Please note: any information regarding Coronavirus can change unexpectedly. You should always follow the most up-to-date current government guidance.
Coronavirus Vaccine Update
We know that everyone is eager to find out when they will get their Covid vaccination and that this is an anxious time. The NHS is working very hard to invite people who are eligible to have their vaccination, as quickly as possible. If you are aged over 50 you can now book your vaccination through the surgery or the National Booking Service, online, or by calling 119.
Please support us by ensuring your contact details are up to date, so we can contact you quickly when it is time to have your vaccination. We are contacting eligible people by phone, letter or text message - if you have already booked an appointment at a large vaccination centre, you can ignore any invitations from us.
As soon as you are invited - please confirm your appointment date and time. You must attend all booked appointments to ensure that precious vaccines are not wasted and we can invite everyone as quickly as possible.
**If you already have an appointment over the coming weeks, whether for your first or second dose, this remains in place and it's really important that you attend as planned.
You can get your COVID vaccination if:
- You are aged 50 or over
- You are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
- You are an eligible frontline health or social care worker
- You have a condition that puts you at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
- You have a learning disability
- You are a main carer for someone at high risk from coronavirus
If you are aged between 65-69 (priority group five), we urge you to use the national booking service to book your appointment as soon as you receive a letter from the NHS - please don't delay.
If you are aged between 16 and 64 (priority group six), with specific underlying health conditions that increase your risk of serious illness, you will be contacted by the GP primary care network team to invite you to your appointment, as soon as we possibly can.
For more information on eligibility, visit the JCVI.
Oxford AstraZeneca update
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK's independent regulator. Their role is to ensure medicines, devices and vaccines work effectively and are safe for use.
Every single vaccine authorised for use in the UK has been authorised by the MHRA and the three parts of authorisation are a safety assessment, an effectiveness assessment and a manufacturing quality assessment. Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines are safe and effective against the COVID-19 variants currently dominant in the UK and have been approved because they pass the MHRA's tests on safety and efficacy.
The MHRA has released a statement, following recent media coverage that some countries have temporarily suspended the use of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.
UK regulator confirms that people should continue to receive the COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca. Following suspensions by some countries of the COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca over suspected blood clots, the MHRA confirms that the benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19 far outweigh the risks. People should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.
For more information please visit the Gov.uk website.
For frequently asked questions and the latest information on the Somerset vaccination programme please visit: Somerset NHS vaccination programme
COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Check
In the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the National Health Services of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.
- The NHS will never ask you for you bank account or card details.
- The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.
- The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
- The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.
If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to email@example.com. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.
If you believe you are the victim of fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.
The NCSC is asking people to report suspect emails to its Suspicious Email Reporting Service simply by forwarding them to firstname.lastname@example.org. All emails forwarded to the service are analysed and if they are found to link to malicious content, it will be taken down or blocked, helping prevent future victims of crime.
The Suspicious Email Reporting Service is a world first which was launched last April by the NCSC in conjunction with the City of London Police. It has now received more than four million emails from the public, leading to the removal of over 26,000 scams and over 49,000 links to malicious content.
Convalescent Plasma Programme for England
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is currently leading an urgent programme on behalf of the Government, to enable a planned UK trial that could produce a vital treatment to save more lives.
This requires plasma donations from patients who have had COVID-19 and are now recovering.
Could you help someone else recover too?
- Antibodies in your blood plasma have helped you recover from COVID-19
- Giving some of your plasma to other COVID-19 patients could save their lives
- Plasma donation is similar to blood donation and happens in a clinical environment
- Donating blood plasma is safe and won't affect your own antibody levels
All donations are welcomed by NHSBT but they are seeking donations in particular from recovering male patients who are 18-65 years old as they are more likely to have high levels of antibodies against the COVID virus.
For further information, please visit NHS Blood and Transplant: Plasma or speak to someone from the National Call Centre on 0300 123 2323.
Primary Health England Advice
For updated guidance for households where one or more members has possible COVID-19 please click this link: Guidance for households.
To read a letter to the residents of Somerset regarding the Coronavirus pandemic, please click here: Open letter to the people of Somerset.
To view this letter in Polish, please click here: Open letter to the people of Somerset (Polish).
To view this letter in Bulgarian, please click here: Open letter to the people of Somerset (Bulgarian).
To view this letter in Romanian, please click here: Open letter to the people of Somerset (Romanian).
To view this letter in Portuguese, please click here: Open letter to the people of Somerset (Portuguese).
For advice on self-isolating, please visit the NHS Self-Isolation and Treating Coronavirus Symptoms page. As well as explaining self-isolation there is information about the symptoms of Coronavirus. This includes:
- When to self-isolate and what to do
- How long to self-isolate
- How to avoid spreading Coronavirus to people you live with
- How to treat your symptoms at home
- Help and financial support while you're self-isolating
- What to do if your symptoms get worse
- What to do if you get symptoms again
Exemption from wearing a face mask
From 25th July 2020 the government have decided it will be compulsory to wear a face mask in shops. There are certain groups of people who are exempt from this; however, GP practices will NOT be providing exemption letters. The government guidance suggests it is sufficient for a patient to self-declare their exemption from wearing a mask. Please see here for a full letter from the Somerset Local Medical Committee.
Links to local organisations and voluntary groups during the coronavirus pandemic
Lyngford Park Surgery and local organisations in the area are here to support you during this time. Please see below for links to websites offering information and support and services to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The national COVID recovery platform has been launched and is a helpful resource for those recovering from coronavirus. It can accessed at Your COVID recovery.
The Home Office have launched a national campaign to raise awareness of the dedicated support available to domestic abuse victims. If you need to speak to someone, you can phone the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or visit National Domestic Abuse Helpline. For detailed advice visit GOV UK - Domestic Abuse - How To Get Help.
If you need to speak to someone about domestic abuse, the Somerset Domestic Abuse support helpline are available on 0800 69 49 999. Alternatively, you can email the Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service at email@example.com. Opening hours are Mon-Fri 8am to 8pm and Sat-Sun 9am to 1pm.
Somerset Age UK are offering support to patients over the phone or through their website Somerset Age UK. They have a new ‘friendly phone calls’ service, a free, confidential, extended information and advice service and a new dedicated coronavirus support website.
Priorswood Good Neighbours are volunteers serving the community; they can help with collecting prescriptions, shopping, regular phone calls etc. You can contact them through their Facebook page Priorswood Good Neighbours Facebook, by telephone on 01823 212007 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
During COVID-19, the County Council Somerset Village, Community and Carers Agents are still providing their regular service via telephone or email. They are a key point of contact within the community – especially if you do not know who to turn to. For more information, visit Somerset Agents, where you can also request a call back from one of the Agents.
Somerset Sight, who are local specialists in sight loss, providing life-long emotional and practical support for the sight impaired and their families, have adapted their service so that they can provide immediate telephone support to:
- Reduce loneliness and isolation
- Improve emotional health and well-being
- Help people adapt to sight loss through structured emotional and peer support
- Provide specialist training for gadgets, technology and phone apps to assist with daily living.
Contact 01823 333818 for immediate help or further information.
Somerset Suicide Bereavement Support Service are able to support you via Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, telephone or via their new Chat box (accessed via their website Somerset Suicide Bereavement. You can also get further information on this website). You can also email email@example.com or telephone the helpline on 0300 330 5463. The Somerset Suicide Bereavement Support Service are working in partnership with Marie Curie Companions Service; they can offer you 3 telephone support calls and 6 further bereavement support sessions if desired.
Re-Engage have created a new service for older people called Call Companions. A volunteer Call Companion will call you between two and four times a month at an agreed time for an informal chat, usually for around 30 minutes. This is aimed at people who are:
- Living alone or in sheltered housing with little or no contact with family or friends
- Struggle to leave their house in normal times
If you would like to be referred to Call Companions then please contact our reception team, who will arrange this with your GP.
Young Somerset have various COVID-19 support available; this includes a 24/7 mental health helpline, information on useful apps for coping with COVID-19 and ideas like fun things to do at home whilst in self-isolation. Full details and more support options are found at Young Somerset COVID-19 Support. For information on Young Somerset's Virtual Hub, please click here.
Kooth provides online mental health and wellbeing support to young people aged 11 to 18 years on any internet accessible device, and gives an opportunity to interact in a supportive way with other young people as well as receive support from a qualified counsellor. Visit the Kooth website for more information.
Marie Curie have a free bereavement support line if you wish to speak to someone following a bereavement. You can discuss practical and emotional concerns with one of their trained Support Line Officers, speak with one of their spiritual care coordinators or get ongoing support from one of their bereavement volunteers. Calls are free and lines are open Mon-Fri 8am-6pm and Sat/Sun 11am-5pm. You must be aged 18 or above. The number is 0800 090 2309 or visit their website Marie Curie Bereavement Telephone Support for further information.
The Bridge are open, fully staffed and operational at this time. They are offer help after rape and sexual assault. For 27/7 access to the best recovery services, ring 0117 342 6999 or visit their website at The Bridge Can Help.
The NHS has a help page dedicated to those who have been raped or sexually assaulted: NHS Live Well - Help After Rape and Sexual Assault.
Respect is an anonymous and confidential helpline for men and women who are harming their partners and families. The helpline also takes calls from partners or ex-partners, friends and relatives who are concerned about perpetrators. A webchat service is also available. Visit their website Respect Phone Line.
Somerset Community Connect is about individuals, groups and organisations all working together to create a safe, healthy, supportive, kind, compassionate and vibrant Somerset. Their website has been created to help you find information, advice and services to manage your own care and wellbeing, independently, for as long as you can. To view their resources and information visit Somerset Community Connect.
Mind have produced a number of guides around certain aspects of mental health around COVID-19. There are available at Mind Coronavirus Information and Support.
Mind also run a 24/7 mental health support line which anyone can ring, just for a chat if you are lonely or for a supportive ear around mental health. The number is 01823 276892 or visit Mind Somerset: Mindline.
Mind work with Marie Curie to provide a service to anyone who has been bereaved during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit Mind Somerset: Bereavement during the COVID-19 Pandemic for more information.
Many of Mind's existing peer support groups are offering a digital option alongside some in person groups. Please contact the group and they will be able to provide the options: Mind Somerset: Peer Support Services.
The Rowbarton Pantry - the local pantry is an initiative partnered with FareShare Southwest providing fresh and cupboard food to families at a fraction of the normal price. Anyone can join regardless of income, single, older couples or families; you just need to be within 15 minutes travelling distance from Rowbarton Church. To sign up either contact Gillian, the Pantry Coordinator, on 07814 201915 or use the following link: The Pantry Sign Up.