June 5th 2020

COVID-19: Cheshire health and care update



Welcome to the latest edition of our series of bulletins designed to keep you up-to-date about Cheshire's response to Coronavirus (Covid-19). Developed by NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group in partnership with NHS partners, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cheshire East Council and Healthwatch Cheshire we aim for this to be a one-stop-shop for key updates.

Please forward on to your networks and contacts. To open this bulletin in your browser or share on as a link, please use:

Received this bulletin from another source? To sign up, or to propose content for inclusion, please email:

NHS Test and Trace

The NHS Test and Trace Service is aimed at identifying and advising people who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Close contact is defined as:

  • Having face-to-face contact with someone (less than 1 metre away)
  • Spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone
  • Travelling in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey) or close to them on a plane.
We want you to recognise the difference between a genuine and a fraudulent NHS Test and Trace conversation. There are reports that scammers are trying to impersonate contact tracers in an attempt to obtain personal information.

NHS Test and Trace contact tracers will always:
  • Call from 0300 013 5000
  • Send text messages from ‘NHS’
  • Ask people to sign in to the NHS test and trace contact-tracing website
  • Ask for your full name and date of birth to confirm identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating
  • Ask about any coronavirus symptoms
  • Ask you to provide the name, telephone number and/or email address of anyone you have had close contact with in the two days prior to symptoms starting
  • Ask if anyone you have been in contact with is under 18 or lives outside of England
They will never:
  • Ask for bank details, or payments
  • Ask for details of any other accounts, such as social media
  • Set up a password or PIN number over the phone
  • Call from a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087
More information about NHS Test and Trace is available here:

An example transcript of a fraudulent attempt by scammers to impersonate an NHS Test and Trace contact tracer is:

‘Good morning, I'm calling from the NHS Test and Trace service. According to our system, you are likely to have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This means that you now need to self-isolate for seven days and take a COVID-19 test.'

'OK. Can you tell me who that person was?'

'I'm not able to tell you that. That is confidential information.'

'Right. Um... so ....'

'But you do need to be tested within the next 72 hours. So can I just get the best mailing address so that we can send a kit to you?'

'Ok (gives address)'

'Thank you - and I just need to take a payment card so that we can finalise this and send the kit to you.'

'Sorry - a payment card? I thought this was all free?'

'No - I'm afraid not. There is a one-off fee of £500 for the kit, and test results. Could you read off the long card number for me, please, when you're ready.'

'No - that's not right. This is part of the NHS so there's no charge.'

'I'm afraid there is. Can you give me the card number please - this is very important, and there are penalties for not complying.'


Antibody testing

Antibody testing is now available in Cheshire and Merseyside for NHS staff and some patients.

Laboratory-based tests will be used in the first phase of the antibody testing programme to determine whether that person has already had the virus. To avoid putting additional pressure on blood testing services, the roll out of antibody testing will begin in NHS settings where blood is already being taken.

Patients who are already having blood taken as part of other tests will be asked whether they would like an antibody test. The test will also be offered to NHS staff regardless of their role. Employers will notify staff where and when testing is available and how to access the service.

There is no strong evidence yet to suggest that those who have had the virus develop long-lasting immunity which would prevent them from getting the virus again. Antibody testing at this stage is useful primarily to improve understanding about the spread of the virus.

Cheshire system update

Key updates from this week include:

  • There are 2,416 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Cheshire. Very sadly, 486 COVID-19 related deaths have been recorded in Cheshire hospitals and 264 in care homes.
  • The number and percentage of care homes reporting a suspected or confirmed outbreak of COVID-19 to Public Health England by local authorities is available online here.

Help Us Help You get the treatment you need

The NHS in Cheshire is urging people not to allow coronavirus (COVID-19) to stop them getting the care they need.

This plea was made by Dr Katherine Butler, clinical lead for cancer at NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, after figures from NHS England showed that A&E attendances in England had fallen to their lowest total on record.

Dr Butler said: “I know these are really unusual times for everyone but I want to reassure everyone that the NHS is very much still open for business and is here for you. This is particularly important to remember if you notice anything unusual with your body.

“Things such as lumps and bumps which weren’t there before or blood in your spit, wee or poo are things that your doctor wants to know about and know about early. They could indicate cancer but could equally be caused by another illness. However, speaking to your GP is the first step in investigating further.”

GP practices across Cheshire remain open and the first step to take is to give your practice a call. You may not be able to visit your GP in the first instance but you will be able to arrange a time for conversation by phone or, in some cases, a video or online consultation.

If you do need to see your doctor at a face-to-face appointment, GP practices have arrangements in place to ensure this is done safely.

Dr Butler added: “I can’t emphasise enough how important it is for you to pick up the phone to your GP practice if you notice any changes as this is not only the best way to help you but to also help the NHS in the long-term. Get in touch as the NHS in Cheshire is here for you.”

Dr Katherine Butler, Clinical Lead for cancer at NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, urges people to get checked out if they notice changes in their body.

Local authority updates
Cheshire West - Caution urged as shielding rules eased

The Government has updated its guidance for people who are 'shielding' in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Clinically vulnerable people were initially advised to remain at home - or 'shield' - at all times for 12 weeks up to June 30th 2020.

updated national guidance now enables people who were advised to shield to leave their home, as long as they adhere to strict social distancing, clinicians continue to urge a note of caution.

Dr Chris Ritchieson, Medical Director for Cheshire West Integrated Care Partnership, said: "Although the Government guidance for shielded patients has been relaxed slightly, we know that there continue to be a number of new cases of COVID-19 in the community, both locally and nationally. As such it is important for us all to remain cautious and to stay at home where possible.

"I'm sure many people who have been shielding throughout lockdown will continue to isolate for the time being, as this - combined with social distancing and adhering to hygiene advice - is the safest way of protecting yourself from COVID-19. If in doubt, stay at home."
The shielded group of 'clinically extremely vulnerable' people are at high risk of getting seriously ill from infection from COVID-19.

In Cheshire West, as in many other parts of the country, a network of emergency support was set up help people in this group who did not have help from family, friends or neighbours to obtain essential supplies of food, medicine and social support, through a co-ordinated community response by the council, health and the voluntary sector.

Director of Public Health at Cheshire West and Chester Council, Ian Ashworth, said: "We understand that life continues to be very hard for people who are shielding, and that everyone's personal circumstances will differ. Even though the advice has now changed, people in this group are highly vulnerable to developing complications as a result of infection from COVID-19. We recommend caution and very careful planning if you decide to leave home."

Cheshire East

The meeting of Cheshire East Council's cabinet on Tuesday, June 9th 2020, is set to review the local authority's response to COVID-19 to date.

This report provides a summary of the Council’s work in response to the current national and international public health emergency on COVID-19.

In addition to the response, this report also outlines how the Council is planning for the initial stages of the lockdown restrictions being lifted.

In other news, Cheshire East Council is asking residents, staff and communities for their views on its refreshed equality objectives as part of a duty to comply with the Equality Act 2010.

The public consultation on the council’s draft equality objectives, runs until July 31st 2020. More

Healthwatch Cheshire survey

Healthwatch Cheshire are conducting a survey about health and wellbeing during Coronavirus. The survey asks how you have found accessing advice and support, how you have been affected by changes to health and care services and about your mental health and wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak.

This is designed to find out what has been good, what lessons could be learned and what other support you may need during this time. The survey will be ongoing and people are encouraged to complete it more than once as the situation develops.

Click here to complete the survey

Partner updates

Healthwatch Cheshire is supporting the Cheshire health and care system by leading on the collation of public updates from all partners.

Find out more on the following two Healthwatch webpages:
Both local authorities have also developed Covid-19 specific webpages to outline the advice and support available to residents. Included this week are updates around plans for the safe reopening of local schools:

Media coverage

Chester dad describes coronavirus journey

£600m for care homes to reduce spread of COVID-19

Cancer services are here for you

Police warning after increase in reports of fraud during COVID-19 pandemic

NHS urges patients to seek care despite pandemic

Copyright © 2020 NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
To unsubscribe, please email: