MARK GREATREX, WIRRAL COMMUNITY HEALTH AND CARE NHS FOUNDATION TRUST’S INTERIM CHIEF EXECUTIVE, WRITES FOR THE GLOBE.
We are still facing the biggest public health emergency in our lifetime. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose significant risk to life, so we must keep going in our fight against it.
Here at Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust (WCHC), we are working closely with partners across the NHS and the local authority to provide services to those who need them the most.
We are working as hard as we possibly can to support you to stay safe and well, and ultimately save lives. But we need you to play your role too. COVID‑19 is spreading fast – there is no other way to put it.
This affects us all and we need to work together now more than ever. Please, do not stop now. Adhere to the national lockdown: do not leave your home unless necessary.
Remember to let fresh air into your home by opening windows, doors and air vents as much as possible. Visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus for full guidance.
If you have any coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature, new, continuous cough, loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste) get a test and stay at home. If you do have to leave your home, please stick to the national guidance; stay at least two metres away from anyone you do not live with, wash your hands with soap and water often and wear a face covering when required.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you need to get a test in the first five days of having symptoms. For asymptomatic testing, from Monday (January 11) you will need to book an appointment to get a symptom-free COVID-19 test in Wirral. Visit www.wirral.gov.uk to book either type of test.
We must continue to follow these rules, knowing they are the only way to stop the spread of the virus. One in three people who have the virus have no symptoms, so you could be spreading it without knowing. Act like you’ve got it and stick to the rules.
We all share the same goal, for life to get back to normal, to see loved ones and have freedom once again. If we all do our bit, our small efforts and sacrifices combined will make a huge difference towards ending the pandemic.
Team WCHC is here for you, to support you to make the right choices to stay safe during this latest peak of the pandemic. For many common illnesses that are not COVID-19 related, a pharmacist or NHS 111 can offer advice. By calling NHS 111 or visiting 111.nhs.uk people can access a range of local health services.
These include an appointment at their local urgent treatment centre, GP Out of Hours or a telephone consultation with a healthcare specialist allowing people to receive the care and advice they need at home. NHS 111 will book a time slot for anyone needing to visit the hospital A&E department, avoiding lengthy waits in A&E and allowing for social distancing to reduce the risk of infection at this busy time.
Did you know our Central Advice and Duty Team provides a telephone service for people who need to access adult social care service? You can call the team on 0151 514 2222 (option 3), Monday to Friday 8.50am to 5pm; or at all other times and on public holidays on 0151 677 6557; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wirral infoBank is a directory of local care and support services, community resources, activities and information. From support groups to food deliveries, visit www.wirralinfobank.co.uk to find out more.
For mental health support, you can call the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership (CWP) – helpline. It’s open 24/7 to people of all ages and is the go-to for mental health help. Call 0300 303 3972 for any mental health crisis. Find out more on their website www.cwp.nhs.ul. Remember, it’s OK not to be OK. Help is here.
Unlike during the first lockdown, we now have hope in the form of COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines are coming, and plans are in place to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly and safely as possible. You will be contacted in due course with your opportunity to be vaccinated, but until then we must continue to protect those around us.
My thanks go out once again to all the keyworkers – from frontline staff here at WCHC to everyone else who is keeping Wirral running – Education and childcare workers, supermarket staff, refuse collectors, cleaners, pharmacy staff, police, fire and rescue services … to name a few!
Like them, it is our responsibility – every one of us – to play our part to Keep Wirral Well.