Issue 32 - 17 November 2021


Health and care news from across north east London

Welcome to our public bulletin keeping local people informed about health and care services; and how you can stay well and keep safe.

Prime Minister sees booster jabs in north east London first-hand

Boris Johnson at a booster clinicDoctors in north east London are urging people to take up the offer of a booster jab. The call comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson saw first-hand the work being done by local GPs and their teams to protect people in north east London against Covid-19. Mr Johnson visited Woodgrange Medical Practice in Forest Gate on Monday (15 November) where he met staff delivering Covid-19 vaccinations and spoke with senior GP Dr Muhammad Naqvi. Dr Naqvi explained to the Prime Minister that the vast majority of seriously ill Covid-19 patients needing treatment at local hospitals were still not vaccinated against the virus.

New chief executive for NHS and social care in north east London

Over recent years we have changed how we work and plan services in north east London, to bring health and social care services closer together for the good of our communities. This approach will continue in 2022 with the creation of new NHS organisations.

As part of this, Zina Etheridge will become the new chief executive officer for the integrated care system (ICS) for north east London. Zina will join us from the London Borough of Haringey where she has been chief executive since February 2017.

While the organisations that plan and run NHS services in north east London are changing, how you access the NHS either at your GP practice, pharmacy or hospital is not. You will be able to see the same doctors and healthcare professionals when you need to, and we hope these developments will make all our services work even better for the people that need them.

You can find out more about what is happening and opportunities to be involved on our website and we will continue to keep you updated as we make this transition.

Covid-19 booster vaccines to be offered to people aged 40 and over

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that, as well as people aged over 50 and those at higher risk from Covid-19, from 22 November everyone aged 40 to 49 who has had their second jab more than six months ago, will be able to book a booster vaccine.

The NHS has now given more than 2.6 million Covid-19 vaccinations across north east London. Across hospitals in north east London, more than eight out of every ten Covid-19 patients in intensive care are unvaccinated; this means we are unable to use these beds for patients waiting for urgent surgery and are regularly having to cancel planned life-saving surgery.

More than a million booster jabs across London were booked in just three days recently, and around three out of every four people aged 75 and over have now had their booster. In north east London, nearly 50,000 vaccines were given last week, including just under 32,000 booster doses, and around 12,500 12-15 year olds have now been vaccinated.

Boost your immunity this winter

Boost your immunity this winterFlu and Covid-19 can be life-threatening and spread more easily in winter. Most adults and children can get a free flu vaccine, Covid-19 booster or both. The best way to protect ourselves from these viruses is to get vaccinated.

Anyone aged 50 or over who had their second Covid-19 jab more than six months ago (before mid-May) can book their booster at five months via the national booking service or by calling 119, even if they have not received an invite.

More information on the flu vaccine is here. It is available at GP surgeries, at a hospital appointment, at a pharmacy offering the service or from your midwife if you are pregnant. Pharmacies offering the flu vaccine can be found here. As well as offering first and second doses to unvaccinated people, the NHS is giving booster jabs at almost 100 sites across NEL.

NHS 111 online

nhs111 logoNHS 111 online makes it easier to get the treatment you need in the right place by putting you in touch with a medical professional or booking you into urgent treatment centres/walk-in centres, GPs, pharmacies, emergency dental services or if required, A&E. Make NHS 111 online your first choice when you need urgent treatment or advice.

Local hospitals tackling Covid-19 and winter pressures

Local hospitals as well as GPs, are still under immense pressure as they continue to tackle Covid-19 along with increasing winter pressures and appointment backlogs caused by the pandemic. Hospitals across north east London are working together to address these challenges and improve patient care.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) is tackling the backlog of appointments through a number of initiatives, including ENT Kidz, with Ear, Nose and Throat weekend clinics for children, the successful PrEYEority super clinic which recently saw around 1,000 patients in a week and the ‘Gastronaught’ project which has cut waiting times by five weeks. Work to reduce the time patients spend waiting to be handed over when they arrive in an ambulance has also featured in the media.

Barts Hospitals NHS Trust is powering up for winter, with a number of improvements at its hospitals, including increasing critical care beds and investing in services.

Covid-19 vaccines for young people

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that second dose Covid-19 vaccines should be offered to 16 and 17 year olds, which should be given 12 or more weeks after the first dose.

Anyone aged 16 and over can easily find their nearest high street, walk-in vaccination centre through the ‘Grab a Jab’ NHS online walk-in finder or you can book an appointment at a local centre through the national booking service. See this video and more information for young people.

The NHS is visiting schools to give flu vaccinations for young people as usual and Covid-19 vaccinations for those aged 12-15. Out-of-school vaccine clinics for 12-15 year olds can be booked via this link. See here for more information, including a list of out-of-school clinics. At present, one dose of the vaccine will be offered to most children in this age group.

Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, or live with someone who is immunosuppressed, will be offered two doses and will be contacted by their GP to arrange this. Further information is available here.

Covid-19 cancer antibody survey

The NHS has launched a Covid-19 antibody survey for people living with cancer. Please encourage people who are 18 and over (with a diagnosis of cancer in the last year or undergoing cancer treatment) to take part in the survey

The survey involves a fingerprick blood test which checks for coronavirus antibodies. It allows people to find out their antibody response and helps the NHS better understand the level of protection in cancer patients.

OCEAN: offering compassionate emotional support for those living through birth trauma and birth loss

East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) is holding a webinar to launch OCEAN, a new maternal mental health service offering compassionate emotional support for people living through birth trauma and loss.

This is a joint service between ELFT, Barts Health NHS Trust, Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust and Maternity Mates, which is a project to recruit, train and match-up volunteer maternity mates with pregnant women in need of extra support.

The webinar will be facilitated by mental health professionals and people with lived experience. It takes place on Thursday 18 November at 1pm and will be recorded for those unable to attend. Register here for more information including how to join the webinar.

Become an antibiotic guardian

Antibiotic resistance remains one of the biggest threats facing us today. Without antibiotics many routine treatments will become increasingly dangerous. Setting broken bones, basic operations, even chemotherapy and animal health all rely on access to antibiotics that work.

To slow resistance we need to cut the unnecessary use of antibiotics. We urge everyone to visit this website to learn how we can all play a role in helping make better use of antibiotics and help save these vital medicines from becoming obsolete.

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Updated: 17/11/2021