVE BADLY. PLEASE GET VACCINATED; appointments and walk-ins aren’t busy. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests SWF has 320* Covid cases.  

The ONS has detected rising infections in England and across the UK. New Omicron variants BA.4 & BA.5 are spreading more easily, immunity is waning, the virus is mutating, and people are mixing more. Hospitalisations are rising. We hope that won’t lead to increasing deaths. Whilst we’re better placed than in 2020, in case the pattern of infections repeats itself consideration is being given to forms of lockdown again in the coming winter.

What about SWF HEALTH & SOCIAL CARE GROUP after June?

SWF Health & Social Care Group campaigns for improved health services for the Town. We’ve helped develop many health and welfare services. Since March 2020 we’ve delivered voluntary Covid health and care support for vulnerable people in and around SWF, delivering prescription medications, answering requests for help, and keeping everyone up to date with news bulletins, articles and reports on our website, in Focus and on social media groups. Full information about us is at https://swfhealthsocial.co.uk/  . Commissioning of our delivery of medicines stops on 30 June after which other services will be available.

Our AGM will be held virtually from 1830-2030 on Thursday 14 July. We have invited Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust to send an Executive to tell us about the situation in our three local acute hospitals. We know the pressure they’re under. We don’t want them to have to tell us things will get worse because Covid infections and other serious illnesses will mean any more lockdowns. Do you want the advocacy for SWF’s health & social care to continue? Do you value it? What do you want this Group to do for you from July? What can you do to keep it going? Nominations for the offices of Chair, Task Force Chair, Minutes Secretary and Committee Members must be sent to our Administrator by email or voicemail by 30 June 2022. Answers and nominations now please to swfhealthsocial@outlook.com or 01245 322079.

New Normal or More Restrictions?

We must live with Covid as part of our world, affecting lives and sadly causing long-term serious illness and deaths. Will we have to have more restrictions and lockdowns this coming winter? Hopefully not if we remain aware and responsible. People we support have Covid badly. Staff absences continue hitting services and supplies.  PLEASE BEHAVE RESPONSIBLY FOR YOUR OWN AND EVERYONE’S SAKE.

The Gov.UK Coronavirus Dashboard says SWF was up ten with 18 Covid cases in the week ended (w/e) 12 June. The Dashboard is inaccurate as numbers of tests fall and infections go undetected/unreported. The ONS, regarded as the best such indicator in the world, says in w/e 12 June there were 269 (p/w 291) Covid deaths and in w/e 15 June 4,785 (p/w 3,637) patients admitted to hospital in England. There is a 3-week lag between infections and subsequent hospitalisations and deaths. The latest, more reliable, *ONS data estimates 1,131,000 (1 in 50) people in England had Covid in w/e 11 June (p/w 797,500 = 1+ in 70). Taking the ONS estimate and SWF’s population as 16,000 that means there were actually 320 (p/w 228+) SWF residents with Covid in w/e 11 June.

People testing positive for COVID-19 aren’t legally required to self-isolate. To avoid catching and spreading Covid the Government says: GET VACCINATED; ventilate indoor meetings; meet outdoors; wear face coverings in crowded enclosed spaces. Stay home if you can and avoid contact with other people.  

WHY ARE 10% OF SWF PEOPLE UNVACCINATED? On 12 June, in SWF 89.1% of  12+ year olds have had 1st jab (p/w 89.1%); 86.2% have had 2nd jab (p/w 86.1%); and 71.5% have had a 3rd dose or booster (71.4% p/w). SWF is below the national averages of 93.1% for 1st doses and 87.0% for 2nd doses, and above the national average of 68.5% for 3rd & booster doses. Most deaths and people in intensive care in Essex and England are not fully vaccinated.

Our NHS and social services continue to suffer badly with Covid’s effects and its aftermath. Ambulance services and GPs are under severe pressure. Hospitals have suspended/restricted visiting, are postponing surgery & appointments, and say don’t attend A&E unless life is threatened, or you’re seriously injured.

Free Covid tests for the general public are no longer provided. Reasonably priced LFD (Lateral Flow Device) kits are available from some pharmacies and online providers.

Vaccination Hubs continue to deliver vaccinations at: Runwell Lodge, Wickford (not the Rettendon Lodge on Burnham Road); County Hall, Chelmsford; Civic Centre, Southend; Thurrock Community Hospital. Full Information about mass vaccination centres is at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/find-a-walk-in-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-site/ . Covid vaccinations can be booked online at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/ or on 119.

Vaccines and vaccination policy information is at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/. Everyone aged 5+ can get a 1st and 2nd dose of Covid vaccine. People aged 16+ and children aged 12-15 who are immunosuppressed or living with someone seriously vulnerable can also get a booster dose. People aged 12+ with severely weakened immune systems are being offered a 3rd dose and a booster 4th dose. People over 75, living in care homes, are being invited for boosters. Autumn 2022 boosters will be offered to over-65s, health & care staff and clinically vulnerable adults 16-64; arrangements for this are now being planned.

Ring 999 for life-threatening emergencies. Ring 111 to book other A&E attendance slots at any time or for all other out of hours’ services. To contact Kingsway Surgery for non-urgent or other routine matters please don’t ring but email kingsway.receptionist@nhs.net . For Greenwood Surgery phone for all clinical matters; for prescription and administration queries email greenwood.meds@nhs.net ; for hospital appointments for which you’ve been referred ring the Central Referral Service on 0300 123 0771 or Broomfield Hospital Appointments on 01245 513900; the Practices can’t provide hospital appointment details.

SWF Health & Social Care Group provides health & social care information and signposting to people, especially those at risk, isolating, housebound, and without local support. Information is on our website https://swfhealthsocial.co.uk/ . Contact us on swfhealthsocial@outlook.com or leave a voicemail on 01245 322079 which is monitored daily.