COVID-19 update - 30 March 2020

This bulletin provides important information for people working in health and care across the North East and North Cumbria regarding guidance and actions being co-ordinated across our region to care for patients, staff and our communities in the light of COVID-19. This is a fast-moving and evolving situation. We will do our best to keep you updated daily with the latest information and key decisions from the Strategic Health Command Group. This group is led by Alan Foster, executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System. If you have any questions or would like us to send vital information to partners through this bulletin, please contact us here.
Message from Alan Foster
Alan Foster
Over the weekend it was announced that the NHS will ramp-up its programme of COVID-19 testing for staff, starting with priority areas such as critical care, emergency departments and ambulance services. We are all working hard to increase the number of tests that can take place across the region and will keep you updated on how this has progressed over the next few days. Again, can I say thank you to all our teams who will be taking forward this important piece of work and to staff working in laboratories across the patch.

It’s very sad to hear that North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) has reported four separate incidents where vital PPE has been stolen from vehicles when they have been busy treating patients. This has now been reported to the police and is being investigated. NEAS has been raising awareness of this in the media and can find the full press release about this here.

The response from the public to join up to the volunteer army and the number of people signing up to return to practice has been phenomenal. Last week we reported that around 1,000 former colleagues within our region have signed up to come back and some of these have already been cleared to start – which is great news. We’ve included some useful information from NHS Employers below regarding the routes back into practice.

Thanks to everyone for their continued support. As ever things are moving at pace but we will do our best to keep you updated throughout the week.

Best wishes, Alan

Alan Foster, executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System
Guidance and other news

NHS England/Improvement statement on Coronavirus (Covid-19) - 30 March 2020
A further 159 people, who tested positive for the Coronavirus (Covid-19) have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in England to 1,284. Patients were aged between 32 and 98 years old and all but 4 patients (aged between 56 and 87 years old) had underlying health conditions. Their families have been informed. More information can be found here and below are cases at trusts within our area.

For further information please contact the NHS England media team on or 01138 250958/9

Guidance on mental health and wellbeing: Advice and information on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak can be found here. There is further advice for parents and carers on looking after the mental health and wellbeing of children or young people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak available here.

Social media activity: After the overwhelming reaction to the #ClapForOurCarers campaign, the focus on thanking our NHS staff can be continued by using the tags #OurNHSPeople and #ThankYouNHS.

The Local Government Association is hosting useful coronavirus information on their website to aid local authorities. The site includes links to government as well as bespoke local authority material.

Blood and transplant update: NHS Blood Transfusion (NHSBT) have issued a statement saying that their blood stock levels for all components remain in good position. To view red cell and platelet stocks, visit the NHSBT dedicated coronavirus-covid-19 page. The stock position is updated daily, Monday – Friday.
  • NHSBT are concentrating their efforts to ensure short shelf life components, platelets and components for intrauterine, neonatal, pediatric and infant use, are available for issue when needed.
  • NHSBT has written to 900,000 donors asking for their continued support with the message: “You can still travel to donate. Giving blood and platelets is essential to the NHS and vulnerable patients. Please keep donating.” The website has all the information blood donors need to be reassured it is safe to donate and to keep their appointment.
Seven step summary for supporting the NHS – returning to work and volunteering
  1. If individuals are seeking to offer their time, for free, to the NHS then they should go through the goodsam app
  2. If a clinician, who has left their register in the last three years (currently) wishes to return to clinical practice or to support the telephone 111 service they should go through their regulator and Bringing Staff Back workstream led by Andrew Foster executive lead for leadership and interim managing director at NHS Employers
  3. If you are a clinician who left the register more than three years ago you can still go through the Bringing Back Staff workstream (same hyperlink as above) and specify that you have been out of practice for more than three years. We can find roles for you supporting registered clinical staff.
  4. If you are a clinician currently on the register, but not employed by the NHS, you should go to NHS Professionals
  5. If you represent a public body wishing to make your clinical staff available to the NHS then you should contact Andrew Foster
  6. If you are a private organisation with an offer of assistance or support for the NHS you should contact Ed Jones
  7. In addition to the above, if you have previously worked in the NHS it is good to make yourself available by contacting local NHS employers on
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