Category Archives: Surrey News Updates

Surrey Heartlands Covid Partner Newsletter

From: COMMS (NHS SURREY HEARTLANDS CCG) <syheartlandsccg.comms@nhs.net>
Sent: 10 March 2021 17:34
Subject: Surrey Heartlands Covid-19 Vaccination Programme Partner Update 10th March 2021

  Partner update 10th March 2021  
 
Welcome to our regular Covid-19 vaccination update.  This short update will be published and circulated every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, in addition to our weekly vaccination newsletter.  If you wish to subscribe/unsubscribe please email us at:  syheartlandsccg.comms@nhs.net  
 
  Large-scale vaccination service to move from Epsom Downs Racecourse to Sandown Park

From 17th May, our large vaccination service at Epsom Downs Racecourse – which people book via the National Booking system – will be transferring to Sandown Park Racecourse.  As the country moves out of lockdown restrictions and plans to phase the return of horse racing events at Epsom Downs emerge, we need to relocate the vaccination centre from Epsom Downs to Sandown Park.   Vaccination appointments for those eligible will continue at Epsom Racecourse until 15th May.  From 17th May all appointments will take place at Sandown Park. Once invited people should continue to book their appointment for the vaccination centre though the National Booking system. We expect the move to Sandown Park to be made without disruption and are grateful to the Jockey Club for their commitment to continue supporting the vaccination programme in Surrey. Local people booking appointments now may receive their first dose at Epsom Racecourse and second dose at Sandown Park. Details on appointment bookings can be found on our FAQS.   The site at Epsom also accommodates a Local Vaccination Service which is managed by local GPs. This service will also re-locate within the same timeframe and it is expected to remain within the local Epsom area.    

National Booking system trialling text invitations for Covid-19 jab

Yesterday NHS England announced that the NHS national team will now start texting people inviting them to book their Covid-19 jab, making it quicker and easier to get an appointment.  Previously all invitations via the National Booking system were made via letter.  Nationally, almost 400,000 people aged 55 and over and 40,000 unpaid carers who are now eligible for the vaccination will receive an invitation by text as well as by letter.   Similar to text messages which are already sent out by many local GP-led vaccination services, the message will include a web link for those eligible to click and reserve an appointment at the large-scale vaccination centres of pharmacies.  The service will also send text reminders 2-3 weeks after the original alert to encourage people to make their appointment if they haven’t already.  Texts will arrive in advance of the standard letter, meaning if the trial is successful the solution could enable the NHS to react faster to changing vaccine supplies and fill appointments quickly.  This will help increase uptake of the jab, particularly as the NHS moves on to younger age groups.  

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
 
  You can find a comprehensive set of FAQs on the local programme on our website here  
I have had my first vaccination. 
Do I still have to wear a face covering when shopping and can I hug my grandchildren?
Having the first vaccination jab does not guarantee we cannot catch coronavirus but it should reduce how seriously we are affected by the virus if we catch it. This means that even after you have had your first vaccination you could still catch and spread coronavirus to your family and the people you come into contact with. It is therefore really important that you continue to follow current guidance to stay at home as much as possible, continue with social distancing, wear a face covering and regularly wash your hands.  
 
     
  Useful links ·       FAQs ·       NHS.UK Covid-19 vaccine ·       GOV.UK Covid-19 vaccination programme ·       Data release ·       Information on priority groups  
  ———————————————————————————————————————————— Surrey Heartlands Communications Team, 10th March 2021  
   

Surrey Highways – Severe Weather response

Sharing a severe weather response that has been issued to all Surrey County Council Councillors.

Dear Councillors,

As you may have seen already we are expecting some severe weather later today and tomorrow.  Both days will bring a scattering of heavy showers, accompanied by strong winds  (around 50-60mph) in places. 

With the wet weather and saturated ground conditions we might expect to see some localised short term flooding and a number of trees to fall.  This is likely to cause some disruption to travel. 

To mitigate the potential impact on our network we have doubled our resources across the Immediate Response Service, including general crews and well as tree surgery and gully crews. 

If you need to report a highways emergency please use the emergency number 0300 200 1003.

The report it online functions are still available for non-emergencies.

In terms of flooding specifically;

  • If there is a threat to life – call 999
  • If there is flooding across the entire road or pavement – call Surrey CC (Highways) – 0300 200 1003
  • If sewers and foul water are involved – call Thames Water – 0800 316 9800
  • If a main river watercourse is involved – call the Environment Agency – 0345 988 1188
  • If your enquiry is not urgent, please contact our team via flooding.enquiries@surreycc.gov.uk.

Emergency utility works on Wey Hill, Haslemere

From: Surrey Streetworks Team
Sent: 10 March 2021 12:51
To: Nikki Barton <Nikki.Barton@surreycc.gov.uk>
Subject: Emergency utility works on Wey Hill, Haslemere

Dear Councillor,

For your information can I advise you of emergency works being carried out on Wey Hill, Haslemere (Outside property number 22).

SGN need to repair a gas escape. The traffic management that is placed is Two-Way Signals and the estimated end date is the 12/03/2021.

We have requested manual control between 06:30-09:30 & 16:00-18:30 to minimise disruption as much as possible.

I hope you find this information useful.

Kind Regards,

Network Coordinator – Waverley

Streetworks Team

Network and Asset Management Group Surrey Highways

Public Space Protection Order in respect of Anti-Social Behaviour

Proposals are being developed for a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) under the provisions of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to apply within the Godalming Town Council area and within the Borough of Waverley.

The consultation period runs from 1 March until 2 Apriland any feedback would be welcomed to ASBPSPO@waverley.gov.uk . Further information is available on the Council’s web site at https://www.waverley.gov.uk/asbpspo

Free school meals update for half term

I thought it would be useful to provide a bit of an update on the provision of the free school meals in Surrey over half term.

This half term, Surrey County Council will continue to ensure all 18,000 children in the county eligible for Free School Meals are supported.

This is using money provided by the government as part of £170m COVID Winter Support Grant announced in November 2020. The Winter Support Grant has so far supported 26,661 households in Surrey since it was announced.

Food vouchers worth £15 per child were sent to parents and young people by email or text by Friday 12 February. Printed vouchers are being provided to parents who cannot access them online.

These vouchers can be only be exchanged for food and can be used in most supermarkets and the McColl’s chain of local shops.

The national free school meals programme only covers term time.

Wonde, a national provider of free school meal vouchers, will send the vouchers direct and ease the burden on schools that are already busy coping with the impacts of covid-19.

Parents or young people who have received vouchers or who have questions can find out more on the School Vouchers support website.

I hope that is useful. If you have any questions, do please let me know on Nikki.Barton@surreycc.gov.uk

Surrey County Council Highways Winter update for Friday 5 February through to Monday 8 February.

Continued rain over the next two days, this combined with lowered temperatures may cause ice and a skid risk.   Looking further ahead there is a chance of snow and dropping temperatures causing further problems on Surreys road.  Surrey Highways are working hard to keep the roads clear, safe and Surrey moving.

Snow

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for Surrey across the weekend – UK weather warnings – Met Office

The current forecast is that we will get snow across the county from later Saturday night early Sunday morning. Significant accumulations of snow are possible, particularly in the east of the county and on higher ground.  The daily winter updates will continue to be sent out with more specific information when treatments are planned.

We have a team of snow ploughs, 4x4s and our snow angels on standby to assist as necessary – they help with clearing pavements and local roads/routes.

We have enhanced gritting and provisions for the testing and vaccinations sites across the county, our routes can be found online along with which roads get gritted – Salting routes in Surrey – Surrey County Council (surreycc.gov.uk)

Winter advice can be found online with lots of links to help you prepare for the ice and snow – Winter advice 2020-21 – Surrey County Council (surreycc.gov.uk)

There is a salting and gritting fact page that we have updated and it has much of the information attached to this email – Salting and gritting facts – Surrey County Council (surreycc.gov.uk)

We will continue to update as necessary throughout the weekend, and our dedicated road and transport updates page will be updated as necessary – Roads and transport updates – Surrey County Council (surreycc.gov.uk)

Rain/Flooding

The river levels remain very high following the recent rainfall and you may have seen that the Environment Agency have deployed a temporary flood barrier at Walton Lane in Weybridge. 

A number of other areas in the county have also seen flooding of roads due to the rainfall and high groundwater levels preventing water draining away. 

The river levels have stabilised and should start to drop over the coming days, however as the catchment remains wet any further rainfall is likely to have an impact.

If there is a threat to life – call 999

· If there is road flooding – call Surrey CC (Highways) – 0300 200 1003

· If sewers and foul water are involved – call Thames Water – 0800 316 9800

· If a main river watercourse is involved – call the Environment Agency – 0345 988 1188

If your enquiry is not urgent, please contact our team via flooding.enquiries@surreycc.gov.uk.

****************************************************************

10 things you never needed to know about gritting…………..

1. Road Surface Temperatures Are Important. When we watch the weather forecast we are advised of anticipated air temperatures. However, road surface temperatures and air temperatures are rarely the same and the road surface temperature is also used to make decisions on when to apply salt. In order to make sure rock salt is used as efficiently as possible, we use high-tech road sensors that are able to determine road surface temperature. They combine the data with local forecasts before deciding whether gritting is appropriate or not. We currently have 11 road sensors at our weather stations across Surrey, and a further 30 sensors in other locations in the process of being installed this year.

2. Myth – Once the gritter has put salt on the road all ice will melt. This is not true! Spreading salt on the road is only the start of the de-icing process. Movement of salt around the road by traffic is essential to complete the process. Overnight, when traffic levels are low, roads can take longer to melt ice if it has formed.

3. Myth – Spreading salt on fresh snow will melt it more quickly. This is not true! Salt only effectively melts snow when it is less than 40mm deep and traffic can move the salt around.

4. Myth – No matter what the temperature salt will melt the ice. This is not true! Salt is less effective at temperatures below minus five degrees centigrade and takes longer to melt snow and ice in these conditions.

5. How it works; by spreading salt, passing lorry, bus, van and car tyres crush the salt crystals and create a saline solution. This melts any ice present which then washes away into nearby storm drains, leaving roads clear.

6. Gritting is not just about cost – Cost is not the only factor that prevents use using gritting lorries on certain roads. A bigger problem is that some roads and locations are inaccessible in certain locations. This is why we have 1815 grit bins in strategic locations and a small army of farmers who help us with the ploughing and gritting.

7. Gritting is a skilled operation – Gritting requires good driving skills and the ability to operate machinery in challenging conditions, usually in the middle of the night when it’s freezing outside and there is only limited visibility at best. Drivers are City & Guild qualified and have CPC and HGV qualifications

8. The rate and speed of the salt spread is electronically controlled by the lorries. The routes are all GPS tracked with vehicle, speed, location, spread and time on all our routes.

9. We have 11 weather stations across Surrey that give us hourly updates; which show the anticipated air temperature, road surface temperature, wind speed and rain or snowfall. We also have an agreement with neighbouring authorities and Highways England to sue their data. We plan gritting treatments from this information. We also receive a two to five-day forecast every day to help us plan ahead. Each station has a sensor embedded in the road that monitors if the road is ‘chemically wet’ – whether it still has salt dissolved in it from the last treatment or not.

10. The P1 Routes are 39% of the entire counties road network. All treatments are completed within 3 hours.

How are members of staff are involved in gritting? No-one works on gritting full-time. All gritting staff fit their work in around their other full time jobs at the council during the winter season (mid-October to mid-April).

Why are gritters sometimes not spreading salt? This can be deceptive. Gritting vehicles have become more sophisticated, and lorries now dispense the required amount of salt directly down on to the road in a fine spray that you may not see. However, sometimes a vehicle might not be spreading any salt. This might be because:

  • • it hasn’t reached the starting point of its treatment route • it is returning to the depot to refill
  • • It is driving on a road that is not on the gritting route.
  • • it is driving over a section of road that has already been treated by a fellow driver
  • • Treatments are occasionally treated prewet (salt and brine mixed) and treatments aren’t clearly visible

Every gritting vehicle is fitted with a GPS system which tracks its route and speed, and it’s part of the inspector’s job to make sure the lorries don’t deviate from their routes. The system also records at what time and location the vehicle is treating and this is monitored after each run to ensure routes are being treated correctly.

The science of gritting

Although we call it gritting, there is in fact little or no grit involved. What is actually spread on the roads is mined rock salt (sodium chloride). The bottom line is this: salt lowers the freezing point of water, and this is how it helps keep roads clear and safer for driving so that things keep moving despite the freeze. As the salt particles come into contact with the snow or ice, melting begins, and water is produced. This water containing dissolved salt is called “brine.” Brine freezes at lower temperatures than regular water, so it remains a liquid at below-freezing temperatures. The brine works its way further into the snow and ice and eventually down to the road surface. From here, brine can spread out under the ice, breaking the bond between the road surface and the ice. The remaining snow and ice float on top of the liquid brine, allowing traffic to quickly break down into slush. Water freezes at 0°C – the presence of the salt prevents water from freezing until -6°C to -8°C. However, salt starts to become less effective at -5°C and almost ineffective at lower temperatures. In extremely low temperatures, or heavy snowfall, a mix of salt and grit may be used to help vehicles get about. Rock salt needs vehicles to drive over it to work effectively. Vehicles grind the salt into smaller particles to spread it across the road – this means that grit is sometimes not effective when there isn’t much traffic or when there is a lot of snow.

Surrey Neighbourhood Watch – Warning of A Scam Regarding Covid Vaccination Bookings

Notification from Surrey neighbourhood Watch

Dear Surrey resident

Covid vaccinations are being carried out across Surrey and some of you will have already been called for your first vaccination. For those waiting, please be aware that there is a scam whereby people are receiving texts that appear to be from the NHS and ask for personal and bank details to pay for the vaccination. These are scams.

The Covid vaccination is free and you will be contacted via a text (usually from your GP practice), a letter from the NHS, or possibly a phone call from your GP if short notice. All these methods will allow you to choose a venue and a time. You are not applying for the vaccination – you are being invited to attend one of the vaccination centres. At no time will you be asked for any other personal or financial details (but you may need to provide date of birth as a security measure).
The link below downloads a poster from the government giving details of what a scam invitation will look like.

Keep safe and well
Martin Stilwell
Surrey Neighbourhood Watch

An update on South Western Railway timetable – January 2021

From: SWR Stakeholders
Date: 8 January 2021 at 5:06:54 pm GMT
To: nikki.barton@haslemeretc.org
Subject: An update on South Western Railway timetable – January 2021

Dear Nikki,

As you will know, throughout this pandemic, our priority has been to provide safe and reliable train services for all those key workers who are keeping our country running through this difficult time.

As we enter a third national lockdown this commitment hasn’t changed.

However, as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, we, like many other businesses are feeling the effects.

More of our colleagues are testing positive for COVID-19 or self-isolating. We also have a number of colleagues that are shielding due to being Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.

Alongside this, with further restrictions in place, we have again seen a reduction in the number of customers travelling with us.

Therefore, in order to continue to provide a reliable service for those who need it, from Monday 11 January 2021 we will be reducing the number of weekday services we will be running.

Our journey planners for next week have been updated, and PDF timetables are available on our website at: www.southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey/timetables.

However, further changes to timetables may need to be made at short notice, so we strongly recommend customers  check their journey closer to the time of travel at www.southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey.

We’ll continue to keep this position under review so that we can again increase services when it’s appropriate to do so, taking account of Government policy and customer demand, and we’ll continue to keep you updated.

If you do have any questions please do not hesitate to contact myself or my team by emailing stakeholders@swrailway.com

Thank you for your continued support and cooperation.

Yours sincerely,


Senior Regional Development Manager.
South Western Railway

Surrey Council Core Brief

Core Brief 05/01/21

SURREY DATA:

The R rate for South East is 1.2-1.4 as of the latest update from gov.uk (23rd December). It’s normally updated every Friday but they seemed to have paused over the Christmas break.

Overall, the 7-day rate in Surrey has gone up 23% from 18-24 December (545.1) to 25-31 December (670.8). This will still be affected by holiday reporting, so is likely to go further in the coming 7 days.

Please note the different time period for the positivity data.

*Positivity – weekly percentage of individuals that test positive.

  7-Day Rate
27 Dec – 02 Jan
7-Day Cases
27 Dec – 02 Jan 
7-Day Positivity*
24 Dec – 30 Dec
England 550.0 309,591  
South East 632.7 58,080 18.9 
Surrey 673.7 8,059 19.3 
Spelthorne 854.3 853 23.8
Surrey Heath 751.4 671 20.7
Epsom and Ewell 740.4 597 20.2
Reigate and Banstead 730.8 1,087 17.9
Elmbridge 715.7 979 19.1
Woking 712.4 718 21.3
Tandridge 709.2 625 19.3
Waverley 623.0 787 17.5
Runnymede 607.2 543 18.6
Guildford 522.2 778 18.7
Mole Valley 482.5 421 15.6

NATIONAL COVID HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS – PROVIDED BY CABINET OFFICE:

Date National Covid-19 hospital admissions
1st September 2020 496
1st November 2020 9,623
Christmas day 2020 17,701
4th January 2021 26,626

Key messages:

  • The Government has taken the decision to legislate new national lockdown restrictions because of a number of indicators, including the infection rate in the over 60s, the rate at which positive cases are rising and pressures on the NHS.
  • There has been a stark rise in national Covid hospital admissions (see above) and now is the time to take action to prevent our crucial frontline services being stretched even further.
  • Rates are now very high across the board in Surrey. There has been an alarming increase in rates across all age groups, this is particularly serious for the over 60s who are known to be more vulnerable to the virus.
  • We are also able to share for the first time the positivity rates, which is the percentage of tests that are positive in each district and borough. This has increased rapidly in Surrey in recent days. Spelthorne currently has the highest positivity in Surrey – almost one in four tests carried out there are positive. Other districts and boroughs are not far behind. This is a strong indicator that there is real cause for concern.
  • While this lockdown is not entirely unexpected news, it has a huge impact on all our lives and it is not the start to 2021 that we had hoped for. However, it is clear from public health data and the pressure across our National Health Service that these measures are absolutely necessary in order to save lives.
  • I want to reassure everybody in Surrey that the County Council will continue to do everything we possibly can to guide our residents and businesses through this latest stage in our response to COVID-19.
  • Together with our partners of the Local Resilience Forum, we have worked tirelessly to protect residents and equip our frontline services.
  • We will step up support to the most vulnerable, frontline services, and work with our education providers over the coming days, and continue to communicate openly with residents.
  • If people don’t follow the rules now, we are going to see rates rising even higher and the dangerous knock-on effect of that in our hospitals, stretching the NHS and frontline services even further and ultimately more deaths.
  • Despite Tier 4 restrictions in place over Christmas our rates were still going up. The majority of people are doing the right thing and following the rules, but we have to think about the places where people are still mixing with others and make sure we are being extra vigilant.
  • Make sure you are following the correct guidelines on support bubbles (you can only form one support bubble, with one other household – further guidance below). If you are mixing with others outdoors, only meet with one other person, by yourself, if they are not in your support bubble or don’t live in your house. Remember hands, face, space and continue to socially distance in shops and supermarkets. Even if you are wearing face coverings it is important to keep your distance from people not in your household or support bubble.
  • There is hope for the future – the vaccine gives us that clear hope that there is a way out – but the vaccination programme will take time, so we have some exceptionally tough months to get through first.
  • I want to reassure everybody in Surrey that the County Council will continue to do everything we possibly can to guide our residents and businesses through this latest stage in our response to COVID-19.
  • We have been at the forefront of the response here since the first UK transmitted case was reported in Surrey in February last year.

What about the effect on Businesses?

  • This has been an incredibly difficult time for all businesses that will now have to close again. It is hugely frustrating after all the work that has gone into adapting to COVID guidance during the previous months.
  • I am pleased that support is available again from government but there is no getting away from the fact that this will be very tough for businesses. Unfortunately there is a clear public health need and we simply must take measures to stop the spread.

LOCKDOWN RULES – HOW DO THEY DIFFER TO TIER 4?

[Refer detailed questions to guidance on the .gov.uk Covid web pages]

LEAVING HOME:

You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare – for those eligible

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid-February for all except future critical worker courses.

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work.

MEETING OTHERS:

  • You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).
  • You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.
  • You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.

Stay 2 m apart from anyone not in your household.

VACCINATION MESSAGES – Surrey Heartlands:

When and where is the Oxford vaccine roll-out starting locally?

As part of the national roll-out, we will start to receive small quantities of supplies of the Oxford vaccine later this week; supplies will ramp up over the coming weeks and we will gradually roll it out across our sites. 

Supplies will be small to start with and we will gradually roll it out across our sites over the coming weeks – the whole vaccination programme is dependent on the supplies of the vaccine. 

The new vaccine will be easier to store and transport and will enable us to ramp up roving services to care homes, the housebound and so on

If asked we could add:

  • We expect Epsom Racecourse to go live as larger vaccination centre from next week
  • Additional local GP-led vaccination services are going live across the county over next couple of weeks

How is the rollout going?

Across Surrey Heartlands we have been working hard over just three short weeks to deliver the Pfizer vaccine, through our first hospital hub at Royal Surrey, in GP-led community vaccination sites and we’ve just started a roving model to start vaccinating in care homes

NHS staff are doing an incredible job to deliver what it is the largest vaccination programme in our history, at the same time as continuing to be there for everyone who needs care.

This whole programme has been set up really quickly, starting with the over 80s and care home residents & staff as priorities; I would like to reassure any of your listeners that if you are within these groups and haven’t heard directly from us yet, we will get to you soon.  Please help us by not contacting us directly, we will contact you as soon as we can.

The collaboration with local partners has also been incredible and has allowed us to roll this out at pace.

Important to include if you can:

The large increase in cases hospitals are seeing and the emergence of a new variant of the virus also shows that we cannot let our guard down now and even those who have received a vaccine still need to follow social distancing guidance. 

The public have an important part to play to help us do this:

  • please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you;
  • when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments;
  • and really importantly, please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.

 This is the biggest vaccination programme the NHS has ever undertaken. It is a huge challenge, and not everything will always go perfectly.

The NHS is well-used to delivering millions of vaccines a year and is moving quickly to roll out this vaccine to those who need it, but it’s important that we remember this will be a marathon, not a sprint.

On pressure on the NHS, and potential of new lockdown measure:

As long as cases continue to rise there will be pressure on the NHS.

Locally whilst our health system, including our hospitals, is under considerable pressure we are holding our own – however the next few weeks are expected to be particularly difficult as we await any direct impact from the Christmas and New Year period on hospital admissions.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to follow the guidance and stay at home wherever possible.

SURREY HEARTLANDS – INCREASING CAPACITY OF NHS SERVICES

Due to the impact of Covid-19 on local NHS services, we are doing all we can as system, to increase capacity. This includes opening more beds and redeploying staff to support our Covid-19 response. As cases of Covid-19 continue to rise we have been working collaboratively as a system to put measures in place that will enable us to prioritise how we provide care to those who are most critically ill.

This is not a decision we have taken lightly but we must focus our efforts on those who need the most urgent and life-saving care. This means we have now postponed many routine and non-urgent elective procedures and operations across our system so we can focus on urgent and cancer care, including caring for those with Covid-19.

These new measures include:

·  Opening up additional beds within our acute and community hospitals to help create additional capacity for people who need to be admitted. This includes plans to open additional beds at the NHS Seacole Centre.

·  Prioritising urgent and cancer care over non-urgent care. This has meant postponing some routine planned elective procedures and non-urgent operations to help create additional bed capacity and free up staff who can then be deployed to support our Covid-19 response.

·  Moving to virtual (telephone and online) appointments for many outpatient services to reduce the number of people travelling to hospitals and other sites to reduce transmission of the virus.

·  Working together as a system, across health and social care, to discharge people from hospitals as soon as they are well enough to leave, with the right support and the right package of care.

·  Working with our independent sector partners (such as private hospitals) to identify any additional bed capacity and any clinical staff that could be deployed to other sites if needed.

·  Temporarily suspending home birth services due to ongoing pressures on the ambulance service which means SECAMB are unable to guarantee a timely ambulance response to those women choosing to plan their birth at home or in a stand-alone midwifery unit should they experience an emergency.

Importantly, patients who have appointments should still attend; if we need to reschedule an appointment patients will be contacted directly. Importantly, primary care services remain open.

For those who need urgent care which can’t be managed via a GP appointment, we would urge people to contact NHS 111 first, either online via www.nhs.uk or by calling 111; please keep A&E for emergencies only.

The measures we have put in place will allow us to care for those who need the most urgent help over the next few weeks; we will of course keep the situation under constant review so we can restore these non-urgent services as soon as possible. In the meantime, NHS services are available for those who really need help; spotting problems early is vital, especially cancers, and GPs continue to refer patients who need urgent treatment to hospitals as normal.

Further guidance

SUPPORT BUBBLE RULES – people must follow exact rules:

It is important that people understand the rules for support bubbles.

Not everybody can form a support bubble. You can form a support bubble with another household of any size if:

  • you live by yourself – even if carers visit you to provide support
  • you are the only adult in your household who does not need continuous care as a result of a disability
  • your household includes a child who is under the age of one or was under that age on 2 December 2020
  • your household includes a child with a disability who requires continuous care and is under the age of 5, or was under that age on 2 December 2020
  • you are aged 16 or 17 living with others of the same age and without any adults
  • you are a single adult living with one or more children who are under the age of 18 or were under that age on 12 June 2020

You should not form a support bubble with a household that is part of another support bubble.

If you share custody of a child with someone you do not live with, the child can move freely between both parents’ households. You do not need to form a support bubble to do this.

You can form a support bubble if you are eligible.

SCHOOLS

Colleges, primary (reception onwards) and secondary schools will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term.

In the circumstances, the Government does not think it is possible for all exams in the summer to go ahead as planned. DfE will accordingly be working with Ofqual to consult rapidly to put in place alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.

  • Mass secondary school testing will still go ahead for staff and those pupils (critical worker parents or vulnerable) in school
  • If one parent is a critical worker children will be eligible to attend school
  • Head teachers will have the flexibility to allow children who struggle to access learning remotely to attend school

Storm Bella Warning

Dear Cllr Barton,

You may have unfortunately seen that the UK is facing high winds and bad weather from Boxing Day and on the 27th December as a result of Storm Bella.

Our electricity network is built to be resilient but extreme weather can damage overhead power lines resulting in some customers losing their electricity supply.  Where this happens we work to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. Over the Christmas holidays we have organised for additional staff in our contact centre and more engineers on the ground to be available to help customers whose electricity supply might be affected by the predicted weather.

Extra efforts are underway to prepare, in recognition of the fact that this is a festive weekend with most people staying at home. We are preparing for 70mph winds, which could bring down branches and trees, damaging overhead power lines.

Both you and your constituents will be able to find regular updates on our website www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk and social media @UKPowerNetworks throughout this period.

Anyone experiencing a power cut should:

·         Call 105 free of charge to report power cuts and damage to the electricity network, or 0800 3163 105 (from a corded landline phone or mobile phone)

·         Visit www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk for the latest updates (on a mobile phone)

·         Visit www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/powercut and type in their postcode to view our live power cut map

·         Tweet @ukpowernetworks to report a power cuts or to receive updates

We advise people to stay clear of power lines and report damaged power lines immediately by calling 105 free from either a landline or a mobile phone. If they see electricity lines that are down or causing significant risk to the public they should call 999.

We provide extra help to customers on our Priority Service Register during a power cut.  Households with older or disabled people, those with children under five, or where someone uses medical or mobility equipment that requires electricity as well as other reasons can join the register.  You can find out more information about our Priority Service on our website: ukpowernetworks.co.uk/priority .

If you would like to share information about preparing for the storm or the priority service register on social media you might like to use the following:

As a result of #StormBella, heavy rain and high winds are due to arrive after Boxing Day. @UKPowerNetworks has extra field engineers and call centre staff on hand over the Christmas period. Call 105 to report a powercut or visit www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk/powercut

Do you, or someone you know, need extra support during a power cut? @UKPowerNetworks provides free services to customers in vulnerable circumstances during a power cut. Visit ukpowernetworks.co.uk/priority for more information. #StormBella

I hope you find this information useful and please do feel free to share it with your constituents.

Can I take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas or festive period, and most importantly, please ensure you and your family stay safe.

Yours sincerely,

ED1 Stakeholder Engagement & Public Affairs Manager

UK Power Networks