All posts by Neil Phillips

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Ramadan during COVID-19 – vaccinations and changes to lockdown restrictions

Many Muslims across Buckinghamshire will be celebrating Ramadan from 12 April, just as the country takes its next step out of lockdown.

But while some of the rules are easing, many restrictions will still be in place, affecting the way Ramadan is celebrated for the second year since the pandemic began. During this month of prayers, fasting and good deeds, people are asked to please follow the rules to keep themselves, their loved ones and their communities safe.

If you’re attending prayers during Ramadan, please follow the guidelines in place at your local Mosque. One in three people with COVID-19 don’t have symptoms. If you want to be fully confident you aren’t infectious you can take a rapid test by dropping into one of Buckinghamshire Council’s sites in Amersham, Aylesbury, Buckingham or High Wycombe. Alternatively, you can pick up testing kits to use at home. Click here for further details.

Avoiding large gatherings will also help you and all other worshippers to pray safely. To find out what the guidelines are, click here  or contact your local place of worship.

The rules in place during the next phase of restrictions include:

  • Continue to follow the rule of six (this includes children under five)
  • Avoid meeting in larger groups or mixing more than two households
  • Please meet people you don’t already live with outdoors – and stick to the two-metre rule.
  • If you’re meeting in a private garden, please don’t go indoors, even if the weather becomes bad – this is not allowed yet.
  • Don’t share items, wash your hands often, wear a mask covering nose and mouth and avoid touching your face as much as possible.
  • You must follow the guidance even if you have been vaccinated – no vaccine is 100% effective and it takes two doses and time to build good immunity.

The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) has said that, as advised by Muslim scholars, taking the COVID-19 vaccine during Ramadan will not affect your fasting. If you have an appointment for a vaccination jab over the coming weeks – whether for a first or second dose – please make sure you attend it.

While taking precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19, its important if you’re fasting to also manage any existing health conditions such as diabetes or a heart condition. If you’re worried about taking medication while fasting, please speak to your GP for advice.

Guidance on fasting during Ramadan for people with diabetes and heart conditions are available from Diabetes UK (www.diabetes.org.uk) and British Heart Foundation (www.bhf.org.uk).

It is important to drink plenty of fluids before fasting to reduce the risk of dehydration. Additional information on healthy eating during Ramadan is available from the British Nutrition Foundation (www.nutrition.org.uk).

Dr Rashmi Sawhney, Clinical Director for Health Inequalities at NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Ramadan is an incredibly important time for Muslim communities and it is a great shame this celebration has been affected again by COVID-19. But we would please urge everyone to make sure they follow the rules to keep themselves, their loved ones and their communities safe. While we are moving in the right direction, it is vital we follow these rules to stop cases from rising sharply again.

“I would also like to remind anyone observing Ramadan that Muslim scholars have said that having a vaccination does not invalidate your fasting. So if you have a vaccination appointment, or are invited to arrange one, please make sure you attend it. And please take every effort to stay safe and well throughout Ramadan. There is some excellent advice available for anyone with health concerns.

“Finally, I would like to wish everyone Ramadan Mubarak – I hope that this holy month brings you peace and good health.”

For more information on vaccinations in Buckinghamshire, click here.

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Residents aged 50+ and other eligible groups urged to book their first COVID vaccination jab

Residents aged 50 years old or over, those in a recognised clinical ‘at risk’ group and all frontline health and social care workers in Buckinghamshire are being urged to come forward to arrange their COVID vaccination as soon as possible if they have not already done so.

Anyone eligible who may have initially chosen not to have the vaccine is also able to book an appointment if they have changed their mind.

Vaccine appointments can be arranged by booking online via the National Booking System, calling 119 or contacting your GP.

Everyone in the patient priority groups 1-9 – which also includes care home residents and staff – can now get a vaccine, whether they have been contacted by the NHS or not.

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organisation are all absolutely clear that the vaccines are safe and effective, and that people should go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so. A further trial in the USA this week has also reinforced this.

Pregnant women who work with others or have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk of complications if infected with COVID, should speak to a healthcare professional. The vaccine will not pass COVID on to mother or baby, and breastfeeding is safe after having a jab.

Although there have been reports that vaccine supply may dip in the coming weeks, local vaccination services are currently operating as normal. All booked vaccination appointments will be kept, unless you hear directly from the service team to rearrange. Appointments for second doses of the vaccine have begun in Buckinghamshire and more will be getting underway soon. This means it is really important that as many first doses as possible are given to remaining patients this month.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The vaccination rollout has gone extremely well, but we know there still a number of people in Buckinghamshire who are eligible for a vaccine but who have not yet had one. We really want to get these people their first dose vaccine as soon as possible, before we have to focus more on second doses for patients in April.

“I would also like to remind people that the vaccines we are using – both Oxford AstraZeneca and Pfizer – are very safe and have been rigorously tested. The benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death, are very clear and we want as many of our patients protected as possible.”

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Pop-up COVID vaccination clinic comes to Jubilee Road Mosque in High Wycombe

The vaccination team at the Jubilee Road Mosque in High Wycombe

The Jubilee Road Mosque in High Wycombe was the venue for the latest ‘pop-up’ COVID-19 vaccination clinic over the weekend, as members of the community stopped by to get their jab.

The pop-up centre was operated by GPs on Sunday,14 March, with support from organisations including Wycombe Mosque, Wycombe Islamic Society (WISE), Karima, MEC and Jamia Rehmania.

Pop-up clinics aim to encourage greater uptake of vaccinations with the support of trusted local figures. They also offer a more convenient location to be vaccinated for many people, alongside the nine GP led vaccination sites across Bucks, one national vaccination site in Aylesbury, and eight pharmacy-led sites in the county.

Nationally, data has shown that vaccination uptake is lower amongst people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. With evidence showing that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people from BAME communities, it is vital for them to get their vaccinations when invited to do so.

Dr Sajid Zaib, Clinical Lead for the Stoke Mandeville Stadium Vaccination Centre and GP at Oakfield Surgery in Aylesbury, was one of the GPs running the Jubilee Road Mosque clinic. He said: “The vaccination clinic at Jubilee Mosque was a tremendous success, following our earlier pop-up clinic in Aylesbury. We are very grateful for all the support we have had from the mosque and community leaders in High Wycombe who have helped us to get the vaccine out to people who need it.

“It is really important that, as healthcare professionals, we continue to do everything possible to remove barriers to people accessing the vaccine. Going out to community settings like mosques means we can engage with people in a very positive way. It helps get the message out about how important it is that everyone takes up the offer of a vaccination, and means we reach people who may not otherwise have had one.”

Actively involved in arranging and running this initiative were GPs from across the county, including Dr Akhtar from Tower House Surgery in Wycombe, Dr Younas from The Simpson Centre in Beaconsfield, Dr Abbas from Bourne End and Wooburn Green Medical Centre, Dr Annan Ali, Dr Shaid of Poplar Grove Practice in Aylesbury, Dr Hyder of Water Meadow Surgery in Chesham and Dr Munir of Haddenham Medical Centre.

Cllr Arif Hussain, Chairman of the High Wycombe Community Board, also supported the pop-up clinic and had encouraged people to attend it. He said: “This health initiative was a great example of collaboration between mosques and other communities in Wycombe, and we would like to thank all the healthcare professionals and community figures who so worked hard to make this happen. The COVID pandemic affects all of us and it is vital that we continue to work together to make sure the vaccine reaches those who need it. I would urge anyone invited to have a vaccine to please take up the offer, to protect themselves, their loved ones and the wider community.”

More pop-up vaccination sites in Buckinghamshire are being planned.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “We would like to thank everyone involved for making the Jubilee Road Mosque pop-up clinic such a great success. We look forward to continuing to work with local communities across Buckinghamshire as the vaccination rollout progresses.”

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Drop-in vaccination clinic for the homeless comes to High Wycombe

GP Amanda Bartlett and volunteer, Nurse Averil Bird at the homeless vaccination clinic

A special drop-in COVID vaccination clinic was set up for homeless people in the Wycombe area this week, run by local GPs in collaboration with Wycombe Homeless Connection.
The clinic ran on Wednesday, 10 March, at the Kings Church in Desborough Road, with the vaccination team giving jabs to 20 patients who may otherwise have missed their chance for a vaccine.

The patients, including people who have been rough sleeping and staying in emergency shelters, were invited to the clinic by Wycombe Homeless Connection. Once there, patients were checked in and given the chance to ask any questions they might have about the vaccine.

The vaccination team on site was led by GP Dr Amanda Bartlett, of Priory Surgery, and volunteer, nurse Averil Bird. Dr Bartlett is also the Clinical Lead for the Cygnet Primary Care Network (PCN), which also includes Desborough, Kingswood and Tower House Surgeries, and has been carrying out vaccinations at the Adams Park COVID vaccination centre.
The Cygnet PCN has also been working collaboratively with Wycombe Homeless Connection over the last six months as part of a project to improve health outcomes for the local population, including homeless people. For several years, Tower House Surgery has also been working with the charity to support homeless people in accessing GP services. The PCN plans to expand that project across all its surgeries by the summer.

Dr Bartlett said: “We were all very eager to arrange this clinic to help address some of the health inequalities homeless people face. They are extremely vulnerable as a group of patients, so it’s really important for them to be vaccinated as soon as possible. But it can also be hard for them to get to a vaccination centre like the one we are running at Adams Park, so we wanted to reach out to invite them into this clinic. There would be a really strong chance that they wouldn’t get their vaccine otherwise.
“This has also been a great opportunity to work collaboratively with Wycombe Homeless Connection and with the fantastic support of King’s Church. The whole team has been really excited to put this clinic on.”

Patients who received their first vaccine this week will be invited to get their second jab at a follow-up clinic to be arranged within the next 12 weeks.

James Boultbee, CEO of Wycombe Homeless Connection said: “We were extremely concerned for the people we support at the beginning of the pandemic, many of whom face significant health inequalities and may be clinically vulnerable. Alongside the danger of the virus, two shocking facts are that the average age of death for homeless people in the UK is around their mid-40s, and the deaths of people who are homeless rose 37% in the last year alone.
“So, from the start of the pandemic, we worked with Buckinghamshire Council and a number of local agencies and together we were able to make sure no one had to sleep rough in Wycombe. This kept people safe both from COVID and the numerous other dangers of life on the streets.
“To be able to make sure our clients are included in the vaccination programme will also be life-saving. I’m hugely proud of the hard work of our team, Cygnet PCN and the way everyone has pulled together to make this happen. I’d also like to thank the team at King’s Church High Wycombe who offered their building to host a special clinic for clients who wanted to take up the offer of the vaccine.”

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We would like to thank everyone involved for working to make this clinic a success. It is a great example of the way GPs in Bucks are working to address health inequalities and ensure the most vulnerable people in our communities receive their COVID vaccination.”

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Unpaid carers urged to register to ensure they are invited for their COVID vaccination

Unpaid carers are being urged to make sure they are registered with Carers Bucks so they do not miss out on their invitation to get a COVID vaccination.

Carers fall into group 6 of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priority list and are now being invited for their vaccinations.

However, some people who are eligible to get a vaccine may not be registered as an unpaid carer. Or, they may not have been previously identified as a carer by their GP surgery. Some people also may not realise they qualify as unpaid carer.

You are eligible to get a vaccination if:

  • You are receiving, or are eligible to receive, a carer’s allowance.
  • You are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is clinically extremely vulnerable. This includes carers of children who are clinically extremely vulnerable, as per the JCVI definitions.
  • You are 16 or 17 and are a carer of an elderly or disabled person who is clinically extremely vulnerable

Eligible carers who have been flagged by their GP and those that receive a Carers Allowance, or are eligible to receive it, will be invited for a vaccination. They will get a letter from the NHS asking them to arrange a vaccination through the National Booking System.

However, some unpaid carers in Bucks may not be recognised in these ways. Buckinghamshire Council is working with Carers Bucks to identify any unpaid carers who are not prioritised through the two routes above or are not currently known to either Carers Bucks or the Council. These people will then be sent letters inviting them to arrange a vaccination through the National Booking System.

If you are not already registered as an unpaid carer, please do so at https://carersbucks.org/contact-us/register/ or call 0300 777 2722 for more information.

Approximately 11,000 unpaid carers are already registered with Carers Bucks. The charity will send out emails or letters to all those under 70 years of age to ask permission to share their information with the NHS, so vaccine invitation letters can then be sent.

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health, said: “If you are an unpaid carer, please make sure you are registered with Carers Bucks. By doing this, you can make sure you don’t miss out on your vaccination invitation, which will help to protect both yourself and the person you care for.

“Carers Bucks also offers other kinds of invaluable support to carers and can provide a real lifeline when you need it most. By registering with them, you will be able to access free services including information, emotional support, workshops and training.”

Vaccinations are now available across Buckinghamshire at:

  • 9 GP-led Vaccination Centres across the county (Buckingham, Burnham, Chalfont St Peter, Chesham, High Wycombe, High Wycombe town centre, Princes Risborough, Stoke Mandeville, Winslow; all by invitation from your surgery)
  • 8 Pharmacy-led sites (Aylesbury, Beaconsfield, Buckingham, Chesham, Haddenham, Marlow, Wing, Wycombe; all through the National Booking System)
  • 1 Large-Scale Vaccination Centre (Aylesbury; through the National Booking System)

More information on the vaccination programme in Buckinghamshire can be found here.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisations definitions of people who are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable can be found here.

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COVID vaccination clinic comes to Aylesbury Mosque

Members of the vaccination team visit Aylesbury Mosque

The Aylesbury Mosque was transformed into a ‘pop-up’ COVID-19 vaccination clinic over the weekend, as vulnerable members of the community stopped by to get their jab.

This pop-up centre – the first of its kind in Buckinghamshire – was operated by members of the team at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium Vaccination Centre, with the support of key members of the community.

Nationally, data has shown that vaccination uptake is lower amongst people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. Experiences from earlier stages of the pandemic also show that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people from BAME communities, making it vital for them to get their vaccinations when invited to do so.

Pop-up clinics like the one at Aylesbury Mosque aim to encourage greater uptake of vaccinations with the support of trusted local figures. They also offer a more convenient location to be vaccinated for many people, alongside the nine GP led vaccination sites across Bucks, one national vaccination site in Aylesbury, and eight pharmacy led sites in the county.

Dr Sajid Zaib, Clinical Lead for the Stoke Mandeville Stadium Vaccination Centre and GP at Oakfield Surgery, said: “The pop-up clinic went really well over the weekend and it was great to see so many people come to the mosque for their vaccination. It is part of our vision in Bucks to remove barriers to people accessing the vaccine. By actively engaging with the community, often with local healthcare professionals who speak the same language, we can reinforce our message about how important it is to get a vaccination in a very positive way.

“It is understandable that people may have some reservations about the vaccine, but it is really important to stress that the vaccine is safe and has been very rigorously tested.  There is also a lot of misinformation being spread about the vaccine that simply is not true. COVID-19 has badly affected people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, so it is vital that people from all communities take up their offer of a vaccination when it comes. It is the only way they can protect themselves, their loved ones and everyone around them as we try to get back to a more normal life.”

Also actively involved in arranging this vaccination site were Dr Shaid of Poplar Grove Practice in Aylesbury, Dr Hyder of Water Meadow Surgery in Chesham and Dr Munir of Haddenham Medical Centre.

More pop-up vaccination sites in Buckinghamshire are now being planned.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “We would like to thank everybody at the Aylesbury Mosque for their invaluable support of the vaccination rollout and for helping make this pop-up site such a success. Initiatives like this are really important to ensure the vaccine reaches as many people as possible and we look forward to continuing to work with local communities across Buckinghamshire as the rollout progresses.”

The vaccination team at Stoke Mandeville Stadium is made up of GP practices across the Aylesbury area all working together, with support from Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and hundreds of volunteers.

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COVID vaccination options for Bucks increase, as residents aged 70+ are invited to book their jab

A growing range of options are now available for eligible people to have their COVID vaccinations across Buckinghamshire, as patients aged 70 and over are being asked to contact the NHS if they have not already booked their jab.

As well as the nine GP-led vaccination sites spread across the county, a large-scale vaccination centre this week opened at Buckinghamshire New University’s Aylesbury campus.

This joins other nearby large-scale centres outside the county (in Oxford and Slough), and five pharmacy-led vaccination sites in Buckinghamshire- at Aylesbury’s Odeon cinema, Marlow, High Wycombe, Buckingham and Chesham.

The vaccination programme in Buckinghamshire has made great progress, working through the top priority patient groups, including patients aged 70 and over, the clinically extremely vulnerable and care home residents and staff.

Now, to ensure no one is left behind, and patients aged 70 and over, who have not yet booked a vaccination appointment, are invited to contact the NHS to arrange their COVID vaccination as soon as possible. The easiest way to do this is to use the online National Booking System at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination, which lets patients choose a time and location that suits them, or they can call 119 for free, between 7am and 11pm every day.

If a suitable slot is still not available, people can also call their GP practice to arrange a vaccination.

All patients below the age of 70 are still being asked to wait for the NHS to get in touch to arrange an appointment when the time is right. This is in line with the national Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) prioritisation programme.

They will be informed by letter when they are able to book an appointment at a large-scale or pharmacy-led centre. Patients can also, if they prefer, choose to wait for their GP practice to invite them for an appointment at one of Buckinghamshire’s GP-led vaccination sites.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is extremely welcome news that we have more vaccination capacity in Buckinghamshire, both at the new Aylesbury large-scale site and at the five pharmacy-led sites. The vaccination programme has gathered tremendous speed in recent weeks and it is great to see the available options growing for eligible patients in Bucks.

“We would now ask any remaining patients aged 70 and over to please book a vaccination appointment if they have not already done so. The easiest way to do this is via the national booking system at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination, or by calling 119. If they cannot get a suitable appointment in these ways, they can contact their GP surgery.

“Our GP-led sites continue to do tremendous work in making sure the prioritised groups of patients get their vaccines and we thank everyone for their patience and support as we continue to focus on our most vulnerable residents. Please do continue to observe the safety guidance to protect yourself and your loved ones as the vaccine rollout continues.”

 

Vaccination sites available to eligible Buckinghamshire residents:

If you have received a letter from the NHS you can book your vaccination at one of the Pharmacy Vaccination Sites using the National Booking System.

  • Marlow
  • Wycombe
  • Aylesbury
  • Buckingham
  • Chesham

Alternatively, you can book at one of the mass vaccination centres closest to Buckinghamshire (if you live within 60 miles of one):

  • Buckinghamshire New University Aylesbury campus (Buckinghamshire) – a patient guide video for this site can be viewed here.
  • Salt Hill, Slough (South East)
  • Kassam Stadium (Oxford)
  • Epsom racecourse in Surrey (South East)
  • Excel Centre in London (London)
  • Wembley (London)
  • Robertson House in Stevenage (East of England)

All nine of Buckinghamshire’s GP-led vaccination centres are now up and running, meaning registered patients at all GP practices in the county will be covered by one of these locations:

  • Chalfont St Peter
  • Princes Risborough
  • Winslow
  • Chesham
  • Stoke Mandeville
  • High Wycombe
  • High Wycombe town centre
  • Buckingham
  • Burnham

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Buckinghamshire’s first large-scale COVID vaccination site opens in Aylesbury

Buckinghamshire’s first large scale COVID vaccination site is at Buckinghamshire New University’s Aylesbury campus, where its student nurses are trained – and where it has now joined forces with the NHS and the local authority to serve the community in another essential way.

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust is operating the new site, which starts delivering life-saving COVID jabs this week as the NHS continues to accelerate the biggest immunisation programme in its history.

The Bucks New University Aylesbury campus already has a strong track record in healthcare, offering a range of traditional degrees and apprenticeships across the health and social care field, which makes their involvement in the vaccination effort even more fitting.

Buckinghamshire continues to make good progress as it works towards the Government target of ensuring all patients in the top four priority groups are offered a vaccination by mid-February. This includes people aged 70 and over, the clinically extremely vulnerable and care home residents and staff.

Patients are asked not to contact their GP practice to try to arrange an appointment. Instead, eligible patients will be sent a letter inviting them to arrange their appointment via the national booking system when the time is right. They can also use this system to arrange an appointment at one of the growing number of pharmacy-led vaccination sites in the county.

They can also, if they prefer, choose to wait for their GP practice to invite them for an appointment at one of the nine GP-led vaccination sites now operating across Buckinghamshire.

The new site will be open seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm. It will be capable of delivering thousands of jabs each week but will scale up and down according to vaccine supplies and demand.

Parking for the vaccination site is available from the Walton Street car park, which is opposite the university building. Volunteers will be on hand to ensure patients get safely from the car park to the vaccination site, which involves crossing over a stretch of dual carriageway at a pedestrian light controlled crossing. No parking or drop-off at the University campus site is permitted for pedestrian and road safety reasons.

Anyone approaching this car park from the direction of Aylesbury town centre should please be aware that they need to drive past the vaccination site (on their left, heading away from town) and go around the gyratory system so that they approach the town centre again. The Walton Street car park entrance is signposted on the left. The pay and display car park accepts cash and card.

Dr Nick Broughton, Chief Executive of Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, pictured, said: “I am delighted that Oxford Health is playing such a critical part in the roll-out of the vaccination programme. This new large-scale vaccination centre means we can deliver inoculations at pace so that thousands more people can be protected from COVID-19.

“I would like to pay tribute to the project team, which was a true collaboration between Buckinghamshire Council and Oxford Health colleagues. They have worked exceptionally hard to ensure that the vaccination centre is ready to serve the public. Our work will build on the great accomplishments already achieved in the local system. Our NHS and local authority colleagues have worked tirelessly to protect priority patients as well as health and social care staff.”

Professor Nick Braisby, Vice-Chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University, said: “We’re incredibly proud to be hosting a mass vaccination site at our Aylesbury campus that serves our local communities and helps stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Our testing centre at the High Wycombe campus continues to play a vital role in keeping residents safe, while our healthcare staff and students are helping to save lives on the frontline. We are doing everything possible to help Buckinghamshire fight this pandemic and progress towards a normal way of living again.”

Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, said: “The opening of this large-scale vaccination site is fantastic news for residents, and we are grateful to Buckinghamshire New University, Oxford Health, our partners and so many volunteers for their invaluable support. The county’s vaccination capacity has increased enormously in recent weeks, with several options now available for residents. If you are in one of the top priority groups and are awaiting your vaccination, it won’t be long now.

“I would urge anyone who is invited to get a vaccine to please arrange an appointment as soon as possible. Vaccinations are our only way out of this pandemic and back to the more normal way of life we are all so eager to return to.”

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COVID vaccination centre opens in Burnham; Bucks now covered by GP-led sites

Burnham is the site of the latest, and final, GP-led COVID vaccination centre to open in Buckinghamshire, with vulnerable patients aged 80 and over to be invited to get their vaccine from this week.

This joins the sites already up and running in the county – in Chalfont St Peter, Princes Risborough, Winslow and Chesham, Stoke Mandeville, High Wycombe, High Wycombe town centre and Buckingham.

This is the last of the GP-led centres in Buckinghamshire to open, and means that registered patients at every GP practice in the county can now be invited to attend an appointment at one of these sites.

As well as people aged 80 and over, care home staff are also being prioritised in this first phase of the national vaccination rollout. This is in line with the national Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) prioritisation programme.

All patients who are eligible to have the vaccine at this stage will be contacted by the NHS first. Patients are being asked not to contact their GP practice to try to arrange an appointment.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Clinical Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is great to see this site in Burnham now open and able to offer vaccinations to the most vulnerable patients in the area. It is really exciting to have all our GP led vaccination sites now open in Buckinghamshire, and we are eager to invite our patients for their vaccines as quickly as possible.

“We continue to ask patients please not to contact their GP themselves but to instead wait for the NHS to contact them. We realise the growing cases of COVID are causing anxiety, but this vaccination programme is extremely complex. Our GP practice staff continue to work incredibly hard to ensure that our most vulnerable patients are protected as soon as possible. We thank you for your patience and support.

“Other age groups and vulnerable patients will be offered the vaccination over the coming weeks and months, in line with the national priorities of this phased rollout.  In the meantime, please follow all the safety guidance to protect yourself, your loved ones and your NHS services.”

Holders of concessionary bus passes in Buckinghamshire will be able to use them at any time when travelling for their COVID-19 vaccination. This includes prior to 9am on Mondays to Fridays.

Several national mass vaccination centres outside of the county have also been set up by the NHS. Some Buckinghamshire residents aged 80 and over, who live 30-45 minutes from these sites, may get a letter from the NHS about these. The letter explains how to book a slot at a national centre if they do not wish to use one of their local, GP-led sites.

If you get a letter but do not want to use a national vaccination centre, you will still be able to arrange an appointment at a local site when contacted by your GP.

Currently, the mass vaccination centres closest to Buckinghamshire are:

  • Salt Hill, Slough (South East)
  • Kassam Stadium (Oxford)
  • Epsom racecourse in Surrey (South East)
  • Excel Centre in London (London)
  • Wembley (London)
  • Robertson House in Stevenage (East of England)

If you have received a letter from the NHS you can book your vaccination at one of the Pharmacy Vaccination Sites using the National Booking System. More of these sites will be opening in Buckinghamshire soon.

  • Marlow
  • Wycombe
  • Aylesbury

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COVID vaccination information for Health and Social Care workers in Buckinghamshire

As per national guidance a Buckinghamshire Health & Social Care Staff Vaccination Allocation Bureau has been established to identify and prioritise Health and Social Care workers for the COVID vaccination.

The vaccination is being offered to:

Frontline health and social care workers at high risk of acquiring infection, at high individual risk of developing serious disease, or at risk of transmitting infection to multiple vulnerable persons or other staff in a healthcare environment as set out in JCVI advice on prioritisation document and the standard operating procedure for vaccinating health and social care staff released on the 14th January 2021.

Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation: advice on priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination, 30 December 2020

If you have not yet been contacted about the vaccination and you would like one please speak to your employer in the first instance, if you have one, as they should have been contacted to support coordination.

If you are an employer or practice independently and have not been contacted, please contact the  appropriate email address below and provide a lead name, contact telephone number, email address and the name of your organisation or job role:

Health care employees: bucksccg.healthstaffvaccines@nhs.net

Social care employees: COVIDvaccination@buckinghamshire.gov.uk

This information will be recorded on a central database and you will be contacted with booking instructions as capacity allows. Please note the health and social care cohort is extremely large so please be patient whilst awaiting information about your vaccine

Please Note : You may also be contacted by your GP and or another vaccination site and it is your choice as to which route you take to obtain your vaccine.

Data Security and Protection Arrangements: to evidence compliance with data security and protection standards and relevant legislation including the Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

  • A data controller is an organisation which owns data it collects and which it may supply to others for further processing. For this vaccination service, NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group is the data controller. Its Fair Processing Notice is published here.
  • The data it collects shall be processed by other organisations in order to provide the service, including Buckinghamshire Council and Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust as provider of local hospital sites.
  • The CCG is providing this service in accordance with operational guidance published by NHS England here. A supplementary privacy notice specifically associated with COVID-19 is published here. Details as regards processing of patient data associated with the vaccination programme is published here

 LEGAL BASIS

  • A statutory notice has been issued under the Control of Patient Information Regulations (COPI) 2002 which permits access to patient identifiable information and includes delivering services to patients, clinicians, the health services and adult social care services workforce and the public about and in connection with COVID-19. This sets aside a need to establish a legal basis under the common law duty of confidentiality, which is ordinarily the legal basis required to process identifiable data associated with individual health.
  • As regards GDPR, the legal basis is duly established as under Article 6(1) (e) processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller. The subsequent conditions under article 9 (processing special category data) that shall also apply when a vaccination is administered are (h) Health or social care (with a basis in law) and (i) Public health (with a basis in law).
  • A Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) with further details and record keeping arrangements is available here For further information please contact the CCG Data Protection Officer.

 

 

 

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COVID-19 vaccination rollout to care homes on target in Buckinghamshire

Residents and staff at care homes across Buckinghamshire are delighted to be receiving the first dose of their Covid-19 vaccine. Teams of medics have been dispatched to residential care and nursing homes across the county in recent weeks to vaccinate the people who fall into the top-most category to receive the potentially life-saving vaccine.

The Fremantle Trust operates 11 nursing and residential homes across Buckinghamshire, catering for around 700 residents and with over 1,000 employees. In the past few weeks residents have received their vaccines on site and staff have been able to get their vaccine at the hospital hub set up in Stoke Mandeville stadium and in the care homes where they work.

Sara Livadeas, Chief Executive of the Fremantle Trust said: “It’s been a very emotional weekend. Everyone across our organisation – residents, employees and families, are so excited to see this day. The long-awaited vaccine is finally here and we are able to start protecting everyone against this dreadful disease. We are thankful to the NHS and volunteers who have worked so speedily to make this happen. You don’t just need to take my word for how happy this makes us all feel, just take a look at the huge smiles on everyone’s faces.”

The government has pledged that all those in the top four priority categories will receive the first dose of their Covid-19 vaccine by 15 February. In Buckinghamshire, these four groups are all on schedule to have received their first dose within the targeted date.

Angela Macpherson, Buckinghamshire Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “We are pleased to see so many of our older and vulnerable residents and the people who care for them getting their vaccines. The NHS is working around the clock to ensure that these priority groups are given protection as soon as possible. Our care homes have faced many difficult challenges during this pandemic. There are still challenges ahead but this vaccine rollout gives hope and optimism for the future. We will continue to work with all our care providers over coming weeks to prioritise the protection of all our vulnerable residents and those who care for them.”

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is wonderful to see the vaccine now reaching so many care home residents and members of staff. There is still lots of work to be done and we must not be complacent, but this is a great cause for hope after the extremely difficult months care homes have faced.
“I would also like to praise the remarkable efforts of our GP practices and vaccination teams, who have been working tirelessly to get this vaccine out to our most vulnerable patients as quickly as possible.”

 

 

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New COVID-19 vaccination site for Buckingham

Buckingham is the site of the latest GP-led COVID vaccination centre to open in the county this week, where vulnerable patients aged 80 and over will be invited to get their vaccine.

This joins the sites already up and running in Buckinghamshire – in Chalfont St Peter, Princes Risborough, Winslow, Chesham, Stoke Mandeville, High Wycombe, and High Wycombe town centre.

Details of another GP-led site will be announced soon, as the vaccination rollout continues in Bucks.

As well as people aged 80 and over, care home staff are also being prioritised in this first phase of the national vaccination rollout. This is in line with the national Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) prioritisation programme.
All patients who are eligible to have the vaccine at this stage will be contacted by the NHS first. Patients are being asked not to contact their GP practice to try to arrange an appointment.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Clinical Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are really pleased to now be offering vaccines to our most vulnerable patients in the Buckingham area, as the vaccination programme continues to gather pace across the county.

“We continue to ask patients please not to contact their GP themselves but to instead wait for the NHS to contact them. We realise the growing cases of COVID are causing anxiety, but this vaccination programme is extremely complex. Our GP practice staff continue to work incredibly hard to ensure that our most vulnerable patients are protected as soon as possible. We thank you for your patience and support.

“Other age groups and vulnerable patients will be offered the vaccination over the coming weeks and months, in line with the national priorities of this phased rollout. In the meantime, please follow all the safety guidance to protect yourself, your loved ones and your NHS services.”

Holders of concessionary bus passes in Buckinghamshire will be able to use them at any time when travelling for their COVID-19 vaccination. This includes prior to 9am on Mondays to Fridays.

Several national Vaccination Centres outside of the county have also been set up by the NHS. Some Buckinghamshire residents aged 80 and over, who live 30-45 minutes from these sites, may get a letter from the NHS about these. The letter explains how to book a slot at a national site if they do not wish to use one of their local, GP-led sites.
If you get a letter but do not want to use a national vaccination site, you will still be able to arrange an appointment at a local site when contacted by your GP.

Currently, the Vaccination Centre sites closest to Buckinghamshire are:

• Salt Hill, Slough (South East)
• Epsom racecourse in Surrey (South East)
• Excel Centre in London (London)
• Robertson House in Stevenage (East of England)

 

 

 

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COVID vaccination sites open in Stoke Mandeville and High Wycombe as Buckinghamshire rollout continues

The COVID vaccination rollout continues in Buckinghamshire this week, with GP-led sites opening in Stoke Mandeville and High Wycombe to give vaccines to patients aged 80 and over.

These join the sites already up and running in the county – in Chalfont St Peter, Princes Risborough, Winslow and Chesham, along with another site in High Wycombe that went live last week.

Details of more GP-led sites will be announced soon, as the rollout continues in Bucks.
As well as people aged 80 and over, care home staff are also being prioritised in this first phase of the national vaccination rollout. This is in line with the national Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) prioritisation programme.

All patients who are eligible to have the vaccine at this stage will be contacted by the NHS first. Patients are being asked not to contact their GP practice to try to arrange an appointment.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Clinical Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is great to see these new sites in Aylesbury and High Wycombe joining the growing number of locations in Buckinghamshire to offer vaccinations to our most vulnerable residents. More vaccination sites will be up and running in the county soon.

“We continue to ask patients please not to contact their GP themselves to arrange vaccination appointments, but to instead wait for the NHS to contact them. We realise the growing cases of COVID are causing anxiety, but this vaccination programme is extremely complex. Our GP practice staff continue to work incredibly hard to ensure that our most vulnerable patients are protected as soon as possible. We thank you for your patience and support.

“Other age groups and vulnerable patients will be offered the vaccination over the coming weeks and months, in line with the national priorities of this phased rollout. In the meantime, please follow all the safety guidance to protect yourself, your loved ones and your NHS services.”

Holders of concessionary bus passes in Buckinghamshire will be able to use them at any time when travelling for their COVID-19 vaccination. This includes prior to 9am on Mondays to Fridays.

Several national Vaccination Centres outside of the county have also been set up by the NHS. Some Buckinghamshire residents aged 80 and over, who live 30-45 minutes from the nearest of these sites, may get a letter from the NHS about these. The letter explains how to book a slot at a national site if they do not wish to use one of their local, GP-led sites.
If you get a letter but do not want to use a national vaccination site, you will still be able to arrange an appointment at a local site when contacted by your GP.

Currently, the Vaccination Centre sites closest to Buckinghamshire are:

  • Epsom racecourse in Surrey (South East)
  • Excel Centre in London (London)
  • Robertson House in Stevenage (East of England)

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Statement on NHS letters sent to residents (aged 80+) about vaccination sites

Letters from the NHS begun arriving this weekend as the national vaccination programme “rapidly accelerates”.

These letters have been sent to people aged 80 or over who live 30 to 45 minutes’ drive from one of the seven new sites, including residents who live in Buckinghamshire.

The sites closest to Buckinghamshire are:

  • Epsom racecourse in Surrey (South East)
  • Excel Centre in London (London)
  • Robertson House in Stevenage (East of England)

The letter explains how they can book a slot – over the phone or online through the national booking service.

Whilst residents who have received the letter can choose to book through the national booking system if they do not want to use the local system, we want to absolutely reassure them that it is our intention that all patients over the age of 80 will be offered a vaccination appointment locally through their GP Practice by the end of January.

All local Buckinghamshire local sites will be operating by 25 January with two additional sites going live next week in Aylesbury and High Wycombe and further sites to follow later in the month. We are also finalising the plans for the two mass vaccination sites in the county.

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Buckinghamshire’s COVID vaccination rollout continues in High Wycombe and Chesham

More COVID-19 vaccination sites are up and running in Buckinghamshire this week, as GP-led centres in High Wycombe and Chesham begin vaccinating local patients aged 80 and over.

These follow the first vaccination sites that went live in the county over December, in Chalfont St Peter, Princes Risborough and Winslow.

As well as people aged 80 and over, care home staff are also being prioritised in this first phase of the national vaccination rollout. This is in line with the national Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) prioritisation programme.

All patients who are eligible to have the vaccine at this stage will be contacted by the NHS first. Patients are being asked not to contact their GP practice to try to arrange an appointment.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Clinical Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is hugely exciting to see the vaccination programme continue to roll out in Buckinghamshire and to give some of our most vulnerable patients the best start we can to 2021.

“But while the vaccinations are a great cause for optimism, we also all know that coronavirus continues to spread at a worrying rate and that difficult times still lie ahead. We would ask that people please continue to be patient. This vaccination programme is very complex, and our GP practice staff are working incredibly hard to ensure that our most vulnerable patients are protected as soon as possible. Please do not contact your GP surgery yourself, but instead wait for the NHS to contact you.

“Other age groups and vulnerable patients will be offered the vaccination over the coming weeks and months, in line with the national priorities of this phased rollout. In the meantime, please follow all the safety guidance to protect yourself, your loved ones and your NHS services.”

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COVID-19 Vaccination Programme

The NHS has begun to deliver a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination programme beginning with people identified in the priority cohorts by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

These vaccines are safe and effective for the vast majority of people – they have been tested on thousands of people and assessed by experts.

Primary care, hospital and community teams are working with our county and borough councils and a wide range of other community partners and are doing an incredible job to deliver what is the largest vaccination programme in NHS history.

The public have an important part to play to help us do this:

  • please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you;
  • when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments;
  • and please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.

Please click here and scroll down to view a set of Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.

And here is an easy read guide to the vaccine, produced by Mencap.

You can also click here to view a series of videos in different South Asian languages which address some of the concerns raised by people from ethnic minorities about the COVID-19 vaccine.

These videos, created by the UK Vaccine Taskforce and hosted on the BBC News web pages, are in GujaratiPunjabiSylhetiTamil and Urdu – as well as English.

 

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Live Life Well – free online healthy lifestyle workshops to get 2021 off to the right start

Live Life Well

The New Year is nearly here – and that means many of us will be thinking about making some lifestyle changes to improve our physical and mental health in 2021.

And now that Buckinghamshire is currently in Tier 4 restrictions, it is more important than ever that we take care of ourselves.

To help people make better lifestyle choices and make them stick, a series of free online sessions – Live Life Well – have been developed by NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group in partnership with Bucks Adult Learning.

Running in January, they are packed with healthy lifestyle information and tips – and you can secure a place on them now.

Each session will give useful advice on keeping well – through a sensible diet, physical activity, and by recognising stress and anxiety.  They also let you set personal goals to help you achieve these changes.

Dr Stuart Logan, Clinical Director for Long Term Conditions, Prevention & Supported Self-Care at NHS Buckinghamshire CCG, said: “Many of us want to make better lifestyle choices as part of our New Year’s resolutions, but sticking to them is easier said than done. These online sessions are designed to help people make better choices by giving them the right information.

“It has been a really hard year for all of us, and, although the COVID vaccine is being rolled out, we still have difficult weeks and months ahead. Making the right choices for our physical and mental health can make a huge difference, and we hope as many people as possible sign up for these online sessions to give them a better start to 2021.”

The sessions are listed below. They run during the day and the evening, and you can attend one or all three.

To enrol, click on the link below or call 01296 383582, stating which course code you would like to attend. More details are available on this flyer.

  • Recognising Stress & Anxiety
  1. Tuesday 12 January 14:00 – 15:00 (Course code: U2PH05AHO) or
    Thursday 14 January 18:30 – 19:30 (Course code: U4PH04AHO)
  • Reflect and describe the connection between stress and the body’s response to it
  • Give in your own words what triggers stress and find ways to manage it
  • Experience a relaxation session

 

  • Eating for Health

Tuesday 19 January 14:00 – 15:00 (Course code: U2PH06AHO) or
Thursday 21 January 18:30 – 19:30 (Course code: U4PH07AHO)

  • Recognise what constitutes a good diet
  • Summarise the important food groups and sources
  • Give examples of what makes a healthy diet

 

  • The Importance of Physical Activity for your Health & Wellbeing

Tuesday 26 January 14:00 – 15:00 (Course code: U2PH08AHO) or
Thursday 28 January 18:30 – 19:30 (Course code: U4PH09AHO)

  • Specify the benefits of being physically active
  • Recognise the detrimental effect on health by being physically inactive
  • Identify what is meant by ‘physical activity’

 

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Buckinghamshire’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout continues in Princes Risborough and Winslow

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination continues across Buckinghamshire this week (w/c 21 December), as GP-led Primary Care Networks in Princes Risborough and Winslow begin vaccinating local patients aged 80 and over.

These follow the first COVID vaccination site in the county on Monday, 14 December, at Chalfont St Peter, with more to come over the next few weeks and months.

As well as people aged 80 and over, care home staff are also being prioritised in this first phase of the national vaccination rollout. This is in line with the national Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) prioritisation programme.

All patients who are eligible to have the vaccine at this stage will be contacted by the NHS first. Patients are being asked not to contact their GP practice to try to arrange an appointment.

The new vaccination sites in the Princes Risborough and Winslow areas hope to be operating from Monday, 21 December, but this date may be subject to change.

More GP-led Primary Care Networks in Buckinghamshire  will be joining the vaccination programme in phases, and details of these will be provided when they are available.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is hugely encouraging to see this first phase of the COVID vaccination rollout continue across Buckinghamshire as we reach the end of this very difficult year. We would ask that people please be patient, however. The vaccination programme is very complex and our GP practice staff are working incredibly hard to ensure that our most vulnerable patients are protected as soon as possible. Please do not contact your GP surgery yourself, but instead wait for the NHS to contact you.

“Other age groups and vulnerable patients will be offered the vaccination over the coming weeks and months, in line with the national priorities of this phased rollout. In the meantime, please follow the safety guidance to protect yourself and your loved ones, and please do take care over the Christmas period.”

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First patient in Bucks receives COVID-19 vaccine

 

Patient Brian Horne receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Helen Ellis.

Ninety-year-old Brian Horne will have some story to share with his friends at the luncheon club he volunteers at every month. The nonagenarian from Chalfont St Peter became the first patient in Buckinghamshire to receive the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, on Monday 14 December.

Brian, a patient at the Hall Practice in Chalfont St Peter, was vaccinated as part of the national GP rollout of the vaccine which started that week.

Speaking afterwards, Brian, who has three children and six grandchildren said: “It is exciting, I feel most honoured. I got a phone call from the surgery on Friday, they asked me to come along today and here I am.”

One of the things Brian is looking forward to the most, other than being able to see his family, is going back to the ‘Friendship Lunch Club’ that he has been involved with for the past 10 years. The club, run by St James’ Church, provides a social way for the elderly who live on their own locally to meet up and enjoy each other’s company. Over the years Brian has been involved, it has grown and grown with more than 100 people attending lunches across the month. “I’ve been redundant since March”, Brian jokes, as the club had to stop running. “I’ve missed it, as you get older, you need to keep occupied so I am looking forward to going back.”

Having had his first jab Brian is delighted to be on his way to being protected from the virus and will be urging his friends to follow suit when they get the call to have their vaccine.

Nurse Helen Ellis, lead practice nurse of 23 years at the Misbourne Practice and part of the COVID-19 mobilisation team at the Chalfont Primary Care Network (PCN), gave Brian the potentially life-saving vaccine. She said: “It’s exciting to be part of this, we are making history. I’m really proud of the role we are playing in both in the network and in primary care as a whole. We are the end of a long line of people who have made this happen. I will remember this day for a long time. We are finally helping people to get their lives back after this devastating year.”

The phased national vaccination programme will see patients aged 80 and over amongst the first to receive the jab. The PCN has been given vaccines for the first wave of the programme, all of which will be given out to local patients over the coming days and weeks.

Dr Nicky Turner, Clinical Director of the Chalfont PCN and GP of 23 years at the Hall Practice, said: “This is a historic day for Buckinghamshire and for the whole country. We are delighted to be one of the first practices to be able to start vaccinating our patients against this deadly virus. We are really proud at the way the whole team has mobilised so quickly. It has been a huge team effort over just a few short days with everyone pulling together to make this happen.”

Patients will be invited to come for their vaccine on a person by person basis as part of the JCVI ( Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation) prioritisation programme with contact made directly from their GP surgery. Patients are asked not to make contact with their surgery but to wait for the surgery to contact them. In the meantime everyone should continue to follow Government guidelines to control the virus and save lives.

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Help available for young people experiencing mental health difficulties this winter

If you are aged 18 or below and are experiencing any difficulties with your mental health or emotional wellbeing this winter – or if you know any children or young people who are –a range of help and support is available online which could make a difference.

The Buckinghamshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) web page offers advice, information and useful tips aimed at young people aged 18 and under.

Whether it is moderate anxiety, depression, eating disorders or any number of other concerns, the web page has lots of guidance available.  There are also links to other support organisations and details of useful books and online apps that may be helpful. You can also contact the CAMHS team to arrange an appointment if needed.

To access the Buckinghamshire CAMHS webpages, which are run by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, simply go to www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/camhs/bucks.

A 24/7 Mental Health Helpline is also available to support children and young people, as well as their parents, carers and adults, via NHS 111 (or online at 111.nhs.uk). The helpline is staffed by Oxford Health mental health professionals.

Dr Juliet Sutton, GP and Clinical Director for Children’s Services and NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This year has been incredibly difficult for us all because of the pandemic and children and young people have been hard hit. They have experienced school closures, missed out on social contact with friends, and many will have been unable to see grandparents or other vulnerable family members in the usual way. Lots of young people have also lost loved ones, whether due to COVID or other causes, in this confusing and worrying time.”

Dr Sian Roberts, GP and Clinical Director for Mental Health and Learning at NHS Buckinghamshire CCG, added: “All of these things impact on our mental health and emotional wellbeing. But help and support is out there, and it can really make a difference. If you are a young person experiencing difficulties this winter, or if you have any children or young people in your life who you are concerned about, please do visit the CAMHS webpage – it is a great first port of call for advice and support. And if you need more immediate help, there is also the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline available via NHS 111.”

Eleanor Rowsell, Head of Psychological Services at Buckinghamshire’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, said: “Young and old, we’ve all felt the challenges of 2020. Buckinghamshire CAMHS is here to support children and young people, their family and carers.

“Our website offers a wealth of information and simple steps families and young people can take to support their mental health.

“We know it can be hard to reach out for help and so also offer 11 to 19 year olds access to Kooth (www.kooth.com) who provide free online mental health support 365 days a year.  This includes chats (counselling) with a professional counsellor, reading self-help articles, and joining peer-to-peer forums.

“People can get in touch with our services directly through the website or, for urgent advice, they can speak to our mental health professionals at Buckinghamshire 24/7 Mental Health Helpline via NHS 111.”