Updates in North Central London
As you will be aware, the pressures on the health and care system in North Central London continue to rise, with Coronavirus cases at their highest, and significant demand for services. Last Friday, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, declared a major incident in London due to the current pressures on NHS services.
In North Central London, all health care provides (including acute and community providers) are working with huge flexibility to increase capacity, including new critical care beds, high dependency and acute units, and step-down facilities. Specialist providers have also been providing exceptional support; two examples are the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital opening 64 beds for Coronavirus inpatients and Moorfields staff being redeployed to provide care at other services.
In North Central London, the adult critical care bed capacity has been increased from 152 to 255 as of 5th January and will have increased to 278 by the beginning of this week. General and acute beds have been increased by 409, an increase of 19%. The North Centra London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are also working to open an additional 36 community beds to help step-down Coronavirus patients and relieve pressure from hospitals across North Central London.
Staff across the region are continuing to work hard and show resilience in the face of continued challenges. Both NHS and social care staff have cancelled annual leave, even over the festive period, and worked extra shifts to continue to meet patients’ care needs. As a system, there are strong mutual aid arrangements in place to ensure the right staff are working in the right place at the right time.
How you can help
To help support local services, you should continue to observe simple clear public health advice to stay at home. You should continue to wash your hands regularly, and when you must go outside, you should continue to maintain social distancing and wear a mask when appropriate.
Health and care workers are facing considerable strain to look after everyone impacted by the latest wave of Coronavirus and these are simple things that you can do to keep yourself and those around you safe, to help protect our NHS.
Your local NHS is still open
The NHS is still open for urgent and time-critical care. Local services are continuing to work closely together across the health and care system, including hospitals, community health services and adult social care. All providers are collaborating to ensure that while there are huge pressures on all parts of the NHS and social care, local people can continue to have confidence that high-quality care is there when they need it.
If you have appointments scheduled and have not been advised of any changes, you should still attend. If you need urgent or emergency care, the NHS remains open for Coronavirus and non-Coronavirus patients.
The London Ambulance Service is very busy, so please only call 999 and use A&E for emergencies only. In non-life threatening emergencies, you should contact your GP or NHS 111 for urgent care advice.
Local services have been working hard to keep elective (planned) services running for as long as possible, but have had to take the difficult decision to stand down all but the most urgent elective care. All patients who are affected by this will be contacted directly by the relevant NHS trust.
Local work to vaccinate as many vulnerable people as quickly as possible against Coronavirus continues, and like other health and care systems, services are following the national guidance on prioritisation determined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
In north central London, more than 30,000 individuals in the highest priority groups have already been vaccinated, including care home residents and staff, people over 80, and our health and care workforce.
Through the hard work of primary care and care home colleagues, nearly 60 care homes across North Central London, have been visited, and daily visits continue, to protect this most vulnerable group within our community, and the staff who care for them.
GPs and GP practice staff are working round the clock to ensure the most vulnerable people are invited to take up the offer of vaccination as soon as possible, and the roll-out of new vaccination sites continues, with a significant number of additional facilities within North Central London being added this week.
You will be contacted when it is your time to receive the vaccine
You will be contacted by the NHS to come forward for a vaccine as soon as possible, when it is your turn. You do not need to contact your GP practice or other NHS services to make this happen.