How health services in Sheffield adapted to help stop the spread of covid-19 and continue to care for those that need it

This year has been challenging for everyone, especially the NHS. As health and care leaders from across Sheffield, we want to give you an insight into how health services in Sheffield adapted to help stop the spread of covid-19 and continue to care for those that need it.

Monday, 23rd November 2020, 2:09 pm

GP practices have remained open and urgent and emergency care for people, including urgent cancer treatment, has continued throughout the pandemic. Community health teams have also worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep services going wherever it was safe to do so.

The majority of hospital services have now resumed and teams have worked hard to re-design how care is delivered and ensure social distancing. Patients whose non-urgent care was paused during the first wave of the pandemic are being prioritised in terms of their clinical needs to resume their treatment and many have already been treated.

During the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, GP practices in Sheffield have made changes to the way they work to keep their staff and patients safe. Over 200,000 items of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks, gloves and aprons have been delivered to practices from NHS Sheffield CCG.

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Hospital staff

At the start of the pandemic, practices changed the way they offered appointments and moved to online triage and telephone/video consultations for those patients who don’t need face to face appointments. Face to face appointments are still available to those who need to see a doctor or nurse - for example people who need to have a vaccination, cervical screening appointment or those who need physical examinations.

Mental health services in the city have remained open and ready to help anyone who needs it throughout the pandemic. Although referrals to services in the city have increased over the past few months there are still spaces on a number of NHS courses designed to help people with their mental health, including one-to-one support over the phone, online group sessions and self-help guides.

We know how difficult the lockdown is for everyone, particularly on our mental health. It’s understandable to feel worried or anxious. If you’re struggling it’s really important to talk to someone about how you are feeling and if you want to speak to a professional we’re here to help. You can find out more about the free support on offer from the NHS in Sheffield by visiting www.shsc.nhs.uk/heretohelp .

We want to thank the public for continuing to follow government guidance to keep everyone safe from covid-19, we know it’s not been easy. We are now calling on local people to help so that services can continue running, safely.

GP in PPE

Anyone experiencing at least one of the symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new continuous cough or loss or change to their sense of taste or smell), should book a test.

Book a test by calling 119 or going online www.nhs.uk/coronavirus . Please self-isolate until you get the result, and continue to self-isolate for at least 10 days if positive.It’s important you don’t attend your GP practice, pharmacy or hospital if you have symptoms of covid-19. Going to these places with symptoms puts others at risk, potentially causing serious harm. If you’re worried about your symptoms you should visit https://111.nhs.uk/ or call 111.

This year, more than ever, people who have been invited for a flu vaccine should take up the invite. With covid-19 still circulating, it is more important than ever that people have their vaccination. If you get flu and coronavirus at the same time, research shows you’re more likely to be seriously ill. Having your vaccination will help to reduce pressure on the NHS and social care staff who may be dealing with covid-19. Speak to your GP or pharmacist about having your vaccination.

Please use NHS services wisely. Your GP practice is still open and available to those that need care but they are busier than ever. Your local pharmacist can help with a wide range of minor illness and ailments without booking an appointment. Pharmacists are experts in medicines and how medicines work. Most pharmacies have a quiet area where you can speak in private and many are open during the evenings and weekends. They can also help you decide if you need to see a doctor.

Community nurse

If you do need to see your GP when your practice is closed, there are a number of out of hours GP hubs available across the city, open evenings and weekends. You can book appointments in the hubs through your own GP practice or by calling 111 when your practice is closed.

Please only use Accident and Emergency (A&E) for genuine emergencies or a life threatening and critical situation. Remember that A&E is not the right place to come if you do not need emergency care. You will be treated more quickly by choosing an appropriate service.

The NHS Walk in Centre on Broad Lane, Emergency Eye Centre, GPs, pharmaciesand NHS 111 can all provide care for non-emergency illnesses and injuries and this will leave the A&E teams free to concentrate on those patients in the most serious need. You can find out more about the urgent care service in Sheffield and when to use them on Sheffield’s urgent care website https://sheffieldurgentcare.co.uk/ .

If you are in a mental health crisis and you need to urgently speak to someone, no matter what time of day or night there’s an NHS professional in the city for you to speak to, dial 0114 226 3636 or 0808 196 8281 (freephone).

Children's Hospital staff

Let’s work together this winter to protect each other and the NHS.

Thank you and please stay safe.From all at: NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group, Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS

Foundation Trust, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield

Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Primary Care Sheffield.