Mobile COVID-19 test site visits Harlow next week

Harlow Football Club will host a mobile testing site for COVID-19 next week.

The site will be open for pre-booked appointments on Tuesday 12 May, Wednesday 13 May and Thursday 14 May between 10.30am to 4pm each day.

The site is being supported by colleagues from the military and is accessible to those who meet the COVID-19 testing criteria and strictly by appointment only – booked through the national gov.uk website.

Anyone wanting to be tested must:

  • Meet the eligibility criteria – see the gov.uk website
  • Pre-book an appointment – via the gov.uk website
  • Travel to the centre by car – i.e. not on foot or by public transport

The sites are open to symptomatic people who are:

  • Key workers/their household members who have symptoms
  • People aged 65 and over/their household members who have symptoms
  • Those that are currently having to travel to work who fall outside of the key worker group, and their household members who have symptoms

Testing should be carried out in the first three days of developing symptoms and not after day five.

Mobile testing will also be carried out at:

  • Clacton Leisure Centre         Monday  11 May and Tuesday 12 May
  • Rayleigh Leisure Centre        Wednesday 13 May, Thursday 14 May and Friday 15 May

It’s hoped more mobile testing sites will appear across Essex in the near future.

Tests are also being offered at the national site at Stansted and by way of home delivery kits – which again should be booked through the gov.uk website.

Further updates will be shared when information becomes available.

Further information about eligibility and to book a test visit www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test 

Seeking medical advice during the coronavirus pandemic

Seeking medical advice during the coronavirus pandemic

West Essex CCG is urging residents to contact their GP if they need medical advice.

While everyone is being asked to stay at home and social distance to reduce the spread of coronavirus, it is important people continue to seek medical assistance if they are concerned about specific symptoms relating to cancer, heart attack and stroke. It is also vital parents continue to take their children for routine vaccinations and pregnant women keep their antenatal appointments with their midwife.

Support continues to be available for adults and children experiencing mental health issues and for parents and carers of those with learning disabilities and autism.

For urgent or emergency care, people are being urged to visit NHS 111 online, call 111 or dial 999 in an emergency.

Rob Gerlis, Chair of West Essex CCG, said: “It is vital that people who are ill or are worried about certain symptoms seek help. They can visit 111 online, call 111 or dial 999 in emergency.

“People may be directed to their GP who will arrange to speak to them and if need be, or organise a face-to-face appointment.

“We are here to make sure patients receive the care and treatment they need, when they need it and the last thing we would want is our patients to be diagnosed with a serious illness because they were worried about seeing their GP at this time. Patients can be reassured that GPs can assess them on the phone or via video but if necessary, have measures in place to see them safely.

“This message is also important for pregnant women and parents with young children who may be coming up to the time for their routine vaccinations. These vaccinations protect against some serious and deadly illnesses so we would encourage parents to keep those appointments.”

For more information visit www.nhs.uk

Local health services this May Bank Holiday

Local health services this May Bank Holiday

With VE Day and the first May Bank Holiday fast approaching on Friday 8 May, local doctors have issued advice to help you to stay well and make sure you have enough medicines to see you through. You are able to contact your GP via telephone, however please do not attend your surgery in person unless your GP asks you to attend.

Your GP will be able to speak to you on the telephone or via video consultations to help patients stay safe. Your GP will advise you if they think there is a medical need for you to be seen face-to-face.

NHS 111 online                                                                                               

If you have access to the internet then NHS 111 online is available 24 hours a day to support you.

If you think you have symptoms of Coronavirus do not visit the GP, pharmacy or hospital, please visit www.111.nhs.uk/covid-19 The NHS 111 phone service is currently experiencing huge volumes of calls. This will allow the NHS 111 service to help those who need them most.

If your Coronavirus symptoms worsen or you are unable to manage them at home, or you do not have access to the internet, please call NHS 111.

For the latest information and advice about Coronavirus visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/


Local pharmacies will be open on the Bank Holiday, although opening times may vary. 

All pharmacies will be open as a minimum from 2pm until 5pm on Bank Holiday Monday with some pharmacies extending these hours. Please check this link for individual pharmacy opening times:www.england.nhs.uk/east-of-england/nhs-england-and-nhs-improvement-east-of-englands-work/pharmacy-information/


Stay at home advice

The Government guidance is currently to stay at home and only leave the house for urgent medical needs, to go shopping, to exercise once a day or to pick up medication.

Keep up to date with the latest Coronavirus information on www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Dr. Rob Gerlis, Chair of West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said:  

As everyone knows, the NHS is working tirelessly to keep people safe and well during the Coronavirus pandemic and will continue to do so over the May Bank Holiday “Residents can support us by following Government advice to stay and home and only leave the house to go shopping, for an urgent medical need or for exercise once a day.

“If anyone has an urgent medical need please follow the advice to visit www.111.nhs.uk, where there is also information on symptoms for Coronavirus and the guidance to follow.

“We hope everyone has a safe Bank Holiday.”

NHS warning to seek help for cancer symptoms, as half of the public report concerns with getting checked

NHS warning to seek help for cancer symptoms, as half of the public report concerns with getting checked

England’s top cancer doctor has urged people not to hesitate to get checked as new research revealed that nearly half of the public have concerns about seeking help during the coronavirus pandemic.

One in 10 people would not contact their GP even if they had a lump or a new mole which did not go away after a week, the survey found.

Another third of people would worry about seeking help, according to polling carried out by Portland.

Getting coronavirus or giving it to their family were among the top reasons that people would not come forward when they have cancer symptoms along with fears that they could be a burden to the health service.

Professor Peter Johnson, the NHS clinical director for cancer, stressed that NHS staff had worked hard to make sure people can get cancer checks and treatment safely so there is no need to delay.

Waiting to get help could have serious consequences for patients and put a greater burden on the NHS, Prof Johnson said.

Online consultations mean people do not necessarily need to go to GP surgeries for check-ups while COVID-free cancer hubs have been set up to provide surgery along with independent sector hospitals who have signed an unprecedented deal with the NHS. 

Virus protected hubs are up and running in 19 areas of the country to date so people can have their operation safely with thousands of patients already having treatment through a hub.

Professor Peter Johnson, NHS national clinical director for cancer, said: “NHS staff have made huge efforts to deal with coronavirus but they are also working hard to ensure that patients can safely access essential services such as cancer checks and urgent surgery.

“From online consultations to the roll-out of cancer treatment hubs we are doing all we can to make sure patients receive the life-saving care that they need.

“The wishes of patients and their families will always come first, and we have to make sure that people feel safe coming to hospitals, but my message is clear: people should seek help as they always would.

“We know that finding cancer early gives us the best chance to cure it, and ignoring potential problems can have serious consequences now or in the future.”

Prof Johnson’s call follows sharp drop in cancer referrals as patients are not contacting their GP for health advice.

A major public information campaign launched last week to encourage people to contact their GP or 111 if they have urgent care needs and to attend hospital if they are told they should.

Cancers are detected earlier and lives are saved if more people referred for investigation for checks.

Lynda Thomas, Chief Executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Macmillan wholeheartedly welcomes this NHS campaign encouraging people to contact their GP if they are experiencing the signs of cancer. We know that people are worried about the risk of infection from coronavirus and the pressure the NHS is already under.

“We urge you not to put it off, and don’t think you’re not a priority during coronavirus. Safeguard your own health and get any concerns checked out. Not diagnosing and treating many cancers fast makes treatment harder and can reduce the chance of survival.”

Natalie Haskell, CEO of Breast Cancer Charity CoppaFeel! said: "We know despite coronavirus, breast cancer remains the most common cancer in the UK and many people will be worrying about changes to their breasts during this period. At CoppaFeel! we are dedicated to educating people about the importance of checking themselves and presenting early to the GP if they notice any unusual, persistent change. Breast cancer is very treatable if found early and we urge people to listen to the NHS and continue to seek out their GP as normal if they are concerned about symptoms."

Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “It’s understandable that people might be worried about leaving their home during the pandemic or think the NHS is too busy, but you should still contact your doctor if you’re worried about signs and symptoms or notice a change that isn't normal for you. If you’re reluctant to visit your GP in person, you can contact them for a virtual appointment. In most cases it won’t be cancer, but let your doctor decide as then your case will be tracked and if you do receive a cancer diagnosis, then you will receive treatment as soon as it’s safe to go ahead.

“The earlier a cancer is diagnosed, the more likely it is treatment will be successful and the higher the chance of survival. So even in these stressful times it’s vital people don’t delay seeking help with cancer symptoms.”

Jane Lyons, CEO of Cancer52 said: “It’s so important that people who think they might have a cancer symptom get in touch with their GP.  Putting off getting in touch won’t be helpful in the long run so please do take that first step. It is important to remember that most of the time symptoms that could be cancer don’t turn out to be cancer, and if they are, the sooner you get some help the better.”

Gemma Peters, Chief Executive of Blood Cancer UK, said: “The earlier blood cancer is diagnosed the better. If you’re worried about symptoms which could be blood cancer, such as unexplained weight loss, bruising or bleeding, then get in touch with your GP. The NHS wants to help you. Let them.”

Richard Davidson, Chief Executive of national bone and soft tissue cancer charity Sarcoma UK, says: “Cancers of any kind don’t stop simply because we’re in the midst of a pandemic, and for those less common cancers where symptoms might be vague, or where they can develop in any part of the body like sarcoma, it makes it even more essential to have any suspicious symptoms looked at as soon as possible.

“We need to make sure people still contact their GP if they are worried about cancer, and campaigns like this play a crucial role in making that happen.”


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