Health and care leaders in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire have today issued an open letter to everyone across the area. The letter – signed by NHS, council and community organisations – thanks local people for observing the coronavirus advice so far, and urges everyone to continue to follow government guidelines to protect themselves and health and care staff.
Since the pandemic began, local NHS and care services have had to radically change the way they operate, in order to provide care for people in new ways.
Local people have adapted to the new ways of working, with thousands taking up virtual medical appointments that would normally have taken place in person. There have been fewer attendances to emergency departments for minor conditions as more people use the Minor Injury Units and Urgent Treatment centres in Yate, Bristol and Clevedon.
This has led health and care staff across the area to launch a ‘reverse clap’ ahead of tonight’s #ClapForCarers – thanking local people for their support in recent weeks, and for helping to keep them safe by looking after their own health and wellbeing.
Local leaders are clear that while this represents real progress, it remains crucial that people continue to follow guidance – to protect themselves and their local services.
Julia Ross, Joint Healthier Together Lead Executive and Chief Executive of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We want to thank everyone across our area for following the guidance and using local services responsibly.
“It’s clear that coronavirus will be with us for some time yet, and we must keep going – by observing social distancing measures, self-isolating while experiencing symptoms of the virus and practising good hand hygiene. These continue to be the best ways to reduce the spread of the virus, which is critical for population health, as well as ensuring that local services can cope.
“In the coming weeks we will be restarting routine services in a way which is safe for patients and staff. The more we control the spread of the virus in the population, the better able we will be to get normal services up and running again.”
Cllr Ben Stokes, Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health at South Gloucestershire Council, said: “I send my thanks to residents of South Gloucestershire and the wider region for following the guidance and helping us all stay safe.
“We clearly still have a way to go before we are on top of this situation and must continue to adhere to the official advice to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health system and our most vulnerable residents. It’s also important that when required, we continue to get the support we need from the right places and use local services responsibly.”
The letter sets out a range of support available locally, including community mutual aid for vulnerable groups and where to seek support for mental health concerns. You can read the full letter here: https://bnssghealthiertogether.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/BNSSG-HT-Open-Letter-to-Residents-003.pdf