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Health care services are open and staff are ready to help you

As Suffolk and north east Essex is set to move into Tier 4, health and care leaders say it is vital local people continue using health services in the usual way.

The new restrictions, announced this afternoon, are due to come into effect at 00.01 on Boxing Day.  They state you must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes.  Please click HERE for further information.

Clinicians are reminding those individuals requiring urgent or emergency care they should attend their nearest hospital.  GP surgeries will also remain open as normal in tier 4, with remote consultations available.  They also urge people to visit their local pharmacy or to call NHS 111 or visit NHS 111 Online if they are feeling unwell.

Neill Moloney, Deputy Chief Executive at East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation NHS Trust, said: “Wave two of this pandemic has once again seen a fall in people accessing NHS services for a range of conditions that are not related to coronavirus.  If you have symptoms that indicate serious conditions, please go to hospital as normal.  If you are not seriously unwell please consider alternatives such as GPs, contacting NHS 111 or visiting your pharmacist.  Accessing services in this way will allow us to work in the most effective way possible for the communities we serve.”

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Dr Stephen Dunn said: "Our staff will be continue to go the extra mile to provide urgent and emergency care to people across our communities right across the festive period. We need everyone to help us look after them. For most people that means following the guidance to help stop the spread of Covid-19. For some though, it means not hesitating when seeking help for life-threating heart attack, stroke, cancer, and other serious conditions, whether via NHS 111 or by calling 999 for life-threating situations."

Dr Mark Shenton, a GP with Suffolk Primary Care, chairman of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group and Professor of Integrated Care at the University of Suffolk, said: “With tier 4 restrictions, people will be required to stay at home as much as possible.  However it is important to know that GPs are still here for you and it is important that you contact your surgery for advice or to make an appointment when you need to.  So, if you need medical advice about something other than coronavirus please do not put off contacting your surgery.”

Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chairman of NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “I want to reassure everyone that GP practice staff are there to help. Practices are taking all the appropriate precautions to keep patients and staff safe, and as part of that we ask that patients always telephone first rather than just turning up.”

Tania Farrow, Pharmacist and Chief Officer for Suffolk Local Pharmaceutical Committee said: “On the Christmas and New Year bank holidays, some pharmacies will remain open to provide essential advice and services this holiday season.  I would urge local people to make use of them.”

Belinda White, Regional Manager at Practice Plus Group who provide the 111 service, explained: “Contacting 111 first means everyone will get the right treatment more quickly and probably closer to home as well.  It also means that visitors to the area don’t need to look up details of NHS services if they need urgent treatment. The 111 team will do all that and book them in where they can receive the most appropriate care for their needs.”

Mental health support continues to remain available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in Suffolk by calling First Response on 0808 196 3494 and in north east Essex by calling NHS 111 and choosing option 2. Additionally, the CCGs’ commissioned Kooth service provides emotional wellbeing support for young people HERE 

You can see a list of pharmacies open on December 25th, December 28th and January 1st HERE

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