BNSSG Healthier Together

Update on health and care services

24 February 2022

To everyone in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire,

Thank you again for all you continue to do to keep yourselves and each other safe from Covid-19. As the country looks towards the next phase of living with the virus, we wanted to update you on what that means for your local health and care services.

Although all services remain extremely busy, we have thankfully now passed the peak of the Omicron wave. As a result, we are standing down the temporary ‘Nightingale surge facility’ that was set up in the grounds of Bristol’s Southmead hospital earlier this year.

As we work hard to catch-up on operations and appointments delayed during the pandemic, it’s vital that we keep hospitals, care homes, GP surgeries and other healthcare settings as safe as possible. For this reason, we will still ask you to wear face coverings, regularly wash your hands, and – where possible – socially distance when on health and care premises. This will help keep our settings free of infection and protect the most vulnerable from serious illness.

We have introduced a number of new initiatives in response to both the pandemic and the recent high pressure on our services. They include:

  • A new grant scheme of up to £1,200 for people to help their loved ones return home following a hospital stay. The grant can be used to support the costs of shopping, household tasks, meal preparation, cleaning or transport – and is available to individuals, family members, friends, or other advocates of an individual returning from hospital.
  • Expanding our digital ‘pulse oximetry’ services so that more people with Covid-19 can recover from the virus at home, safe in the knowledge that they are being monitored by clinical teams. To date, the service has helped over 900 people in our area. If you or a loved one has tested positive for the virus you may be eligible for this support. Please complete this online survey to find out more. This information is available in multiple languages and British Sign Language (BSL).
  • Expanding our 111 team to include a greater range of clinical professionals.

Please remember as we go into Spring:

  • Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourselves and your loved ones from Covid-19. You can find your nearest clinic via for first, second and booster doses.
  • You should only ever call 999 in the event of a serious or life-threatening emergency. Click or call 111 first for urgent but non-life-threatening conditions, rather than visiting busy emergency departments and minor injuries units. You can also call your GP in the day.
  • Get to know your local pharmacy – they can offer clinical advice, prescribe some treatments, and provide over the counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains. Pharmacies are open throughout the day, evening and on weekends and you can be seen without an appointment.
  • Please show kindness and respect to health and social care staff when you come to see us. Sadly, 2022 continues to bring violence and aggression to our doors. This has a considerable impact on people, as this video from UHBW NHS Foundation Trust and this one from North Bristol NHS Trust both highlight.

Thank you again for helping us to help you. You can find more support including local wellbeing helplines, carers links and mental health specific resources on our local resources page.

On behalf of the Executives in Healthier Together.