May 7th 2020

Covid-19: Cheshire health and care update



Welcome to the latest edition of our weekly series of stakeholder 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.

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Home-birth services recommence

Home-births have now been reinstated by both the Countess of Chester and Mid Cheshire Hospitals Trusts.

Home-birth is an option for women who wish to be cared for in the comfort of their own home. Midwives care for women during labour and birth and, following birth, will only leave your home once you feel ready and confident for them to do so.

In the first instance, anyone with questions about home-births is advised to get in touch with their named midwife.

A temporary relocation of births from Macclesfield General Hospital to neighbouring maternity units as a safety measure remains in place. This arrangement - announced in March 2020 - has initially been put in place for six months.

Your community pharmacist is there for you this Bank Holiday

A Cheshire GP has reminded people that many community pharmacies will be open on Friday, May 8th 2020 for the Bank Holiday to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Dr Graham Duce, clinical lead for medicines optimisation at NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, stressed that pharmacists are highly-qualified healthcare professionals able to advise on a wide range of common ailments and recommend over-the-counter or pharmacy-only medicines.

Appointments are not needed to see a pharmacist and many pharmacies have private consultation rooms where people can seek advice in confidence.

Dr Duce reminded patients that GP practices will be closed over the Bank Holiday weekend.

"If you need to collect a prescription but have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating at home, please arrange for a friend, relative or volunteer to collect it for you. Also, please only order repeat prescriptions in your usual quantities and at the usual time. This will help the NHS keep supplying medicines to everyone who needs them," he said.

Although GP practices will be closed for the Bank Holiday, the GP Out of Hours service will be available for people who need it. Anyone who has an urgent medical problem and is not sure what to do should visit NHS 111 online or call 111. Call handlers will refer patients to the Out of Hours service if necessary.

Pharmacies will be open from 2pm to 5pm as a minimum on the Bank Holiday, with some open for longer. Full details available here

Visit to find out more about community pharmacy and to find a pharmacist near you.

Visit for advice on stocking your medicine cabinet and how much it costs.

Cheshire system update

Senior leaders across all Cheshire health and care partners regularly update on the latest position with the Covid-19 response. This enables issues to be flagged and system-wide solutions to be identified and agreed.

Key updates from this week include:

  • There are 1,834 confirmed cases of Covid-19 across Cheshire. Very sadly, 359 Covid-19 related deaths have been recorded in Cheshire hospitals and 142 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.
  • All three Cheshire hospital trusts continue to cope well in response to Covid-19.
  • There has been a noticeable increase in the number of people accessing primary care.

COVID-19 testing in Cheshire - Latest guidance

The latest guidance on who can get tested for COVID-19, how to get tested and mobile testing units is available here.

Key updates this week include the extension of the remit of mobile testing units - co-ordinated by members of the armed forces - to all essential workers as well as other eligible groups and members of their households.

Importantly, those who are eligible can now also self-refer via the Government's self-referral portal.

To date, in Cheshire, mobile testing units have been established - typically for a three-day period - in Ellesmere Port and Macclesfield.

Cheshire NHS urging people with health concerns to get in touch

Cheshire GP Dr Andrew Wilson, Clinical Chair of NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, is supporting the national drive to encourage people to continue to seek the care and treatment they need.

GP practices and hospitals across Cheshire continue to treat patients for both Coronavirus (COVID-19) and non-Coronavirus related issues. To keep people safe there are changes to the way some services are delivered – for example doctors and their teams are making arrangements for both telephone, video and online consultations.

However, if you do need to leave home to see your doctor, GP practices have arrangements in place to ensure that this is done in a safe way.

“I know these are really unusual times for everyone but I can’t emphasise enough that the NHS is still very much here for you to provide the care you need,” said Dr Wilson.

“If you are advised to go to hospital then it is important that you continue to attend your appointments – unless you have been specifically advised not to.

“I know doctors are worried that their patients are not asking for the help they need and I, like many doctors, have patients who have delayed urgently-needed care because of Coronavirus. Please get the help that you need. It is not only the best way to help you but to also help the NHS in the long-term.

“Please continue to use the NHS if you need to, we’re here for you.”

Dr Andrew Wilson, Chair of NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, urges people to continue to access GP services when they need to.

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:

National key messages

Coronavirus is a National Emergency, life threatening for people of all ages, everywhere
in the UK.

To help save lives you must stay at home. This will help protect you and the NHS and frontline staff who are working to save lives. Only go outside for food, health reasons, daily exercise or to work – but only if you cannot work from home.

If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

Anyone can get Coronavirus and anyone can spread it. If you go out, you can spread it. People will die. Act like you’ve got it, anyone can spread it.

Coronavirus - Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.

Media coverage

Great-grandad raises £4k for NHS via marathon in garden

New online service to support lockdown mums

Coronavirus survivor hails hospital staff 'heroes'

NHS chief reminds residents to get the help they need

Your community pharmacist is there for you this Bank Holiday

Coronavirus - Live updates

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

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