Today sees the relaxing of many of the ‘lockdown’ rules which have dominated so many aspects of our lives for more than 50 days.
From today, two people from different households can meet outside, as long as they maintain social distancing of two metres. You can also go outside more often for leisure activities, but again there are caveats.
There has been a lot of talk in the media about these changes since they were announced by the Prime Minister on Sunday, but there is one overriding message from the Government’s announcement which needs repeating: you should stay at home as much as possible.
While we may be beyond the first wave of the virus here in the UK, a second wave remains very possible. People looking to exploit any perceived loopholes in the new advice will only be putting themselves and others in harm’s way, so I would urge everybody to please continue to stay at home except when you need to leave. If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home – this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.
I want to reiterate that medical help is still available and if you need it, please seek it out to avoid the risk of building up more serious problems further down the line. GP practices are still operating, and people can make appointments, either online or by calling their practice. Telephone or video consultations are available, so that people can seek advice without physically having to go into their practice.
Our Emergency Departments remain open for patients who have suffered a serious injury, severe illness or a medical emergency. The new Urgent Treatment Centres at the Whitchurch and Bridgnorth Minor Injury Units (MIUs), which have been temporarily relocated from PRH and RSH, are also open, as are the Minor Injury Units in Oswestry and Ludow. MIUs can treat things like bites; cuts and lacerations; foreign bodies in the eyes, nose and ears; fractures that require plaster only; minor burns and scalds; minor head injuries (with no loss of consciousness); sprains and bruises; and wound infections. You can find out more at www.shropscommunityhealth.nhs.uk/miu
Throughout this pandemic, there has been much celebration of the NHS and its staff, and that really is heart-warming to see. Yesterday, that celebration was more focused as we celebrated International Nurses’ Day. The messages of support on social media for our nursing colleagues were wonderful to read, and to those I add my own admiration and thanks.
Although there is naturally still intense focus on the response to coronavirus, at SaTH we are still doing other work behind the scenes to improve the experience for our patients when we return to some kind of normality. This week and last week, we have been carrying out improvement weeks in emergency care at our two hospitals. The aim is to improve patient journeys through our hospitals by starting and completing treatments more quickly and ensuring people are discharged as soon as they are medically fit to leave. We will be measuring success throughout the two weeks and looking at the impact of the new ways of working and any lessons learned that can be taken forward.
Finally, if you’re looking for something while you’re home schooling your children – or even for yourself – a new online game has been created called Can You Save the World? which teaches the importance of social distancing in a fun way. Why not have a go? You can find it here: martin-jacob.itch.io/can-you-save-the-world