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June 2021

GP practices are still here for you

Andrea and Ron De Cort
GP practices in Sefton are open and continue to provide services as they have done throughout the pandemic. This means that for patients, your surgery is still providing healthcare services, be it remotely using telephone or video technology, or face to face if safe to do so and deemed necessary by your GP.
One Sefton patient is very thankful that her GP practice was so helpful as she was referred to the right service for her at the right time.
Mrs Andrea De Cort, a Sefton resident, talks about her experience with her practice during lockdown:

“Myself and my husband Ron have been helped by our GP practice several times during lockdown and I have to say that they have been excellent on each occasion.
“I found two lumps on my right breast in May 2020 and went through the econsult system to let my doctor know about it, I drew sketches of where they were and had a phone call with the receptionist that day who actively listened to everything I had to say. They referred me straight away to the Royal Liverpool Hospital and were brilliant at updating me on my care. What was reassuring was that this was all dealt with within a few days.
“It’s really crucial that people understand that their GP practice is still open for business. You might need to deal with them slightly differently to how you have done in the past, but it makes no difference to the standard of treatment you will get.”

In Sefton, the number of patients GP practices are seeing, either face to face, over the phone or via a video link, is increasing month on month as surgeries concentrate solely on the healthcare needs of residents having completed their part in vaccinating the most vulnerable people of Sefton in the top nine priority groups during the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
Over the last six months GP practices have organised over 666,833 appointments for Sefton residents outside of any vaccination appointments in that time. This is an increase of 20.7% from the previous six months, showing the rising demand GPs are facing.
The threat of infection from COVID-19 still exists and rates in Sefton continue to rise. Patients are being asked to continue to follow guidance in place and take the necessary precautions such as wearing face coverings and practicing good hygiene. Patients are also being asked to be kind to GP practice staff at this busy time and respect the necessary infection control measures that are in place to ensure surgeries stay functional and open.
GP practice buildings are public buildings and as such must be kept COVID-secure. Your GP practice will already have a process in place for managing entry into the premises to help minimise the risk of anybody spreading the virus. Please continue to follow this.
New ways of providing GP services have been introduced and are still in place in order to maintain access to your GP practice team while protecting you, others and staff. Triage (making an assessment of your condition and prioritising care accordingly) is an important part of how GP practices work. This has always been in place but has been vitally important during the pandemic.
Dr Pete Chamberlain, local GP and chair at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

“We are open and have been providing GP services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We have learnt during the pandemic, that we can conduct consultations very well with the vast majority of patients using digital technology. With COVID-19 levels rising we are supporting practices to continue with this approach.
“The majority of common conditions can be assessed and diagnosed by your GP by telephone or video consultation. However, as has been the case throughout the pandemic, if your GP feels that a face to face appointment is required and it is safe to do so, this should be arranged for you. We also continue to provide an Out of Hours GP service at evenings and weekends for those who need it.” 

Dr Rob Caudwell, local GP and chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:

“Around 25% of people with COVID symptoms are getting a negative flow test result which is why it’s important to go with a PCR test if you do have symptoms, especially as we are seeing levels rising again in Sefton and you can book this on the website.
“Accessing your GP in the correct way for your specific medical need will help to protect you, your family and loved ones - and GP practice staff from the potential risk of the virus. 
“We have been busy throughout the pandemic continuing to provide support to patients as well as being an important part of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Patients are being reminded that staff are here to help and should be treated with kindness and respect.” 

You can view videos of Andrea and Ron De Cort talking about when their GP practice has helped them during the pandemic here:


WOW ‘Weekend of Walk-ins’ boost to North West vaccine programme

Boost to North West vaccine programme. Vaccentresign

COVID-19 vaccination services across the North West are to stage a bumper Weekend of Walk-ins (WOW) to further increase the number of people with protection against COVID-19.

The extended WOW weekend, which runs from the evening of Thursday 17 June to Sunday, 20 June, aims to make it easier and more convenient than ever for eligible people who haven’t had their vaccine yet to come forward - crucially boosting the numbers of people receiving their first and second dose jabs.

It comes as the NHS works through the final cohorts to be called for their vaccine, with those aged 18 and over now being invited to get vaccinated.

People will be able to choose from mobile, pop up and pharmacy-led vaccine sites across the North West, with no appointment needed.

As well as regional vaccination locations listed on the NHS website for the WOW weekend, there are some walk-in vaccinations available at local sites in Sefton on various dates between 19 – 25 June:

Formby - Formby Vaccination Centre, 56 Brow’s Lane, L37 4ED (Saturday 19 – Sun 20 June, 8am – 8pm)

Ainsdale – AshaEve, Unit 1, rear of 56 Station Road, Ainsdale, PR8 3HW (Saturday 19 – Sun 20 June, 8am – 8pm)

Bootle – Davey’s Chemist, Randall Drive, L30 2PB (Monday 21 June – Friday 25 June,  9am – 6pm)

Litherland – Linacre Methodist Mission, Lineacre Road, L21 8NS (Tuesday 22 June, 12pm – 6pm, for second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, or for those over 40 to get their first dose.)

Other nearby available walk-in locations taking part in the regional WOW weekend are:

Knowsley – Davey’s Chemist, 112 Dinas Lane, L36 2NS

Liverpool - Speke (West), (Outside The Orient PH) 1 Eastern Avenue, L24 2SX       

St Helen’s - Saints, The Totally Wicked Stadium, McManus Drive, WA9 3AL

Clinic dates and times for the WOW weekend vary, so residents are encouraged to check the NHS England website for full details and a full list of participating sites:

Vaccines will be available on a first come, first served basis and those with appointments at participating clinics will be able to attend at their timed slot and receive their vaccine as planned.

The initiative will also support efforts to accelerate second doses for those aged 40 and over, health and social care workers, unpaid carers and people at higher clinical risk, who will be able to receive their second dose from 8 weeks after their first, instead of 12.

The weekend of walk-ins kicked off with a match day drop-in vaccine clinic at St Helens Rugby Stadium ahead of the Saints-Warrington game on 17 June.

More than 7.7 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been given in the North West since the vaccination programme – the largest in NHS history – launched six months ago.

Regional Director of Commissioning, Dr Linda Charles-Ozuzu, said: 

“With the help of NHS staff, partners and volunteers, we’ve made incredible progress with the vaccine programme in the North West and we’re going to boost that success further still with our weekend of walk-ins.

“We know that younger people have busy work, family and social commitments – especially with the Euros football tournament taking place at the moment - and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to come forward quickly when they become eligible.

“We’d also love to welcome people in earlier cohorts who haven’t come forward yet to our walk-in vaccine sessions and if they’ve got any questions, they’ll be able to chat to one of the staff on site first.”


Beat the Heat

Sefton residents advised to ‘beat the heat’ during heatwave. Beat the heat

Healthcare professionals and Sefton Council are advising residents to keep cool during the warm weather, by planning ahead and taking precautions while enjoying the sunshine.

With temperatures up to 25 degrees Celsius forecasted in Sefton this week, people are being reminded to be aware of the risks of hot weather and to take extra care of themselves and others.

Their top advice for keeping sun-safe includes:

Staying hydrated: drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol. 

Physical activity: avoid extreme physical exertion or keep it for cooler parts of the day like early morning or evening.

Keep your environment cool: use curtains or blinds to keep your home cool, or find the coolest part of your home, garden or outdoor space to sit in.

Travelling: ensure that babies, children, older people or animals are not left in closed, parked vehicles which can quickly overheat.

Enjoy the water safely: going for a swim can help you cool down but take care and follow local safety advice if you are going into water.

Sunburn: try to keep out of the sun at the hottest part of the day, between 11am and 3pm.

Protect yourself: apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection, wear UV sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and loose-fitting clothes. 

Fiona Taylor, chief officer at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG said:

“While many people will be looking forward to going out and enjoying the warm weather, it’s important to remember that sunny spells can pose health risks for some people.

“Much of the advice on beating the heat is common sense. But as the hot weather arrives, it is a really good time to think about what you can do to keep cool and protect yourself, your family and friends.

“At a time when NHS services are still under pressure, taking precautions to keep ourselves safe in the sun will mean that urgent care services are kept available for those who need them most.” 

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said:

“Although we are less likely to catch COVID-19 in the open air it’s still possible, which is why it’s important still to follow the basics of hands, face and space when meeting with others, as well as taking all the right precautions to protect ourselves from the sun and heat.”

Residents are also reminded to keep an eye on any friends, family or neighbours who may be vulnerable from higher temperatures, such as people shielding indoors from COVID-19, older people, those with underlying health conditions and very young children. 

Remember, that while COVID-19 restrictions are in place, you will still need to follow government guidance of ‘Hands, Face, Space, Fresh air’ while looking out for others.

During this period of warm weather, residents are also encouraged to seek medical if they need it by calling NHS 111 first, to help them reach the best NHS service for their need. Visit or call 111 for help.

To find out about the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke and when to get help, visit: NHS Live Well.

You can also follow the hashtag #BeatTheHeat on social media, to find updates and information around hot weather alerts from the Met Office and Public Health England