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People in Sefton being reminded ‘Your GPs are still there for you’ during COVID

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, people in Sefton are being reminded that although GP practices may be working a little differently at the moment, they are still there for those who need them.

Since March, we have all adapted quickly to using phone and video in all aspects of our lives – shopping, pre-booking time slots to access various services and venues – and GP services have been no different.

Fiona Taylor, chief officer of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “GPs and practice staff across Sefton have been amazing in their response to the pandemic – drastically increasing the number of telephone and video consultations to ensure patients could still access services during the pandemic.

“I cannot thank them enough for their dedication to supporting residents throughout this challenging and very busy time.”

Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “As GP surgeries enter their busiest time of the year and manage additional pandemic pressures, I’d like to thank Sefton residents for their ongoing patience and support of their local GPs and practice staff.

“We know that it is a worrying time, but we would like to reassure you that your GP is there for you should you need them. If you are unwell or have a concern about your physical or mental health then please contact your surgery by calling them, going to their website on using the NHS App.

“Where possible, your GP will talk to you over the phone or online to find out more and discuss the next steps. If you are asked to come in for an appointment, please don’t delay getting the care or treatment you need and attend your appointment straight away. Coronavirus safety measures are in place to ensure that we can continue to see patients face-to-face when necessary.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech has met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness and therefore been approved for use in the UK. Other vaccines are being developed and will be thoroughly tested and approved before we start to use them.

“At first, the vaccine will be offered to people who are most at risk from Coronavirus, before being offered more widely. You will be contacted by the NHS when it’s your turn so please do not contact your GP to ask about the vaccine.”

See NHS.uk for more information about the Coronavirus vaccine.

If you have any Coronavirus symptoms such as a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – you must self-isolate at home and get a test as soon as possible. Get a test online or call 119.

If you need medical advice or treatment, there are lots of options available to you:

  • Self-care is about keeping fit and healthy, understanding when you can look after yourself – including managing any long-term conditions you have, and knowing when you need to speak to your GP, pharmacist, or another health professional.
  • Pharmacists are trained to help with a range of symptoms and are often open in the evenings and at weekends. Find your nearest pharmacy online and check their opening times. Do not go to a pharmacy if you have Coronavirus symptoms.
  • If you’re not sure which service is right for you or if you need urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service, or call 111 if you are unable to get help online.
  • For help with mild to moderate stress, anxiety, or depression, contact Access Sefton or call 0151 955 3200 to access talking therapies.
  • For help from a GP, visit your GP surgery’s website, use an online service to contact your GP, or call the surgery.
  • For life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance.

Update on COVID-19 tests for Sefton residents who DON’T have coronavirus symptoms

Sefton residents who don’t have COVID-19 symptoms can now use Liverpool test sites to get a coronavirus test.

Test are currently available at:

  • Aintree Baptist Church, Longmoor Lane L9 0EH (from 12 noon on Thursday 10 December.)
  • Exhibition Centre Liverpool King’s Dock, Port of Liverpool, L3 4FP
  • Liverpool FC Anfield Stadium, Anfield Road, Liverpool, L4 0TH

Sites are open from 7am to 7pm and you don’t need an appointment.

Find out how to get a test. 

People can expect to get their results between 30 minutes and 2 hours after getting tested. They will receive their results by text or email soon after leaving the test centre.

Anyone whose result to the symptom-free test come back positive must self-isolate straight away and book a PCR test via www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

People who don’t have symptoms should not go to any test sites apart from the ones shown above as they put themselves at risk of catching the COVID-19 virus.

People who do have the coronavirus symptoms of:

  • a high temperature,
  • a new continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

should isolate and book a test online https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

Sefton Council to provide ‘much-needed’ Christmas school holiday meal vouchers to eligible local families

Sefton Council will be providing meal vouchers over the Christmas holidays for families in Sefton who receive free school meals.

The Council will be using part of its Winter Grant Scheme allocation to provide schools with vouchers that can be allocated to eligible families.

As with the October half-term scheme, the vouchers will be valid to buy food in-store and online at local supermarkets. It will not be possible to use the vouchers to buy alcohol, tobacco, lottery tickets, phone top ups or stamps.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said: “In October, Sefton Council funded meal vouchers for around 8,500 children as part of an initiative which received widespread public support.

“We will be using part of the Borough’s allocation from the Winter Grant Scheme to provide that level of support and security that nearly everybody agrees families need during the holidays and over the Christmas and New Year period.”

In October, the Council stepped in at short notice to provide local families with food vouchers and by the second day of the scheme was dealing with more than 2,500 applications. During the half-term week, the Council team was processing around 1,0000 applications per day.

Cllr Hardy added: “With very short notice last time, the Council took on the application and allocation process centrally.

“While, thanks to the massive effort of our team, we got through the applications and families received the vouchers, this time we are going to be able to distribute the vouchers to schools, which will make it easier for everyone.”

Gil Bourgade, Headteacher at Birkdale High School said: “Schools are only too aware of the significant difficulties some of their families are experiencing at the moment across all our communities, and we really appreciate Sefton Council’s decision to fund free school meals through these vouchers.

“It will provide direct and much-needed support to our pupils and their families over the Christmas break.”

Local businesses and voluntary organisations, which were already being hit by the Government’s COVID restrictions also pitched in by providing packed lunches, food hampers and meals to local families.

Families across Sefton who do not currently receive free school meals but think they might be eligible can visit www.sefton.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals to find out whether they qualify and how to apply.

 

 

Mass COVID-19 Testing being rolled out across Liverpool City Region

Following the successful mast testing (now known as SMART testing) pilot in Liverpool, all five other boroughs in the region (Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St.Helens, Wirral) have confirmed that they too will be offering regular testing for residents without symptoms of COVID-19 from next week.

The roll out of SMART testing across the entire city region is another positive step forward in the area’s efforts to tackle COVID-19. In addition to identifying people with the virus who could unknowingly be passing it on, regular testing will hopefully allow residents to return to the things they love – and have missed so dearly during as a result of national and local restrictions.

From early this week testing centres will be up and running in each borough.

“SMART” testing refers to Systematic, Meaningful, Asymptomatic, Repeated Testing, with the approach being based on the learning of the pilot in Liverpool and continue to be evaluated to inform how testing works nationally.

Covid-19 infection rates continue to fall across the city region’s 1.6 million people, now standing at less than 100 per 100,000 people. At their peak in October rates were around 700 per 100,000.

Early increased Covid restrictions, including being the first city region to enter ‘Tier 3’ have driven the continued decrease in numbers, however are not complacent and remain determined to continue to drive Covid-rate down, with testing crucial to this.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It is fantastic news that the trailblazing Liverpool testing pilot is being expanded to serve the wider region. With up to a third of individuals with coronavirus showing no symptoms, regular community testing will help identify those who are infectious, but unaware that they might be spreading the disease, so that they can isolate and protect others.

“This pilot will continue to inform our plans for community testing across the country in the highest risk areas, which we are working to roll out as quickly as possible.

“I urge all those living in the Liverpool City Region to come forward and get tested.”

In a joint statement, the Leaders of the five Local Authorities – Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral – and Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “Effective testing is absolutely vital to our efforts to containing the virus, protecting our NHS and saving lives.

“Cases of Covid-19 continue to fall across the city region because of the sacrifices we have all made and because people have come forward to get tested.

“But, while we enjoy some extra freedoms under Tier 2, we cannot afford to be complacent for one second.

“We all want to get back to a normal life as soon as possible, but until the vaccine has been fully rolled out there are three things we must all continue to do.

“So please: Get tested, regularly. Self-isolate if you test positive or have symptoms. And, even if you test negative, follow the rules – hands, face, space.”

Director of Testing and Mass Vaccination for Cheshire & Merseyside, Terry Whalley, said: “This is a huge opportunity for the Liverpool City Region as we continue to lead the way on testing those without symptoms, which I believe had made and will make a real difference to the way we live with Covid-19 while we roll out an effective vaccine.

“The success of repeat, targeted testing in Liverpool over the last month has shown that we can drive down the R-number and identify positive cases in people who had no idea they were carrying and potentially spreading the virus.

“The extension of specific, meaningful testing could lead to some very real benefits for all of us as we seek to return to a more normal way of life going into 2021. Through all this additional carefully targeted testing we could see people who continue to test negative being more able to carry on with normal activities, such as attending a football match or visiting elderly relatives.

“We have a real chance here to further prove that additional testing of those without symptoms can protect lives and livelihoods and I am very proud that Liverpool City Region is at the forefront of this work.”

Details of the roll out in Sefton will be available on this site soon.

Get your flu vaccination before the countdown to Christmas

GP surgeries and pharmacies in Sefton are now working tirelessly to vaccinate thousands of residents as part of the biggest flu programme in UK history.

Those eligible for a free flu vaccination this year are:

  • Those who are 50 and over (including those who’ll be 50 by 31 March 2021)
  • people who have certain health conditions
  • pregnant women
  • people who are in long-stay residential care
  • those who receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
  • people who are on the clinically extremely vulnerable patient list and members of their household
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • children aged 2 – 3 years on 31 August 2020
  • all primary school and year 7 children
  • children ages 2 to 17 years with long-term health conditions.

If you are eligible, please do not call your practice. Your GP practice will be in touch to let you know the plans for you to get your vaccine.

If you have been invited to get the free flu vaccine and have not booked your appointment yet, it is not too late.

Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Flu is a potentially fatal illness and one that can spread very quickly. If you are eligible for a free flu vaccine, it is important that you take up that offer.

“Please be assured that changes have been made to make sure that it is safe for you to have the flu vaccine at GP surgeries and pharmacies. These changes include social distancing, hand washing and wearing protection equipment.”

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Flu should not be underestimated. It is a serious illness and can be deadly for those who are vulnerable. The flu vaccination is the best defence we have against the virus.

“If you’re at higher risk from coronavirus (COVID-19), you’re also more at risk of problems from flu; and if you get flu and coronavirus at the same time, research shows you’re more likely to be seriously ill. Therefore, getting the flu vaccine is really important to keep you safe and to reduce pressure on the NHS and social care staff who are already dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.”

Margaret Jones, Director of Public Health for Sefton, said: “Having the vaccine is the single best way to protect against flu. It not only helps to keep you safe from the virus, but your loved ones and colleagues too.

“Good hand hygiene is also important in stopping the spread of flu. Catch any coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throw it away and wash your hands- make sure to catch it, kill it and bin it.”

Find out more information  and check whether your eligible for a free vaccine.

 

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