Coronavirus FAQs – Health

As we are all aware COVID-19 has had a significant impact on all areas of our lives and none more so than health services. As the NHS faces challenges not seen before, the focus is on ensuring the acute hospitals receive the appropriate support and resources to care for patients that are seriously unwell.

Community health services are playing a vital role in ensuring patients who do not need hospital treatment can be safely cared for at home with the right support. All community services in the UK have received clear directions, through the Community Prioritisation Plan, on the services that should still be provided at this time and those that can be postponed or ceased. Each community provider is reviewing each service and prioritising care on clinical need and in accordance with the Prioritisation of Community Health Services Plan. There are a number of areas where your child’s healthcare may be affected.

My child usually has access to a school nurse but is now at home. Can I still get advice from the school nurse if I need it?

With a large number of children not attending school at present they may not have access to the school nursing team or therapies. Please note that these services are still available and are available through their normal contact numbers. Details of these can be found on the Local Offer.

Will my child still have their appointment?

Some appointments will need to be postponed or cancelled due to the prioritisation plan. Your healthcare provider will contact you with details of this and how they will store your child’s details to ensure an appointment is offered when available. Many appointments will now become telephone or skype type appointments as a result of the social distancing guidelines and for the health and safety of both families and staff members. Staff will contact you to inform you of any changes in your appointment.

What impact is coronavirus having on NHS staff?

Many staff in the NHS and healthcare providers have been or will be asked to undertake roles outside of their specialism (known as ‘redeployment’) and services will be running on fewer members of staff. Staff have received a directive from the government that they may and will be asked to move roles within the COVID-19 workforce.

As staff self-isolate, there may be fewer staff members to undertake appointments and staff will contact you if your appointments need to be re-arranged or undertaken with a different staff member.

What will happen to my GP service during this time?

Your GP services are still available, but all are now running a telephone triage service – you call for an appointment and they will undertake a telephone assessment to see if you require a face to face appointment. Please do not turn up to the surgery but please telephone first.

How can I get in touch with the service that usually supports my child?

The contact numbers for all your services remain the same and please contact them if you have any questions regarding your child’s appointment or you have specific concerns regarding your child. The contact numbers for all providers and services can be found on this Local Offer alongside a dedicated COVID-19 section, with updated guidance and support resources to help you and your family during this difficult and challenging time.

Are services taking new referrals?

Services are still receiving referrals at this time however these will be stored for processing when services are able to safely respond (following COVID-19).

What is happening about immunisations?

It is very important that your baby/child receive their immunisations on time. Most GPs are continuing to offer immunisation appointments. If however your GP is unable to offer you an appointment at this time, please contact the Essex EPUT Immunisation Service on 01702 482830 between the hours of 8am and 6pm. This is a central booking number; clinics are available close to your home.

We would like to reassure you that all services are practising social distancing to keep both our staff and patients safe at this time. Staff will also be wearing personal protective equipment.

All teenage vaccines will be rescheduled as soon possible after schools re-open.

Essex Child and Family Well-being Service

The Essex Child and Family Well-being Service (ECFWS) are available to help and are still providing services. In line with government advice, the ECFWS has stopped all non-essential face-to-face clinical interventions and family support activities, including one-to-one and group contacts. However, new ways of supporting families have been put into place – staff are still available to help and ECFWS are still providing services. Please use the numbers below and you will be redirected to the most appropriate source of help:

Mid Essex: 0300 247 0014
North Essex: 0300 247 0015
South Essex: 0300 247 0013
West Essex: 0300 247 0122

Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service (EWMHS)

The Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service (EWMHS) continue to offer a full service. This includes a crisis pathway (an alternative pathway is now in place to reduce number of young people attending A&E unless there is a physical need).

The EWMHS service are continuing to undertake initial assessments and consultation and therapy sessions. These are being undertaken by either, consultation calls, skype therapy sessions or when required face to face. All EWMHS hubs are open.

A mental health resources pack has been produced in response to COVID-19.

The Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service (EWMHS) has contacted all patients to agree the level of service to be offered during this period.  If your child is being seen by EWMHS and you need advice or support, you should contact your local team.

For any new concerns, please contact the Single Point of Access as usual: call 0300 300 1600 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) or email nelft-ewmhs.referrals@nhs.net

If you need urgent help or out of hours please call NELFT out of hours on: 03003001600

In the case of an emergency, parents should book an emergency GP appointment or call 999 where there is immediate risk of harm.