Home >> News >> Together We're Better Stakeholder Update: 29 June 2020

Together We're Better Stakeholder Update: 29 June 2020

Fri 3 Jul 2020

This week we began counting down to the 72nd birthday of the NHS on Sunday 5 July, with social care also celebrating its birthday this weekend as well. To coincide with this, the famous photographer Rankin has unveiled a series of very special portraits celebrating NHS workers. The portraits feature 12 people who played a vital role in the NHS’ response to coronavirus including one of our local district nurses, Anne Roberts from Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust. The collection is showcased across the country at bus stops, roadside billboards and iconic pedestrian areas, so you may have seen them. Congratulations to Anne for being selected for the national campaign.

As the nation prepares to celebrate the birthday of the NHS, senior nurse Lynn Tolley talks about the transformation of the service in episode 12 of our podcast series. Lynn remembers her own traumatic experiences as a 16-year-old mum, not knowing if her newborn had survived. She also talks of how she stumbled into a nursing career and how she finally found her true vocation as a paediatric nurse, caring for the most seriously ill children. Other topics include; the early days of the NHS, immunisation and the dramatic reduction in childhood illness and death, fighting Aids and changing social attitudes and, of course, Coronavirus, and how it has helped the NHS turn full circle.

On Sunday 5 July at 5pm there will be the biggest, loudest and final clap for carers and key workers. Afterwards, people will be encouraged to stay outside to show their thanks/appreciation to their neighbours or reach out to someone who is lonely, isolated or shielding, to let them know they are supported. We hope you join in with us, as we want to thank not only health and care staff but all the essential workers and volunteers that have helped keep our services running, including refuse collectors, delivery drivers and food suppliers. Also, thank you to all of the companies who have kindly donated PPE, food and their staff time to help support our fight against coronavirus.

As the lockdown measures continue to ease, many of us will have mixed feelings – it will be a relief to many of us as we are able to gather in socially-distanced groups of six, but understandably you will feel some anxiety too, as more people are present in public places. The pandemic will have caused much isolation, loneliness, grief and stress and so it’s vital that we all stay connected and talk to those who are close to us, and who we trust. Just chatting to a friend or family member via phone or video call, or to your neighbour over the garden fence or from your doorways can be hugely beneficial for your mental health. The Samaritans are running a ‘Talk to Us’ campaign throughout July, aiming to get us talking to each other and calling their helpline for a confidential conversation if needed. The Samaritans helpline is 116 123 and is free to call, so if you need confidential support from a neutral party, please reach out.

I’m sure you will have all heard that the UK's first full local lockdown has been announced in Leicester, with stricter measures imposed in the city. For residents this means that non-essential shops have closed and the loosening of restrictions for pubs and restaurants on Saturday will also not be taking place.

It serves as a reminder that even though we can move more freely now, than say three months ago, it doesn’t mean the risk has been eliminated. So, whilst we go about our daily lives, wherever we live, please continue to stay alert, maintain two metres from others where possible, and wear a face covering if you are on public transport or in other enclosed spaces.

Leicester may be the first city to experience a local lockdown of non-essential services and it’s true that last week’s seven-day rolling average showed they had 10% of all new cases in England, but it’s important to keep things in perspective. The total number of cases in Leicester is still significantly lower than the figures we were seeing at the peak of the pandemic. Leicester is also testing everyone who is contacted through the Test and Trace programme, not just those who are showing symptoms, so that may account for a higher number of cases being recorded as well.

With the media coverage around Leicestershire, I’m sure many of you are wondering about our local situation. We are not envisaging any local lockdown in the near future as for most of the county our incidence levels are in line with the national average. Our numbers remain higher in the North of the county, but we are not seeing any dramatic increase in cases that would lead to a local lockdown. We are in a very different place to a few weeks ago. However, we are continually monitoring the situation and cannot become complacent. We’re encouraging people to use their common sense and follow social distancing measures - despite the easing of lockdown. Importantly, if anyone does have symptoms they must quickly self-isolate and book a test through the national portal. The NHS Test and Trace service will play an essential role in contacting anyone who has been in close contact with someone who tests positive. To avoid further lockdown measures, we all need to do our bit.

This week the councils have released their outbreak plans, which can be found on Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s websites. The plans detail how the councils would respond to a localised outbreak of coronavirus, setting out how to prevent, manage and contain outbreaks of coronavirus and protect residents. Both councils are continuing to work with schools, care homes and local businesses to help minimise the risk of local outbreaks.

Recent studies have shown that there is a clear link between coronavirus and obesity, with overweight and obese people making up 6/10 coronavirus deaths in the UK. A fitness tool backed by the NHS has been adopted by hundreds of thousands of people seeking to get in shape during lockdown. From March until the end of June, there were almost one million downloads - 858,000 compared to 448,000 during the same time last year – a 92% increase compared to 2019. Couch to 5k is a running plan for beginners provided by Public Health England, helping those who are unfit or don’t regularly take exercise to take positive steps for their health and fitness.

During the current coronavirus outbreak, we are all adapting to new ways of delivering health and wellbeing guidance and care support to our at-risk residents. Digital health and wellbeing apps can help older residents or those with long-term conditions to manage their health at home, but there are thousands to choose from and not all apps can be trusted to offer clinical assurance and up to date advice.

To help our most vulnerable manage their health digitally with the most trusted apps that meet their needs, Staffordshire County Council is now offering access to a super easy-to-use Health App Finder tool at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/appfinder. The tool offers an invaluable resource for volunteers, community organisations and health and care professionals as well as the general public to get access to a library of fully reviewed and handpicked apps during this extraordinary time. The library is safe and secure to use, and features hundreds of apps independently reviewed and rated. The library features hundreds of apps proven to help manage specific conditions and more general health and wellbeing.

In other news we have taken the decision to stand down the local satellite testing site at Burton Albion Football Ground. The site has hosted a local satellite testing centre since April and it was able to test NHS, care, council and other emergency service staff. Now, with increased testing capacity available locally through the regional testing sites and also the mobile testing units, it has been decided to stand the Pirelli Stadium site down. We would like to thank the football ground for their fantastic support over the past few weeks.

Across the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent system the latest updates are:

  • Staffordshire Police have produced a range of communications to be shared with the public this weekend as the lockdown restrictions ease and pubs reopen. The messaging will encourage the public to plan, prepare and think, ahead of attending the pubs this weekend, e.g. ensuring they have a facemask if they are planning on using public transport to get home afterwards. Targeted advertising is being used across social media platforms such as Instagram and snapchat to ensure that the message reaches the correct groups. The messaging will be shared across the subgroup in order for it to be amplified by all partners and supported with messaging from health. Please promote through your own networks
  • All partners will be encouraging the public to maintain social distancing this weekend, please promote our tools through your networks and follow us on social media
  • Local authorities are focusing on discretionary business grants, high street support, reopening playgrounds and the reopening of pubs. They have also been supporting businesses who are reopening with advice and support and also PPE kits, visit their websites for more information
  • The easing of lockdown is leading to an increase in litter and everyone is being encouraged to keep our local communities tidy and if people are meeting outdoors in parks, etc. to take their litter home
  • Locally developed resources and bespoke messaging e.g. guidance leaflets for taxi drivers and passengers, have been produced by partners to help people stay safe
  • Check our North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare’s website for their latest podcast, following the Virtual Pride last week
  • Listen to Lynn Tolley, Associate Director of Quality in the CCGs, in our latest podcast to celebrate the birthday of the NHS. Hear about her journey through nursing.

Useful resources available:

Public Health England has updated its coronavirus guidance in light of changes to the government's advice and continue to ensure guidance for the public is timely and up to date. All guidance for members of the public, as well as for people in clinical and non-clinical settings, is published and updated regularly on the GOV.UK collection page.

For the latest information on coronavirus, please visit the NHS and government websites.

Together We’re Better is the partnership of NHS and local government organisations, alongside independent and voluntary sector groups, that is working together to transform health and care services.