Our Partnership is made up of organisations working closely together to plan services and address the challenges facing health and care services across the area.
In this section you will find links to useful information and publications about our partnership.
We are committed to meaningful conversations with people, on the right issues at the right time. We believe this is an important part of the way we work.
Engagement gives people an opportunity to have their say on services. By gathering people's views, it helps us understand what matters to people.
In this section you will find all Freedom of Information (FOI) requests made to our Partnership. You can also ask a question of your own.
The government has some specific guidance for carers of friends or family during the coronavirus outbreak. If you are caring for someone who is deemed to be extremely vulnerable, take extra precautionary measures by only providing essential care and make sure you follow the NHS hygiene advice for people at higher risk. The government's guidance also provides practical information on matters such as finding alternative care quickly if you're unable to continue caring, and on what to do if you, or the person you care for, has coronavirus symptoms.
The rules for testing are changing all the time but you can get the most recent advice here.
If you’re in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and have any of the symptoms of coronavirus, you can ask for a test through the NHS website to check if you have the virus. This is called an antigen test.
If you’re an essential worker in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland, you can apply for priority testing through GOV.UK by following the guidance on testing for essential workers. You can also get tested through this route if you have symptoms of coronavirus and live with an essential worker. There is another type of test (antibody test) that checks if you've already had the virus. This test is not available yet.
The NHS has written to everyone considered to be at risk of severe illness if you catch the coronavirus. You may have received the letter yourself, either as someone in this ‘high risk’ group or as the named carer of someone else who is.
If a person you care for has received this letter, the instructions are very clear. They must stay at home at all times and avoid all face-to-face contact for at least 12 weeks, except from you as their carer and healthcare workers continuing to provide essential medical care.
However, if you start to display any of the symptoms of coronavirus, you must suspend your face-to-face visits. There's more information here about how you can continue to support in other ways. If this means that the person you care for will be even more vulnerable, for example because they will no longer receive the essential supplies that you bring them, the government has set up a dedicated helpline for vulnerable people seeking additional care.
If you have received an NHS letter, or are caring for someone who has, you can register for further support here or call the government’s new dedicated helpline on: 0800 028 8327
If you are in need of extra assistance, you'll be advised to contact your local authority for support (contact details will be included in your letter). Any health or social care services you're already receiving, through your local authority, will continue and your health or social care provider will be asked to take additional precautions to make sure you are protected.
For those at high risk without family or community support, a national helpline has also been set up on: 0800 111 4000.
Even if you are not showing symptoms, the government says it is vital everyone stays at home (except for key workers), avoiding non-essential contact with others and all unnecessary travel, to save lives. See the government’s full guidance for people at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus.
Don’t go out to buy food if you can avoid it.
If you need food supplies, you could ask a friend or family member to shop for you and drop the shopping off. Or try online shopping. When you place your order, there will be a place for delivery instructions, where you can write if you need the food dropped off on the doorstep. The government has produced this advice on accessing food and essential supplies.
Priority shopping for vulnerable people and keyworkers
Some supermarkets are giving older and vulnerable customers priority for online deliveries. Some are also providing separate opening times for older shoppers – check online for details of your local store.
Help from the community
Community groups have also been set up across the UK to help with things like getting food in for people who are self-isolating, older people or those with long-term conditions. See the list of groups on Covid Mutual Aid.
You could also check your local newspaper, or local newspaper’s website, for information on where to get community support or your local Nextdoor site - a virtual group designed for community support and advice.
Sleep is a vital part of our daily life and keeps us healthy, both physically and mentally. As a carer you may be having broken or not enough sleep. Occasionally, having a disturbed night will affect you the following day, but if you are having trouble sleeping for longer than a night or two, then everything will seem harder. You may find that you are constantly tired, go to sleep during the day, have trouble concentrating and making decisions, feel overwhelmed and start feeling depressed.
Carers can often find it difficult to have a good night’s sleep especially if the person you care for needs help or disturbs you in the night. Caring for someone brings extra pressures, such as money worries, emotional worry, isolation, along with not having to look after yourself. All of these can contribute to stress, which can make it hard to get to sleep, and keep you awake at night. These tips for getting better sleep may offer some guidance and support to help you. If your sleep continues to be a problem, speak to your GP.
Most of us will suffer back pain at some stage of our lives. But as a carer you're even more likely to be affected. Lifting the person you care for and helping them dress or moving around can all place a strain on your back. However, knowing how to protect your back can help to keep it in good shape.
If you are regularly lifting the person you care for, or helping them in and out of bed, you may find that this can put extra strain on your back. Your local council, or local carers' organisation, should be able to tell you about training, but this tends to be something you need to attend.
During self-isolation, you may have to look at training in different ways. If you have visits from other carers, such as a district nurse, they may be able to show you ways to lift and move more safely. Alternatively, speak to your GP or practice manager as they may also be able to help. This online video gives some useful tips.
If you have not had one, ask your local council for a carer’s assessment. This will look at your needs as a carer, and is a chance for you to talk about the kind of help you need, including any equipment or home adaptations.
You can ask your GP to refer you for an occupational therapy assessment.
Improve your posture
Poor posture can put you at increased risk of back problems by putting extra strain on your back. This can affect your muscles, ligaments, tendons and vertebrae, and in the long term, can cause painful problems such as muscle, joint and disc damage, and constricted vessels and nerves. Be aware of how you are sitting and standing can greatly improve your posture. You should stand upright with your head facing forward and your back straight. And when sitting, make sure you are upright, with your knees and hips level and your feet flat on the floor or on a footstool. Don't hunch your shoulders or slump in your chair. When sitting down for long periods of time, be sure to keep your back well supported using the back of your chair. These are five easy exercises for you to do to correct bad posture.
We recognise that normal sporting activities are very difficult right now, however, simple changes to your daily activities can really make a difference - walking instead of using the car for short journeys, cycling to the shops, taking the stairs instead of the lift or getting off the bus a stop earlier than you usually do (if you do have to rely on public transport). If you can’t get out, think about exercise at home.
If you already have back problems it doesn't need to stop you from being active altogether. Exercises which focus on flexibility, such as yoga, Pilates or tai-chi might be beneficial. These tips may also help reduce your discomfort:
There are two types of back pain: acute back pain, which comes on suddenly and lasts less than three months; and chronic back pain, which develops slowly, lasts more than 12 weeks, and causes long-term problems.
Acute back pain can often be treated with over-the-counter drugs such as paracetamol or an anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen but always follow guidance as some people are unable to take these if they are taking particular other types of medication, or if they have particular health conditions. If in doubt please consult your GP. If these do not help with the discomfort, your GP might prescribe a stronger painkiller to take alongside them, such as codeine. For severe pain, your GP might prescribe a muscle relaxant.
In some cases, a compression pack may help. Some people find it helps to alternate between hot and cold. Use a hot water bottle or a pack of frozen peas wrapped in a towel. Hold the compression pack against the painful part of your back.
Chronic pack pain is often treated initially with pain killers and exercise. You should speak to your GP regarding a suitable exercise plan, you may also be referred to a physiotherapist.
Exercise is so important right now. It may be your only opportunity to leave the house, or take time for yourself. It’s good for your physical and mental health, it will help boost your immune system and your mood and help you to avoid putting on weight while you're at home. The latest government guidance is that during lock-down people can go out of the house to exercise as often as they want. Try to stay at least two metres (six feet) away from people. Remember exercise comes in many forms and you don’t have to go for a run to benefit from exercising.
Exercise at home
If you’re at home all day, it can be easy to lose any sense of daily routine. So put exercise times in your diary to give some structure to your day. Why not try some morning exercises indoors, and a lunchtime walk? Alternatively, try this video playlist of exercises you can do from the comfort of your living room: equipment-free indoor exercise routine or five other easy chair-based exercises. There are also more challenging home exercise workouts available depending on your level of fitness.
The stress of lockdown means that domestic violence is on the rise. If this is happening to you, it's important to know that you are not alone. Even if you are unable to leave your home at the moment, you can still access support through these helplines. If you are in immediate danger please call 999 and ask for the police. Silent calls will work if you are not safe to speak, use the Silent Solution system and call 999 and then press 55 when prompted. You can also register with the police text service - text REGISTER to 999. You will get a text which tells you what to do next. Do this when it is safe so you can text when you are in danger.
Experiencing the death of someone close to you is always devastating but it is particularly difficult at this time due to social distancing restrictions. The government has published this step by step guide which explains how to register the death, notify government departments and manage financial issues.
Most people experience grief when they lose someone important to them. If you're not sure how you feel, try this mood self-assessment survey. Bereavement, grief and loss can cause many different symptoms and affect people in different ways. There's no right or wrong way to feel, but there are things you can try that may help: