We’d like to thank you for your continued support for your local NHS.

From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NHS has been working flat out to treat patients as they become seriously unwell with the new illness, whilst keeping other services running.

Through your efforts COVID-19 case rates and hospital admissions have reduced significantly in recent weeks. Yet health services are still under huge pressure.

The roadmap out of lockdown will see restrictions start to lift and the government’s four-step roadmap offers a route back to a more normal life.  For this to have the best chance of happening in the time proposed it is vital for us all not to be complacent – undoing all your personal sacrifices and collective hard work, so PLEASE stay vigilant and continue to follow the rules.

Five ways you can help:

  • Get tested. Asymptomatic community testing is available to anyone who has to go out to work or who works from home but is within a school household, support bubble or works within the wider school community.
  • If you have coronavirus symptoms: a high temperature, new continuous cough or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, don’t delay, book a PCR test immediately.
  • Your NHS is here for you. NHS services are open and safe to use. Speak to your GP if you have a health worry;
  • Think NHS 111 first. If you need urgent care, think NHS 111 first. We’ll help you be seen quickly and safely by a suitable service;
  • Accept the offer of a COVID-19 vaccine when it is offered to you to help support and protect yourself and loved ones.

Meanwhile, we know that one of the biggest impacts of the pandemic has been on people whose operations and other procedures have been postponed because of pressure on hospitals. We are now looking once more to catch up on the waiting-list backlog. This will take time, whilst strict infection-control measures limit capacity.

There have been real developments throughout the year in treatment. People have also begun to get used to new ways of accessing their GP or out-patient care, using phone and video links to avoid face-to-face appointments and the attendant risk.

Finally, we are so grateful to all those who are helping the incredible COVID-19 vaccine roll-out across the county.  This has been an incredible and historic effort.

Thank you.

Signed by:

Professor Alastair Hutchison
Chief Medical Director, Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Nicky Lucey
Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Infection Prevention & Control, Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Forbes Watson
GP and Chair, NHS Dorset CCG

Dr Karen Kirkham
GP and Assistant Clinical Chair, NHS Dorset CCG

Vanessa Read
Director of Nursing & Quality, NHS Dorset CCG

Professor Paula Shobbrook
Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Infection Prevention and Control, University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Alyson O’Donnell
Chief Medical Officer, University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

Dawn Dawson
Director of Nursing, Therapies and Quality, Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Faisil Sethi
Medical Director, Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust

Sam Crowe
Director of Public Health for Dorset and BCP Councils