Coronavirus Information

As the coronavirus situation changes in the UK, we are directing you to the main sources of the latest information and advice.

Our team is working from home but we are still here for you and replying to all emails and calls – please get in touch.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are: a cough, a high temperature and loss of sense of taste and/or smell. If you have any of these symptoms you should stay at home and self isolate.

Latest Information on Restrictions and Guidelines – Northumberland County Council Coronavirus Hub

Find out about the current measures and restrictions for people living in Northumberland and across the North East, including what this means for households and businesses, getting help and support, and changes to council services.

Northumberland Coronavirus Hub

Restrictions in England, 5 November to 2 December

New Shielding Guidance for the Extremely Vulnerable

New guidance for those clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 has been published. This includes advice for the vulnerable to follow during the lockdown starting 5 November. Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable include those with conditions affecting the immune system, certain cancers, and organ transplant recipients, amongst others. If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this. You may have been advised to shield in the past.  

Shielding Guidance

‘Call First’ before going to A&E

Hospital Reception

You may have heard in the news that NHS England is currently trialling a new ‘call-first’ approach, which encourages people to contact NHS 111 before going to A&E. To support this, 111 call handlers should be able to book people directly into appointments with alternative services or give people a pre-booked time to attend A&E to avoid overcrowding in departments. This FAQ guide outlines how the new approach should be working and common questions people may have surrounding it.

Call First – FAQs

New NHS Covid-19 App

The new NHS COVID-19 app, now available to download for free in England and Wales, is the fastest way to see if you’re at risk from coronavirus. The faster you know, the quicker you can alert and protect your loved ones and community.

The app has a number of tools to protect you, including contact tracing, local area alerts and venue check-in. It uses proven technology from Apple and Google, designed to protect every user’s privacy.

More Information

Non-essential hospital visits suspended

Due to the rise in cases of coronavirus in the community, non-essential visiting is to be suspended in hospitals across Northumberland and North Tyneside, with effect from midnight, Thursday 17 September 2020.

Read more

Your Covid Recovery – new NHS webpage

The new NHS #YourCovidRecovery website has information to help you look after your mental and physical health when recovering from coronavirus. It’s also got a helpful section for family, friends and carers who are helping a loved one recover.

Your Covid Recovery

Northumberland Communities Together

Northumberland Communities Together was launched in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It  tois there make sure people are safe and well throughout the crisis and provide coordination to support individual volunteers, voluntary groups and communities across our county.

Northumberland Communities Together

Tell us your Covid-19 story

If there is anything you’d like to tell us about your experience, or that of a friend or family member, during the Covid-19 crisis, we’d like to hear from you.

At this time, more than ever, we are all grateful for our health and social care services and how they have adapted and continued to provide care at this very difficult time. Some services have changed the way they communicate and work. We’d really like to hear your story of using any service, including pharmacies, hospitals, GP services, care homes, urgent dental or optician services, mental health services, patient transport, ambulance and urgent care services.

As services could be delivered in a different way for some time, we’d like to know what you have found works well or less well.

NHS Volunteer Responders Service

NHS Volunteer Responders carry out simple, non-medical tasks to support people in England who are self-isolating because of specific health conditions. They will be used by healthcare professionals to make sure people who are highly vulnerable to coronavirus are able to stay safe and well at home.

NHS Volunteer Responders are not intended to replace local groups helping their vulnerable neighbours but is an additional service provided by the NHS.

There is an online referral form for people needing help, or you can call 0808 196 3646.

More details at the website

Changes to primary care services – GPs, dentists, pharmacies and opticians

GP practices in Northumberland and nationwide have made changes to the way they operate, with more telephone consultations and different ways of communicating. Please call your surgery to find out the best way to access support from the practice.

Most pharmacies across Northumberland have made changes to their opening times, so we recommend you check with yours before making a visit. Opticians and dentists postponed routine appointments during the lockdown but some are starting to resume more urgent services (from early June) – read more about changes to dental services here. If you need urgent care from these services or are unsure what is on offer, please call them for help and instructions. You can find your local GP practice, pharmacist, dentist or optician at the NHS Service Finder.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Patient Information

Patient Helpline: Friends and family can stay in touch with their loved ones in Northumbria Healthcare hospitals by calling 0191 293 4306, or emailing patient.experience@nhct.nhs.uk, Monday to Friday, 9.00am-5.00pm,

Maternity Helpine: Answers to questions about pregnancy, care and visiting. Call 07823 907484, Monday to Friday 9.00am-4.00pm.

Find out more

NHS 111 – check if you have symptoms

You will be asked a few questions and told what to do next. To protect others, do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital.

NHS 111 symptom checker

Government Guidance

Latest guidance during the coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do

Read government advice on staying at home with Covid-19 symptoms, including easy-read and other languages.

Staying at home with symptoms

Useful Websites and Information

Face coverings Information

Wearing a face covering is now mandatory on public transport and in shops and supermarkets.
If you fit into any of the government exemptions, then you’ll be able to travel without wearing a face covering.

Exemptions include:
Children under 11-years-old and young people travelling on dedicated school transport services.
People with breathing difficulties and other respiratory conditions.
People with mental, physical or sensory difficulties, including those who may not understand or remember that they need to wear one.
People that would find it difficult to put on or take off a face covering safely, accurately, consistently or without pain.
People who rely on lip reading and accompanying carers who will need to communicate with them.

Nexus travel have produced some journey assistance cards which you can download here: www.nexus.org.uk/journey-assistance-cards

How to make and wear a face mask and when to wear one

Local Support and Services

Northumberland Communities Together from NCC

Citizens Advice Northumberland

Northumberland Domestic Abuse Services

Northumberland CVA – what’s on offer in your area

Changes to council services in Northumberland

Silver Talk telephone befriending service

Age UK Northumberland

Choices4Growth: A community based mental health organisation working in the Berwick area. Email help@choices4growth.co.uk or call 07715 473667.

Escape Family Support: For families of individuals with drug or alcohol addiction needing support. Helpline: 07702 833 944

Keeping People Connected: A new specialist phone support service for people with learning difficulties and/or autism in Northumberland during the Covid-19 outbreak. Call 0300 303 2789 or email keepconnected@wearepeoplefirst.co.uk.

Onecall: If you are worried about the immediate welfare (health or well-being) of a child or adult contact Onecall – 01670 536400 – 24 hour service, every day.

If you need medical help the NHS is there for you

Contact your GP by phone, online or app, or if you need urgent medical help use the NHS 111 online service. If you cannot get help online call 111. If it’s a serious or life-threatening emergency, call 999.

If you are told to go to hospital it is important that you go. You should continue to attend your appointments, unless you have been told not to.

Prescriptions: you can order your repeat prescriptions on the NHS App and through your GP surgery or pharmacy’s online service, where available.

Following a drop in the number of people accessing GP services during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Northern Cancer Alliance has launched a campaign to encourage people across the region to contact their GP or nurse if they are concerned about signs or symptoms of cancer.

Whether it’s a lump, a new pain, unusual bleeding or an unexplained symptom, accessing medical advice as soon as possible could help save lives.

The Help Us Help You campaign also stresses the importance of attending any referral or follow up appointments, which are being delivered safely by frontline teams during the pandemic.

Coronavirus and Mental Health

Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important, now more than ever.

You may be feeling low, worried or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health or those close to you during the Covid-19 crisis.

Local and national organisations are offering advice and support on how to cope at this time.

Every Mind Matters

Young Minds

Healthwatch England Information

Talking Matters Northumberland

North East and Cumbria Suicide Prevention Network

Choices4Growth

Cygnus Support

NHS Wellbeing and Mental Health booklet 

Mental Health Foundation

Anxiety UK – helpline open longer until 10pm weekdays and 8pm weekends: 03444 775774.

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Trust self-help guides

Children and the coronavirus

The Children’s Commissioner for England has produced this guide to answer childrens’ questions about coronavirus, tell them how to stay safe and protect other people and help them make the best of their time at home.

Children’s Guide to the Coronavirus

What to do if your child is unwell

Are your little ones a bit worried about coming to see their doctor or nurse> Help them understand there’s nothing to worry about with this short NHS animation.

Northumberland Early Help can offer support and advice to local families on a range of issues including education, benefits, behaviour and domestic abuse. Call 01670 620 461 to speak to someone in confidence.

Chat Health from Northumbria Healthcare NHSFoundation Trust is a way for 11-19 year olds to text their school nurse in confidence, for advice and support. The service deals with all kinds of issues including, mental health, bullying, self-harm, alcohol and drugs, relationships, healthy eating and smoking and is available even whilst schools are closed. If you live in Northumberland text 07507 332 258.

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