Let me start by this years first blog by wishing everyone a year that is more hopeful and safer than the last! I know that people will have mixed feelings about this latest lockdown, concerns about schools being open or shut and Health and Social Care teams’ capacity to continue to provide services to those who need them. We have also been receiving emails asking us about the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine and the decision to extend the wait between doses. Below in this email, the rationale for this change to the covid vaccination schedule is set out by the 4 Chief Medical Officers for the UK. Please bear this in mind and in light of the continuing rapid increases in covid cases across the country from the new variant of covid-19. I would also like to remind you all that there is a lot of misinformation out there – especially on social media – and I would encourage you all to check any story you see on social media against reputable and trustworthy news sites. The world is chaotic enough at the moment without us inadvertently sharing scary, but baseless, stories.
On a different note – we are looking urgently for two participants to take part in a virtual Public Health England review of the NHS Health Check on Microsoft Teams on Tuesday 19th January from 2pm-3.30pm. There will be a £25 payment to each attendee to thank them for their time. The aim of the workshop is to help Public Health understand the health check successes, any areas that need improving – and most importantly – how it can be used to reduce health inequalities. We have been asked to help find two people from the following demographic groups:
People of working age (30 – 66 years old)
White people from a lower socioeconomic background
If you, or anyone you know would be willing and able to take part – please contact us as soon as possible!
Also, for those who missed it – we ran an online event around vaccines with our resident scientist – Dr Raj – please take the time to watch the recording we made of it (you’ll find it further on in the e-alert) – it is incredibly interesting and may answer some of the questions you have about vaccines in general, and more specifically about the new mRNA technology that has been used in the new COVID-19 vaccines.
Finally, thank you to all of you who have been using our new Whatsapp text service (07759298450) to provide us with feedback – it is hugely appreciated as it gives us the evidence we need to be able to advise the people who pay for and provide the health and social care services you use on the ways in which you need them to operate. Keep it coming!
Government: Stay-At-Home National Lockdown 2021
National lockdown: Stay at Home. Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country. You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
Read the detailed guidance on the national lockdown 2021:
View video of our Covid Vaccination Myth Buster Presentation
With the rollout of the covid-19 vaccination programme by the NHS, we were concerned that many members of the public remained skeptical or unsure about whether they should agree to accept the covid vaccination.
Therefore, on December 17th 2020, Healthwatch Milton Keynes hosted a presentation by Dr Tarlochan Grewal (Raj) PhD. to help the public gain a better understanding of vaccinations and the new technology behind the 2 (currently) NHS-approved covid vaccines (Pfizer/BioNTECH and AstraZeneca/Oxford University). The aim of the presentation was to give the public the knowledge and information that will allow them to make an informed decision on whether to have the vaccination or not based on facts rather than rumors.
Click the image above or button below to view a recording of the Vaccination Myth Buster presentation followed by the Question & Answer session:
Why has the Government changed the covid vaccination schedule?
We have received a number of questions around the re-scheduling of the second dose of covid vaccination. Please share the important information below:
The four UK Chief Medical Officers have written an open letter laying out the scientific and public health rationale for the dosing schedule. Here are some of the key points:
The need to ensure that we maximise the number of eligible people who receive the vaccine. Vaccine shortage is a reality that cannot be wished away.
Confidence based on publicly available data as well as data available to the JCVI, the statutory independent body, that the first dose of either Pfizer or AZ vaccine provides substantial protection within 2-3 weeks of vaccination for clinical disease, and in particular severe COVID disease.
That in their view the great majority of the initial protection from clinical disease is after the first dose of vaccine.
In terms of protecting priority groups, a model where we can vaccinate twice the number of people in the next 2 to 3 months is obviously much more preferable in public health terms than one where we vaccinate half the number but with only slightly greater protection.
Reminder that NHS Dentists and GP services will remain open during current national lockdown
The Government guidance on the national lock down says, “The majority of public services will continue and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include the NHS and medical services like GPs and dentists”.
Remote consultation, triage and risk assessment remain key prior to patient attendance for face to face dental care.
NHS 111 First
This December, NHS England and NHS Improvement has launched the next phase of the latest ‘Help Us, Help You’ campaign which focuses on the NHS 111 service as a new way to access A&E.
If you have an urgent but not life-threatening medical need, make sure you contact NHS 111 first rather than going straight to A&E. If you do need urgent care, then NHS 111 can now book you in to be seen quickly and safely in A&E. As well as this, NHS 111 is also able to direct to or book an appointment at Urgent Treatment Centres, GP surgeries, pharmacies, emergency dental services and walk-in clinics.
Contacting 111 first will also help the NHS to keep you safe by maintaining social distancing and ensure that you receive the right care in the right place, in a more timely and safe way.
If you or your loved one have a life-threatening illness or injury then you should always use 999 and if you do arrive at A&E without contacting NHS 111 you will still receive medical care, with emergency treatments prioritised.
Just think 111 first. When you think you need A&E, contact NHS 111 by phone or online.
MK Friends Shop – Delivering to Wards in MKUH
The Friends of Milton Keynes University Hospital usually run a grocery store and Ward Trolley service. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we’ve now implemented a daily Ward Delivery service.
Pick from our selection of snacks, drinks, chocolates and confectionery, newspapers and magazines, and essential toiletries.
Healthwatch England want to hear from anyone who has used NHS 111 to book an appointment at A&E or an alternative service, so we can understand how it is working for you and your loved ones. We then use your feedback to work with the NHS to improve how it runs services like NHS 111.
We want to hear your experiences of local health and social care services so that we can work to improve them. The more feedback we receive, the more powerful our message becomes.
Healthwatch Milton Keynes advertises health & social care funded, charity and community activities/groups/events to its members. We are only able to advertise trusted sources, for example services that are BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) accredited or CQC regulated. It is usually not within Healthwatch Milton Keynes’ remit to endorse paid for services to its members. However, all content is considered on a case by case basis.