Dr Chris Duffy – March 2021 blog

2021-03-08T11:25:09+00:008th March 2021|Latest blog|

Welcome to my March monthly blog.  

This month we will head out of winter and into spring, the days are getting longer and lighter and it does seem as though there is reason for a little optimism with regards to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Monday 22nd February the Prime Minister set out his roadmap for easing restrictions in England. The four step plan will hopefully with some caution lead us back to normal life. Step one will see the re-opening of schools on March 8th, followed by parts of the hospitality sector re-opening on the 12th April. On May 17th all hospitality will reopen as well as sports stadiums, concert halls and theatres and finally on 21st June we hope to say goodbye to most restrictions. There seems to be a little light at the end of the tunnel but we must remember that the easing of restrictions is not guaranteed and we all need to continue doing what we can to help bring the numbers down.

The main focus continues to be the covid-19 response and I’m delighted to say that almost 80,000 vaccination doses have been administered in our borough, the vast majority of which are first doses. The schedule for second vaccinations is due to start this weekend (6th March 2021) with a combined clinic of first and second doses taking place at Number One Riverside.

Residents ages 65-69 in the borough should get in touch if they haven’t been offered their first covid vaccine appointment. If this applies to you or someone you know, the number is 0300 303 0355 or email hmrccg.hmr.enquiries@nhs.net

On the 23rd of March, there will be a National Day of Reflection, the day marks the anniversary of the first UK lockdown where we can reflect on our collective loss, support those who’ve been bereaved and lost their loved ones, and hope for a brighter future.

Safer Sleep Week is an awareness raising campaign to promote Safer Sleep messages and is taking place later this month from the 15th – 21st March 2021. The week aims to target anyone looking after a young baby. It aims to raise awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and advice on how parents and carers can reduce the risk of it occurring. Safer sleep advice gives simple steps for how you can sleep your baby to reduce the risks, giving you peace of mind. For more information on safer sleep week visit the Lullaby Trust website.

This month households across the borough will be asked to take part in the census – the nationwide survey of housing and the population. Information from the ‘digital-first’ census will help decide how services are planned and funded in the borough. This is so important for local healthcare and  could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, housing and more.  I urge everyone to take part, and not just because its compulsory –  Census 2021 will collect important information which will inform future public spending, helping to shape Heywood, Middleton, Rochdale and the Pennines over the next decade.

The Find And Stop Transmission (FAST) testing programme is being used throughout the borough to help detect and fight Covid-19. It uses lateral flow tests and the aim of the testing is to find people in the community who may have the deadly virus but are showing no symptoms. 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 show no symptoms. The tests are free and roving testing sites are now in place throughout Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale. The sites provide FAST tests at community locations that are easy to access for anyone, you can find out opening times and more information on the Rochdale Council website: rochdale.gov.uk/FastTesting

Unfortunately due to the pressures of Covid-19 on NHS staff and the roll out of the vaccination programme the Primary Care Commissioning Committee on the 12th March 2021 and the Governing Body meeting on the 19th March 2021 have been cancelled. The next meeting of the Governing Body will take place on Friday 21st May 2021 and the next Primary Care Commissioning Committee will take place on 11th June 2021. Papers for the meeting will be published one week in advance of each meeting on the CCG website. If you do have a question for the Primary Care Commissioning Committee or Governing Body, you can submit those via the contact us page on the CCG website here: https://www.hmr.nhs.uk/get-in-touch/contact-us/

You can keep up to date by following us on social media, Facebook: NHSHMRCCG and Twitter @NHSHMR

Thank you for reading,

Please stay safe and continue to follow the rules, we are all making a difference.

Dr Chris Duffy