April 17th 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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Update on Personal Protective Equipment

The Cheshire NHS and local authority partners in both Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester are working closely together to support the essential supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect local health and care workers.

We have been extremely grateful to both existing suppliers of PPE and those organisations that have been offering and sharing their stock of unused PPE for redistribution across Cheshire. The stock we have redistributed meets the correct quality standards required to ensure our health and care workers are properly protected against COVID-19.

We have also been humbled by the outpouring of support and generosity from the public and organisations in the wider community, who have offered to manufacture items such as safety visors and goggles that have been reported in the media as being in short supply.

Due to the need to make sure that these items meet the correct quality standards, in addition to local vetting arrangements already being undertaken, we are now working closely with the Innovation Agency who we’ve engaged to review offers of locally manufactured PPE from our local schools, organisations and individuals in the wider community, if not previously confirmed as compliant.

If you have a suggestion around PPE products that you can offer, please contact them directly via and they will be able to provide further assistance.

Cheshire system update

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

Key updates from this week include:

  • There are 910 confirmed cases of Covid-19 across Cheshire. Very sadly, 175 Covid-19 related deaths have been recorded in Cheshire hospitals.
  • Hospital trusts are, however, coping well in response to Covid-19, with no current issues around bed capacity.
  • Testing of patients prior to discharge to Care Homes is now in place at all three hospital trusts - the Countess of Chester, Mid Cheshire Hospitals and East Cheshire Trust.
  • There remain workforce pressures due to staff needing to self-isolate, however in Primary Care the picture continues to improve with GP and nursing absence rates both declining.
  • Work is ongoing to ensure shielded patients - who have been advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks - continue to receive the care that they need.

More access to staff testing for key workers

Testing for Covid-19 has now been extended to include a range of further key workers across Cheshire.

Initially focused on frontline NHS staff, testing is now available for a wide range of key workers including domiciliary care providers, sheltered accommodation and extra care housing services and those working in mental health and learning disabilities services.

Key workers who meet the criteria for testing will be referred by their employer into Cheshire CCG's Coordination Centre who will co-ordinate access to local testing sites.

Mental health helpline on the airwaves

On Wednesday, April 15th Cheshire and Wirral Partnership medical director Dr Anustha Sivananthan appeared on Dee 106.3’s breakfast show to discuss the new 24/7 mental health helpline available to all residents of Cheshire West and Cheshire East who need urgent mental health support. The interview is available here.

Open 24 hours a day, seven-days a week, the helpline - 0300 303 3972 - is open to people of all ages, including children and young people, who need urgent mental health support.

Originally due to go live next year as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, it has been fast-tracked to support local people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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.

Partner updates

Healthwatch Cheshire is supporting the Cheshire health and care system by leading on the collation of public updates from all partners. Headlines from this week include the creation of a dedicated Family Support Team at the Countess of Chester and a reminder that A&E departments remain open as normal for urgent and emergency care.

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:

Media coverage

Live coronavirus updates in Cheshire

Town Council to fund Covid-19 support schemes

Countess team set up so patients can ring or video call loved ones

68 Covid-19 patients return home from Leighton Hospital

Hospital boss shares condolences over Covid-19 patients

Online hub created for residents who are self-isolating

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

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