Health and care leaders in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) are today (Thursday 26th November) urging the public to do everything they can to keep themselves and their communities safe from coronavirus as demand on local services continues to rise.
The local health and care system entered its highest state of alert this week, with all services stretched by the second wave of the pandemic and rising non-Covid pressures – coupled with staff sickness and families needing to self-isolate.
While a range of innovative measures have been introduced – including a brand new ‘home from hospital’ support scheme run in partnership with the local voluntary sector – the public can play a key role by continuing to adhere to Hands, Face, Space guidance and using services appropriately.
Dr Jon Hayes, a GP in Hanham and Chair of the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
‘We know our area has been hit much harder during the second wave of the pandemic than the first, and this is putting our health and care system under considerable strain.
Our dedicated staff are working together in new ways to keep services up and running, and their contribution continues to be immense. Support from the public is vital too. The NHS is very much open, but we need people to use services appropriately.
That includes thinking 111 first for urgent medical care, and using our new 24/7 support line if you have mental health concerns. It’s important for both you and the NHS that we get people to the right care first time. People should also look out for their vulnerable loved ones and neighbours to keep them well closer to home.
We have an extraordinary community spirit across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, and the best way for us to get through this challenging time is by working together. ‘
The fresh plea comes as a brand new ‘Home from Hospital’ service launched this week. Organisations including the British Red Cross, We Care & Repair and the Home from Hospital Partnership are working collaboratively to provide non-medical support for people returning home after a hospital stay. People over 65 who have been in hospital overnight – and who do not already have ongoing support in place from community health or adult social care – can expect a wellbeing call from the British Red Cross no later than 48hrs after they have returned home.
A local 24/7 telephone support line has also been launched. Anyone who is concerned about their own or someone else’s mental health can call 0800 0126 549 and speak to qualified staff for emotional support. The counsellors can provide one off support for people experiencing difficulties with their mood or emotions, and who require immediate support when their situation is not life threatening.
People can continue to contact their local authority helplines for help with non-medical issues such as shopping and prescription collection if they are vulnerable or isolating:
- Bristol: We are Bristol: 0800 694 0184
- North Somerset: North Somerset Together: 01934 427 437
- South Gloucestershire: 0800 953 7778