Together We’re Better weekly update

We are now well into the third week of more rigorous social distancing measures, following the government’s announcement on 23 March. It is heart-warming to see that most residents across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are helping to protect themselves, others and our NHS by staying at home wherever possible.
You will have seen that our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was taken into hospital this week with persistent coronavirus (Covid-19) symptoms and we wish him a full and speedy recovery. For many, this has meant it has now hit home that coronavirus really can affect anyone. We would urge anyone to only leave the house when absolutely necessary, even during this sunny spell and over the Easter weekend. Take this time to enjoy your garden with members of your household and please do not meet with friends and family for barbecues etc. We continue to thank you for your support in this and remind everyone that, no matter how difficult this time may be, “we’ll meet again”.

We are seeing the fantastic friendly community spirit really shine during these times in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, with numerous different community groups coming together to support vulnerable people. Councils are also playing a huge part in this, with local schemes coming into play. You may have seen that last Friday we released a guide for people who may need extra support during this time. You can find the guide here. NHS Volunteer Responders are also beginning their wonderful efforts to help people in extremely vulnerable groups all across the UK this week.

We know that, during these difficult periods, families will be under more stress than usual and domestic abuse cases may rise. A guide for victims and survivors of domestic abuse has been produced and can be viewed here.

There are lots of useful resources available to support people with a learning disability and their families and carers. You can view these on the Together We’re Better website.

Across the local health and care system, the latest updates are:
 Hot-hubs are now being rolled out across the patch, with one in each Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) areas. Read the full release, here

 Public Health England released new guidance on personal protective equipment this week. We are working to create some handy posters (for example, for volunteers) to help explain what the changes mean

 Work to roll out the One Health and Care integrated care record will be accelerated, halving the deployment time from 12 weeks to 6 weeks. This will mean that, across organisations, clinicians directly involved in a patient’s care will be able to view all relevant information, in order to provide better and safer care. More information on digital shared record can be found here

 The peak in primary care is expected to be anytime now, with this then becoming a peak for our hospitals. Partners are doing everything possible to get ready for this, including preparing wards at some local community hospitals to support if needed. Some of you may ask how this affects our recent decision in the north following the consultation on the Future of Health and Care Services in Northern Staffordshire. It’s clear we’re in unprecedented times and this means working differently. The wards at Bradwell, Cheadle and Leek will be for COVID-19 patients only. We do not need these beds for Discharge to Assess patients, intermediate care and assessments and so it’s important to recognise these are not the typical community rehabilitation beds, but an extension to the acute beds at University Hospitals of North Midlands occupied by COVID-19 patients.

 There have been misleading messages going around on social media regarding respiratory rescue packs. To clarify, these ‘respiratory rescue packs’ are not recommended to be issued as standard to patients with asthma. They should only be issued as part of a personalised plan for people with COPD.

 Whilst routine health visitor development reviews are not currently being offered, if families identify concerns, they should contact their local hub:

o East Hub (covering East Staffs, Cannock, Lichfield, Rugeley, Tamworth): 0300 303 3924

o West Hub (covering Moorlands, Newcastle, Stafford, Stone, Seisdon): 0300 303 3923

o Stoke Hub (all Stoke-on-Trent areas): 0300 303 3298

 There is also a ChatHealth text message service for parents to contact should they have any questions:

o ChatHealth Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire – text 07520 615722

 ChatHealth is also available to young people aged 11 to 19:

o Stoke-on-Trent – text 07520 615723

o Staffordshire – text 07520 615721

 The Donna Louise Hospice service in Stoke-on-Trent is currently closed until further notice. Please visit the website for more information

 University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) has launched an appeal to help boost staff morale and wellbeing, after being inundated with messages from local people asking how they can support during this crisis. Find out more, here

 In an effort to try and ease some of our pressures locally, decisions have been made to temporarily suspend or alter services, so that the staff can be better utilised in our big hospitals, where the pressures really are immense. The most recent service changes are:

o Temporary changes to phlebotomy (blood test) clinics in Burton

o Temporary services changes from Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, including the temporary changes to the Rheumatology service

Finally, to reduce further pressure on the NHS during the outbreak, all road users including cyclists, pedestrians, drivers and other vehicle occupants are being asked to:

 Follow government advice and only make essential journeys  Always drive at an appropriate speed

 Always wear a seatbelt

 Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs

 Never use a mobile phone behind the wheel

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