Local organisations rally to provide Personal Protective Equipment for frontline staff

Thousands of pieces donated with more requested

Thousands of pieces of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) have been donated to enhance local supplies for essential workers across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) following a plea by the Regional Mayor Tim Bowles and the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) on behalf of local health and care organisations.

More than a hundred local organisations have offered their support and donated the equipment, which will be used in health and care settings in the area including hospitals and care homes.

The items, which include masks, visors, gloves and gowns have been donated by a broad range of organisations including universities, engineering companies, house builders, 3D printing firms, and even hairdressers.

The offers of support come in the wake of a worldwide spike in demand for PPE as frontline services across the globe respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Efforts to build local and national stocks are ongoing and while regular deliveries mean most hospitals and primary care facilities have an adequate supply, additional donations which build local resilience and contingency are now welcome and being put to good use.

So far, more than 125 local organisations have pledged their support with significant contributions ranging from offers of free protective items, to offers to switch production to the manufacture of PPE.

Local donations include:

  • 8,700 examination gloves, 1,400 aprons and other equipment including face visor manufacture from UWE
  • 7,400 surgical masks and 10,000 N95-rated masks from Viper Innovations
  • 2,000 examination gloves, 500 masks, 50 coveralls, 35 pairs of safety glasses from The Bristol Port Company
  • 1,000 pairs of gloves, 1,000 masks and 8 litres of sanitising hand gel from Make Venues
  • 18,000 face visors from 3DCrowd.uk

Across BNSSG, all PPE donations are welcome with IIR-rated fluid-resistant surgical masks, visors and gowns in particularly high demand for health and care workers.

Steve Sandercock, for the Healthier Together partnership, says: “I would like to extend a huge vote of thanks for all these contributions which are making a real difference.  It is great to see local organisations stepping up to offer their support and making a practical difference, but also giving us a huge morale boost during this difficult time. Although we have established a good supply of PPE to health and care organisations in the area, the demand for protective equipment remains at an all-time high, so we would like to encourage local businesses and organisations to continue their generous support.”

Regional Mayor Tim Bowles says: “Thank you to the many businesses, large and small, who have come forward to help our region’s incredible frontline health and social care workers. This has always been a region where people and businesses work together to support each other, and this has never been more important than at this time of national need. So if your business is able to help, please do get in touch.”

Chris Hart, of the Faculty of the Environment and Technology at UWE says: "We were very pleased to be able to offer our complete stock of PPE to the NHS as it was quickly realised that frontline healthcare workers needed it urgently. It has been a great morale booster for our staff, who were keen to make a contribution, and I would encourage other businesses and institutions to look at their own stocks, facilities and capacity."

Neil Douglas, Managing Director of Viper Innovations says: “We really appreciate what our local key workers are doing in the community during this crisis and are very pleased to be able to support them in this way. We would like to encourage other local businesses to get involved in helping this cause.”

Alongside the larger contributors, many community and volunteer organisations have also been making and supplying PPE for use across Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire.  Potential providers are urged make contact first to find out what items are needed along with specifications, such as material and sizes.

Anyone wanting to contribute to the local PPE appeal should contact bnssg.supportoffer@nhs.net

COVID-19: Update

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

A) Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading:

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

B) You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

C) What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

 Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

D) What to do if you need medical help for another reason:

If you need medical help not related to coronavirus, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

  • For health information and advice, use the NHS website or check your GP surgery website
  • For urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service. Only call 111 if you're unable to get help online
  • For life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance

COVID-19: Trusted sources of information and advice

It’s more important than ever that we all get reliable and up-to-date health and care information related to coronavirus.  Unfortunately some information online can be wrong, either maliciously or by accident.  This false information can spread quickly, for example people sharing health advice on social media without stopping to check whether the source is authentic.

This can be further complicated by the large volume of information available to us all, and how frequently it gets updated which is often daily. With so much information about coronavirus being broadcast on TV, radio, in the newspapers and online we have compiled a list of some local partners in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire you can trust.

All of these organisations have an online presence, and you can click on the list below to go straight to their websites.  Some have social media accounts too, and in the case of twitter you will often find an official ‘verified by twitter’ blue tick next to a twitter ‘handle’ (or name, beginning with the @ sign eg @HTBNSSG).  This will give you extra confidence that theirs is an officially recognised account.

It’s important that we all get the latest and most accurate health and care information.  Here's the list:

Healthier Together

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

Bristol City Council

BNSSG Clinical Commissioning Group

North Bristol NHS Trust

North Somerset Council

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

South Gloucestershire Council

North Somerset Community Partnership

SevernSide Integrated Urgent Care Service

Weston Area Health NHS Trust

Bristol Community Health

Sirona care & health

Integrated Care in Action Week 9-15 March

This is Integrated Care in Action Week, showcasing best practice and learning as health and care systems work towards becoming integrated care systems. The week aims to help us better understand what good joined-up care looks like and how this fits into our longer term ambitions of healthy and fulfilled lives for everyone through timely, well-coordinated and holistic care.

It is expected that every part of England will have an integrated care system by April 2021 and this week highlights just what it means for people, partners and communities. There are events and webinars taking place across the country with a dedicated  NHS England webpage detailing all the information you might need.

We also want to hear your stories of great integrated care in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. Share them with us on Twitter this week @HTBNSSG or by contacting the Integrated Care team at BNSSG.Healthier.Together@nhs.net

COVID-19: Information and advice for the public

Important information about the coronavirus (COVID-19)

The NHS in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, and Public Health England (PHE), are well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring many services remain available to the public.

The latest information on symptoms of Coronovirus infection can be found at nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Use this service if:

  • you think you might have coronavirus
  • you've been in close contact with someone with coronavirus

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone.

Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via coughs and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also catch the virus by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.

Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict guidelines. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals. Any equipment that comes into contact with suspected cases is thoroughly cleaned. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others. Patients can be reassured that their safety is a top priority, and people are encouraged to attend all appointments as directed.

Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

You can find the latest information and advice at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Five Year Plan (Long Term Plan) Update

NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens recommended on 17 March 2020 that all local Long Term Plans not already published should be held back until Autumn 2020.

Over the next five years, health and care services will develop to offer you even more exceptional care. We want people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to have happy childhoods and productive lives and to stay healthy and independent for longer.

Healthier Together is a group of health organisations and local authorities working in partnership to improve wellbeing and join up care. While we remain separate organisations we want to combine resources to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Local people have been telling us what is most important; including a Citizens' Panel of 1,000 people who contribute regularly, a ‘call for evidence’ last Autumn which yielded dozens of local contributions, and a conference in October attended by 300 people.

Building on this feedback our focus is on prevention, being proactive and tailoring support to your needs.  By 2024 our ambition is to have a thriving, integrated health and care system that helps you actively support your own wellbeing. Services will work together, with you at the centre. The community will be the favoured place for care and hospital services will be available when needed.

These are transformational changes to the way we think about health, the services we offer and how we train and support staff. How we intend to meet this challenge will be set out in our local Five Year Plan.

We will share the Five Year Plan at a series of face-to-face public and staff engagement events using printed, video, and online materials to help bring our ambitious local plan to life. This will follow the release of the national NHS Long Term Plan Implementation Plan.

To find out more about the NHS Long Term Plan click here, or to find out how you can get involved locally click here.



Festive advice from health and care Christmas video stars

Twelve health and care ‘Christmas stars’ from Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire have taken to the web to send season’s greetings in the countdown to the big day.

The 12 – who include local GPs, nurses, a midwife and a paramedic – share their thoughts on working on Christmas Day and urge residents to help them by staying well over the winter months and using the right services if they do become unwell.

Pharmacies, minor injuries units, GPs and more are available throughout the festive period and, while nobody wants to be unwell at Christmas, the message from the 12 health and care Christmas stars is: We’re here if you need us!

Tom, a paramedic and Winter Manager at South Western Ambulance Service, said:

“Myself and my colleagues will be here on Christmas Day trying to make the most of it with Christmas jumper competitions… But the serious message please is to only call us with urgent emergencies and to keep safe. Merry Christmas!”

Chris, a GP working at the NHS 111 contact centre in Bradley Stoke, said:

“I feel very lucky to be working on Christmas Day. I’ll be able to spend some time with my family in the morning and have lunch, and then I’ll be coming into work to address people’s medical needs… It’s never nice to be poorly at Christmas but we will be here to provide the care that you need on Christmas Day”.

Andrew, a nurse practitioner at Clevedon Minor Injuries Unit, said:

“I’ve worked previous Christmases before and it can be a busy time of the year. I’ve already seen my first Christmas injury, with a shop worker being hit by a Santa’s sleigh … I’ll be here missing my family and my daughters, but we are open 10am – 6pm on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day”.

As well as paying tribute to the staff giving up their Christmas Day to care for patients and service users, the ’12 Days of Christmas’ promotion aims to remind local people of the range of health and care services available to them on the festive bank holidays and encourage them to use the right service for their needs.

Dr Martin Jones, Medical Director at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“These videos are a lovely tribute to the thousands of health and care heroes who will be working on our behalf this festive season. Nobody wants to be unwell over Christmas but it’s reassuring to know that Tom, Chris, Andrew and their colleagues will be there if they’re needed.

"And it’s important to remember that we can all do our bit to help them out over this busy period by taking simple steps to stay well and making sure we use the right services for our needs.

“In particular, please take up the flu jab if you’re eligible and get help at the first sign of a winter illness to prevent it from getting worse.

“And remember if you think you need urgent medical attention over Christmas but it’s not a serious or life-threatening emergency, please go straight to 111 online or by phone for immediate medical help.”

Local health and care staff will also be promoting the ‘Help Us Help You’ message at Bristol’s Broadmead Christmas Market between 16-22 December. A team of volunteers from different NHS organisations will be encouraging shoppers to take a ‘Help Us Help You’ pledge to show their support for local health and care staff at their Christmas chalet near Cabot Circus.

The 12 health and care Christmas stars can be seen online here.