COVID-19: Thank you and next steps for health and care

To everyone in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire,

We wrote to you a month ago to thank you for all you had done to support health and social care in our area in the fight against coronavirus.

Now we are approaching the next phase in the Government’s management of the crisis, we wanted to update you on what you can expect from health services over the coming months.

But first, we wanted to reiterate our gratitude; this weekend marks the 72nd anniversary of the NHS and social care, which represents an opportunity for us to pause and reflect on the past four months.

This has been the most challenging period in our NHS’s history. This illness has seen many of us lose loved ones before their time and our thoughts and sympathies are with all who are mourning the loss of friends and family and we will be using the anniversary this weekend to remember those people.

The anniversary is also an opportunity for us to say a resounding ‘thank you’. Not just to our dedicated health and social care staff, who have worked tirelessly in challenging circumstances to fight this pandemic, but also to all other key workers and you, the residents of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Alongside this anniversary, this weekend also marks the most significant relaxation of the rules regarding social distancing and lockdown since the pandemic was declared in March. We thoroughly support the need to reopen services and get our communities thriving again, but the threat from the virus remains.

Please continue to:

  • Observe social distancing
  • Maintain regular hand-washing
  • Wear face-coverings in all health and care settings to protect you and those around you

Current restrictive measures are causing harm to people’s wellbeing, livelihoods and wider health. We must now find a way to adapt to a new reality, one where society can return to normal as far as possible while also continuing to protect against the spread of the disease.

This week, each of our councils has published a Local Outbreak Management Plan. These plans will be the mechanism by which we anticipate, prevent and respond to local incidents and outbreaks and which enable us all to move forward safely. Links to these plans are included at the back of this letter.


Although the shielding process will be paused in the coming weeks, we recognise many people who had been isolating during this period will continue to need support to get back to normal life. Help and support for people who are shielding will remain in place over the summer but we also urge you to continue to look out for friends and neighbours.

Your Voice and Your Wellbeing

Through our engagement activity, we have heard that more than half of our population is anxious or worried and, as a result we are prioritising mental health and wellbeing support in the coming months. We have also heard that many of you have embraced the opportunity to access health and care services remotely and we will be building on that as services are reinstated.

Re-opening services and changes to care

Already many of the routine and non-urgent health services that were temporarily paused during the lockdown have begun to reopen and over the coming weeks more will be reinstated. We are looking at this carefully, and prioritising the most urgent cases first. However, we can’t simply return to the way services were run before. We now need to work differently to account for the additional pressures of coronavirus.

This means over the coming months you will see changes to the way we work. Your safety is our first priority, and we are working hard to ensure that every health and care setting in our area is well prepared in terms of distancing, protective equipment and other measures. Already there has been greater emphasis on the use of digital tools in healthcare to enable you to get help and advice quickly and remotely, often without the need to attend a physical setting. When you do need to be seen in person, we will ask you to wear a face-covering and you can expect to be treated by clinicians wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).

We remain committed to providing you with the highest quality health and care services. However the changes required to maintain safety and protect people from the ongoing threat of coronavirus, means you may now experience longer waits, or the way we manage your condition may be different.

It is important for us all that you continue to look after your health and wellbeing. We have provided further information, signposting and guidance on the back page.

We will continue to share information with you over the coming weeks and months and if you do come into contact with our services we will inform you about any new requirements put in place. We will publish regular updates here.

We are always keen to hear from you and would encourage anyone with concerns to get in touch here.

Thank you

On Behalf of the Executives in Healthier Together


Here’s how to continue helping us, to help you

  • Follow government advice:
    • observe social distancing (where possible stay 2 metres apart and always aim to maintain the 1 metre plus rule)
    • wash your hands regularly
    • use the hand sanitiser provided in shops and other public settings
    • don’t touch your face
    • wear a face covering in all healthcare settings and on public transport, as well as areas where social distancing is difficult
  • If you have a continuous cough or fever, or unusually lose your sense of taste or smell then self-isolate and call 111 if you need further advice or help.
  • Don’t sit and worry – ring 111 for medical help or contact the wellbeing support line run by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership on 0300 303 1320.
  • If you need medical help, call your registered GP practice or ring 111.
  • Call 999 for all medical emergencies.
  • For minor injuries, the Minor Injury Units in Yate and Clevedon and Urgent Treatment Centre in South Bristol are open between 8am and 8pm.
  • For minor illnesses, please contact your GP practice or visit a pharmacy.
  • If you are receiving care in your home, including district nurses, therapists and support workers, and need to discuss your needs please call 0300 125 6789.
  • Only go to A&E if you experience a medical emergency or if 111 or your GP has advised you to do so.
  • As rules around shielding are relaxed in the coming weeks, please continue to look out for friends and neighbours.
  • Read more about the local Outbreak Management Plans for Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.
  • There is helpful advice on how to keep well while shielding, available here.
  • If you are isolating or require additional support, you can continue to contact contact the following numbers for community support:

Bristol:  We are Bristol: 0800 694 0184

North Somerset: North Somerset Together: 01934 427 437

South Gloucestershire: 0800 953 7778

COVID-19: Local Research and Insight

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have generated two research or ‘insight’ reports in the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area. The first has a focus on remote and video consultations, while the second is about local people’s experiences during the pandemic.

Here are some headlines from the reports:

  • Around half of panellists (54%) are concerned about their emotional wellbeing and mental health, with this significantly higher amongst women and younger age groups
  • In a considerable change since last year, almost two-thirds of panelists (64%) are now comfortable with a video consultation (assuming it is with a health care professional they already know)
  • However there is a perception from some panellists that it may be difficult to access health and care services, particularly for support with mental health (49% of panellists feel it would be difficult) and for outpatient appointments (51% of panellists feel it would be difficult). This perceived difficulty is driven in part by the socio-economic and age divide, with people living in North Somerset, South Bristol or Inner City Bristol, people with long-term conditions, and people aged 45 - 64 or 64 - 74 years old more likely to perceive it as difficult to access services.

To download and view these reports please click the following links:




Newly Qualified And Soon To Be Qualified Nurses

Welcome to all newly qualified and soon to be qualified nurses

Whether you are on your final year placements, or have recently qualified as a nurse, the Healthier Together partnership (which includes North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT), University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) and Sirona care and health) look forward to welcoming you to work with us in the near future.

We are delighted to confirm that we are offering all nurses graduating in 2020/21, who have been on placement at Healthier Together organisations, a guaranteed interview*.

Completing your placement out of the region? No problem, we’d love for you to join us at one of our engagement events (see below) to find out more.

To request an interview please fill and send the form further down this page.

* Whilst all applications are welcome, unfortunately a guaranteed interview cannot currently be offered at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children or the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Michael’s and Southmead Hospital.

Already got a job offer?

Already got a job? You don’t have to do anything at all, however if you have had a change of heart, you are of course welcome to attend any of our engagement events to find out more about careers with other Healthier Together partners.

Want to stay where you are?

If you are already in a placement at any of our organisations and know the area you would like to start working in once qualified, please speak to your area Matron or nurse recruitment lead who can help support you through the application process.

Upcoming nurse engagement events

Not quite made your mind up on your next move?

Find out more about how our organisations can support you in your career, by joining us at one of our Nurse Career Engagement Events. You will be able to find out more about our excellent preceptorship programmes and career pathways to support you as you begin your nursing career.

With over 48,000 staff and 10 organisations including North Bristol NHS Trust, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust and Sirona care and health, we have a wide range of opportunities and an array of specialisms available once you have completed and passed your nursing degree. Join us at an event to hear more from our staff and to explore what we have to offer.



University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust events – click here to secure your place

North Bristol NHS Trust events – click here to secure your place

Sirona care and health careers – click here

If you have not yet decided where you would like to work, we would recommend attending engagement events which you can find by clicking on the links above. If you do know where you would like to start your career, fill in the form below and your preferred organisation will be in touch.

Interview Request Form

Please note: information submitted in interview application forms will be shared with the central recruitment teams at BNSSG organisations (UHBW, NBT and Sirona) in order to ensure your enquiry is managed in the most efficient way, you should then be contacted by your preferred choice. Our website privacy policy can be found here. All photographs on this page were taken prior to COVID-19 ie before social distancing rules were introduced.

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

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

COVID-19: Personal Protective Equipment

Stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are under pressure due to COVID-19.

Thank you for all contributions which are gratefully received.

Click here for news of local donations.

Read on to find out how you can help.


What is PPE and how does it help in the battle against COVID-19?

Personal Protective Equipment includes a wide variety of protective clothing, goggles, garments and other equipment designed to protect the wearer's body from injury, infection and danger. Items of PPE impose a barrier between the user and the working environment.  Examples include gloves and safety glasses.

Is there enough to go around?

A major national effort is underway to build up stocks across the health and care sector in response to the ongoing threat of COVID-19.  The demand for PPE has significantly increased over recent weeks and while most hospitals and primary care facilities have adequate supplies, some other organisations which do not usually require PPE may now need it.  These can include patient transport drivers, some cleaning personnel, and IT workers visiting GP surgeries to install new video-calling equipment.

What sort of equipment is needed?

  • Fluid-repellent face masks
  • Plastic aprons
  • Disposable gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Re-usable washable goggles
  • Hand sanitizer (minimum 60% alcohol content)

Have we had many offers?

Organisations across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are generously contributing.  Recent examples include schools offering dozens of safety goggles from science departments, 30 boxes of hand sanitiser from a festival organiser, and 1,000 face masks from an events company. A huge thank you to everyone who has contacted us so far.

Who organises the distribution?

A representative group called the COVID-19 Logistics Cell was created as a part of our region’s official COVID-19 response.  Representing ten local health and care organisations which make up the Healthier Together Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), this group oversees ‘mutual aid’; in other words the distribution of donated PPE to care organisations which may need it.

How can I help?

If you have access to spare supplies of PPE equipment as described above, please get in touch at our email address you can also help by spreading the message widely to friends and colleagues who work in organisations which might help, perhaps by sharing a message with your LinkedIn network.  Any support is very much appreciated.

Where can I find more information about COVID-19?

Always ensure you seek information from reputable, trusted sources.  Advice on staying at home, looking after your wellbeing, and stopping the virus spreading can be found at

If you have any questions please contact us at

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

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

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 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

Have your say on the future of primary care

Work is underway to update the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Primary Care Strategy. As more care moves into the community, it’s really important that those experiencing or delivering services help to shape our vision for the future.

You can share your views on the vision statement, priorities and what matters to you by taking part in a short survey:
For staff:
For public:

Later this autumn we will publish the revised BNSSG Primary Care Strategy which will include plans for the next five years.

If you’d like to find out more about this work, take a look at the General Practice Resilience and Transformation section of the website. The surveys will close on Tuesday 27 August.