Mark Greatrex, Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust’s interim chief executive, writes for the Globe.
As January draws to a close, I want to thank each and every one of you for your continued efforts in our fight against COVID-19.
We still have a long way to go, but with the ongoing roll out of the vaccine and by continuing to follow the guidance we will get there.
You may recall in my last column I mentioned that teams in the Trust are working closely with partners across the NHS to provide services to those who need them the most.
We are continuing with this work and are doing everything that we can to support you, your family and our communities to stay safe and well, and ultimately save lives.
In order to provide this support to our partners, a number of our services have quickly and safely adapted so they can continue to support patients and service users within our communities.
You may have noticed that some of our services are once again operating slightly differently, but please don’t worry – we are still here for you.
Some face-to-face appointments have temporarily been paused, but our teams are continuing to provide dedicated support via video and telephone consultations.
Video consultations have proved extremely popular with our patients and service users – with the click of a button, people have been having face-to-face conversations with a health professional on their iPad, smart phone or laptop from the comfort of their own home.
Cardiac Rehab is one of our services that is currently operating differently. Although the number of face-to-face appointments has reduced, the team – including exercise physiologists – is continuing to support patients via video and telephone consultations.
Their dedicated Facebook page @wirralcardiacrehab is also a hub of advice and information and includes videos and resources to support people on their cardiac rehabilitation journey.
Our sexual health and contraception service, Sexual Health Wirral, is also running a reduced service:
- Face-to-face appointments are only being offered if an individual meets the service’s urgent criteria for care or if someone is deemed vulnerable.
- Existing patients can request repeat oral contraception via a telephone consultation, which may be posted out via the mail, if appropriate.
- Free postal STI test kits are available online, but during this time we are asking people to only request a test if they have recently taken a sexual health risk.
You can find all service updates at www.sexualhealthwirral.nhs.uk or via the dedicated Facebook page @SHWirral. Here, you can also access a wealth of sexual health and contraception advice and information.
A number of our services, such as 0-19 Health and Wellbeing Services across Wirral and Cheshire East, Children’s Speech and Language Therapy, Nutrition and Dietetics, Diabetes Smart, have produced informative resources to support you and your family during these difficult times.
These range from videos and audio files, to information leaflets and presentations. You can access these on our website – www.wchc.nhs.uk
Don’t forget you can also access a range of local health services by calling NHS 111 or visiting www.111.nhs.uk.
These include an appointment at your local urgent treatment centre, GP Out of Hours or a telephone consultation with a healthcare specialist enabling you to receive the care and advice you need at home.
If you need to visit the hospital A&E department NHS 111 will book you a time slot, avoiding lengthy waits and allowing for social distancing to reduce the risk of infection at this busy time.
Please keep an eye out on our website and Twitter feed @wchc_nhs for further information about possible changes to our services.
We will get through this together and remember – we are still here for you.
Stay Safe, stay well and please follow the guidance.