To everyone in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG),

On the day that government lifts the final national lockdown restrictions, we want to thank you for continuing to do your bit to keep our communities safe and stop the spread of Covid-19.

When the pandemic began, none of us could have imagined the impact it would have on our lives and those of our families, communities and loved ones. Yet by pulling together, following national public health guidance and taking up the vaccination when offered, we will be able to recover from this period in our history.

As we enter this new phase, it’s important to recognise that both Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations are rising in our area, and the threat from the virus remains significant. There are a number of things you can do to help.

Firstly, please remember that face coverings remain compulsory in all our health and care settings. Whether you’re attending a hospital appointment, getting vaccinated, visiting your local GP surgery or attending one of our Minor Injury Units – you will be required to wear a face covering to keep yourself, our staff and other people safe.

Secondly, if you are not yet vaccinated against Covid-19, please book your first dose appointment as soon as you can, or attend one of our many walk-in clinics. If you’re waiting to have your second dose, remember you can now receive this just 8 weeks after the first. Again, you can attend a walk-in clinic for this, or just go online or dial 119 to bring your second dose appointment forward. Every day or week counts. As everyone over the age of 18 is now eligible to be vaccinated, we are working together to make it as easy as possible for you to get protected.

Finally, when talking to our health and care staff, please remember that the lifting of restrictions doesn’t mean all the pressures of Covid-19 have gone away. Our hospitals, community services and GP practices remain extremely busy, and it’s as vital as ever that you ‘help us to help you’ by using the right service for your needs. When using services, please remember to be kind, even though you might need to wait longer than usual to speak to someone or make an appointment.

Now more than ever, it is down to us to take what steps we can to look after others, and ourselves, recognising that we all have a responsibility to care for each other and protect the most vulnerable. That’s why we are asking you and everyone in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to do what you can do – not just what you have to do – to help keep everyone safe from the virus.

Thank you – on behalf of the Executives in Healthier Together

Thank you for all you’ve done so far. Here’s how to continue helping us, to help you:

Your mental health and wellbeing is important, and there is support available for you locally:

  • The VITA 24/7 helpline can help you with emotional support. The line connects you with a mental health counsellor and relevant groups in your local area. Call 0800 012 6549 (textphone users should dial 18001 followed by 0800 0126549). Translators are available.
  • The AWP Mental Health 24/7 response line is there for adults or children under the care of AWP and worried about their own or someone else’s mental health: 0300 303 1320
  • SilverCloud is a free online platform offering valuable mental health and wellbeing support.
  • Bump2baby wellbeing helps you find the right support during pregnancy, birth and beyond: bump2babywellbeingguide.org

If you have a medical condition which makes you clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus and were previously asked to shield, there is online guidance available on how to stay safe

If you still feel you require support, please get in touch with your local authority using the contact details below. You can also contact them if you have any other questions or concerns:

  • Bristol: We are Bristol: 0800 694 0184
  • North Somerset: North Somerset Together: 01934 427 437
  • South Gloucestershire: 0800 953 7778

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.

To find out if you’re at risk from Covid-19, download the NHS Covid-19 App. If you’re told to self-isolate (stay at home) by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app please follow the given instructions to help protect your loved ones and the community.

However, if you are experiencing domestic abuse, isolation rules do not apply. You are allowed to leave your home and NextLink can provide support and accommodation. Call 0800 4700 280 (24/7) or go to: nextlinkhousing.co.uk