COVID-19 update - 15 April 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
Today I thought it would be helpful to share important information on personal protective equipment (PPE) as our efforts continue across the region to support each other and source more supplies.

We are continuing to try to support colleagues across health and care with supplies of PPE through the central hub at Riverside in Newburn, when it becomes available.

As part of our mutual aid arrangements we are asking any organisations that have extra stocks of gloves, aprons, coveralls and surgical masks to get in touch with the central hub. This is so we can offer support with emergency limited quantities to providers who have less than 36 hours of supply left. Please make contact using the following email address:

As you may be aware local resilience forums (LRFs) are receiving emergency single PPE drops from the national supply chain. We are working closely together to support each other and ensure a co-ordinated approach across the region where we can.

Today we are writing to pharmacists, dentists and opticians to confirm the process for ordering PPE which is not through LRFs. This includes additional local support for practitioners who have exhausted all other routes such as normal suppliers and mutual aid. Pharmacists, dentists and opticians can now email detailing the type of PPE they require, and the small quantity needed (72 hours supply only). All queries will be responded to Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am-5pm.

Just a reminder the central hub at Riverside Newburn not does not store PPE from the national supply chain but is there to provide central co-ordinating point for donations and supplies we obtain from businesses. The hub then distributes these across the patch to meet immediate needs.

As always thanks to everyone who is working round-the-clock to do their very best for our patients and communities.

Best wishes, Alan

Alan Foster, executive lead for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System
Other news and guidance

Campaign resources
Materials for NHS healthcare settings were recently updated by Public Health England to include:
  • Updated ‘Do not enter’ posters for healthcare settings including GP and pharmacies (for those with symptoms of coronavirus)
  • New Safe distance posters for use in Hospitals and other NHS settings to remind patients to keep a safe distance of 2 metres
  • New GP access poster for practices – promoting online and phone consultations for non-COVID-19 related issues
  • New Pharmacy opening times poster – for use when pharmacy may be closed to the public during normal opening hours
All downloadable here.

Health at Home
A toolkit and assets supporting the new Health at Home campaign have recently been added to Public Health England’s campaign resource centre and can be downloaded here:

The Health at Home campaign signposts the public to useful information about how to contact their GP, order repeat prescriptions, manage their wellbeing and existing conditions – without leaving their home.

‘Looking out for each other’ campaign
This PHE campaign is to inform those who are well and not at risk, on the things that they can do to help support their friends and neighbours who need to stay at home because of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Video Consultations in Secondary Care
A letter was shared with Royal Colleges yesterday outlining NHS England and NHS Improvement’s work to rapidly scale up video consultations in secondary care in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To accelerate uptake in all secondary care settings, including mental health, community and ambulance services NHS England and Improvent has procured a national licence to a secure web-based video consultation platform, Attend Anywhere, funded for all NHS trusts and foundation trusts for 12 months.

For more information contact:

Additional publications

Acute use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in people with or at risk of COVID-19

Video consultations for secondary care

Preparedness letter for community pharmacy: 14 April 2020

Preparedness letter for general practice: 14 April

Reference guide for emergency medicine: 14 April 2020