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An Open Letter To Suffolk From Suffolk Health And Care Leaders

Dear all, 

With the world facing its biggest health emergency in living memory, we have come together to speak to you jointly in a way that we have never done so before. Today, as we address you with frankness and honesty, we ask of you one thing – that you think very carefully about your Christmas plans.  

The emergence of Covid-19 has confronted our National Health Service and its partners with its biggest challenge for generations. Our health and social care colleagues have risen admirably to meet that challenge and continue to do so, despite the incredible strain the virus has placed upon our staff and resources.

However, this is not a quick win situation. Despite this incredible hard work, infection rates continue to rise and this Christmas – let’s be candid - we have a monumental challenge on our hands. A challenge that can only be won by each of us making further sacrifice. 

Our current infection rate (112 cases per 100,000 people) is triple where we found ourselves in October (35 cases per 100,000 people). At the beginning of September, there were just 5 cases per 100,000 people. If this current trajectory continues, there will be a significant impact and the situation will go on for much longer.  

Sadly, we no longer have the capacity to lower our guard or lessen our resolve over the festive period. We must continue to live with caution and follow guidance fully. We therefore ask that you think carefully about your Christmas plans. We know that one of the best ways to fight this virus is to limit contact with other people, so we ask that you choose your Christmas bubble wisely and stick with that bubble. We also ask that you think twice before seeing your elderly or vulnerable relatives. This is on top of those things we already do well, such as washing hands, wearing a mask and social distancing. 

We do not offer this advice lightly – Christmas gatherings are, of course, very special and personal celebrations. However, this is an extraordinary year. We know our health and care services would be under significant pressure if cases continue to rise in January.  

Our message today is clear - Suffolk needs you. It needs you to make the right choice this Christmas and live within the guidelines.   

Thank you. 

Signed by: 

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust 
Nick Hulme, Chief Executive 
Dr Angela Tillett, Chief Medical Officer

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Dr Stephen Dunn CBE, Chief Executive 
Dr Nick Jenkins, Medical Director 

Clinical Commissioning Groups covering Suffolk
Dr Ed Garratt, Chief Executive, Ipswich & East Suffolk CCG, West Suffolk CCG and North East Essex CCG 
Melanie Craig, Chief Executive, NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG 
Dr Mark Shenton, Chair of Ipswich and East CCG  
Dr Christopher Browning, Chair of the West Suffolk CCG 

Suffolk GP Federation 
David Pannell, Chief Executive 
Dr Ruth Bushaway, Medical Director 

Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust 
Jonathan Warren, Chief Executive  
Dr Daniel Dalton, Chief Medical Officer 

Healthwatch Suffolk
Andy Yacoub

Suffolk County Council
Stuart Keeble, Director of Public Health 
Sue Cook, Director of People’s Services  

St Elizabeth Hospice
Kelvin Bengtson, Medical Director 

St Nicolas Hospice  

Barbara Gale, Chief Executive 

East Suffolk GPs

Dr Nick Rayner on behalf of Suffolk Primary Care
Dr Maria Wallace, Derby Road
Dr Julie Kite, Derby Road
Dr Denise Pattison, Orchard Street
Dr Robert Mindham, Howard House
Dr Jackie Muir, Combs Ford
Dr David Egan, Debenham
Dr Helen Macpherson, Debenham
Dr Luke Morgan, Debenham
Dr Alison Williams, Debenham
Dr John Havard, Saxmundham

Dr A Phelan
Dr J Phelan
Dr H Wilkinson
Dr J Messenger
Dr C Lewis
Dr C Helps
Dr C Roberts
(all Needham Market Country Practice)

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