To everyone in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire,
Thank you for all you continue to do to keep yourselves and each other safe.
We want to share a big thank you for continuing to do everything you can to protect yourselves and your loved ones from Covid-19. This is even more important as we respond to the new threat of the Omicron variant. We know it’s an unsettling time, but please be assured there is much we can do as a community to stay safe and well. Vaccines remain our first and best line of defence. We are urging you to:
- Get boosted now. The booster is shown to offer excellent protection against Omicron. We are extending opening hours at our sites and adding new booster appointments every day. Go to grabajab.net to book. You can also find out more about vaccine volunteering opportunities.
- Take up your first vaccination if you haven’t yet. It’s never too late to take up your vaccination, which significantly reduces the likelihood of severe illness and death from Covid-19. Find out more about safety, side effects and booking at grabajab.net.
All our services are incredibly busy right now, and rising rates of Omicron will add further strain in the coming weeks. In response to these extraordinary times, we are taking a number of steps to reduce the pressure and ensure safe and effective care for everyone:
- Bolstering the local NHS 111 service to offer more clinical assessment over the phone and online – helping you get to the right care first time.
- Opening a temporary care facility at a Bristol hotel for people who are medically well enough to leave hospital. 24/7 support and a welcoming atmosphere will be provided for those who need further care before they return home. This will ensure our hospital beds are available for those who really need them and help to improve ambulance response times.
- Expanding the Covid-19 booster programme with 170, 000 vaccination appointments taking place in GP practices alone. Practice teams will still be there for urgent needs, including symptoms of cancer, but you may need to wait until the New Year for routine appointments.
We are asking for your help this festive season, as our dedicated staff continue to provide round-the-clock care for everyone who needs it, and with Omicron rates rising:
- Only call 999 in the event of a serious or life-threatening emergency.
- Think 111 if you need urgent medical help, rather than travelling to busy hospitals and minor injuries units. Our expanded 111 team will get you to the most appropriate place.
- Help get your loved ones home for Christmas by being ready to support hospital discharges when we call. A few hours can make all the difference.
Thank you for continuing to help us help you. We wish you all a healthy and happy festive break. You can find details of the health and wellbeing resources available to you on the Healthier Together useful information page.
Healthier Together Chief Executive Officers