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Dear Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole,

We need your continued help, now.

As set out in the Prime Minister’s announcement our NHS services are under great pressure.

The new COVID-19 variant is spreading fast.  We all need to play our part to stop the spread. The single most important actions we can all take now are to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. We are urging all Dorset residents to play their part and please stay at home. If we all follow the measures set out by the government, we will reduce transmission, and protect the most vulnerable in our communities, and our local NHS.

Please help us to help you. We all have a role to play, whether looking after our own health or accessing services wisely and safely. It’s important to remember that your local pharmacists, GPs, Urgent Treatment Centres and Minor Injuries Units are still here for you if you need them. Minor Injuries Units/Urgent Treatment Centre in Weymouth, Bridport, Swanage, Shaftesbury and Wimborne can be reached direct by calling their dedicated phone number: https://www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/miu  If you require urgent mental health support call the 24/7 Connection helpline on 0800 652 0190, or NHS 111, and you will be signposted to the right service for the support you need.

Please continue to attend NHS services for your booked appointment or procedure unless you are notified by us. If you cannot attend because you are self-isolating or do not want to attend, please contact the number on your appointment letter.

The health and care system in Dorset has been working extremely hard to deliver the COVID-19 vaccination programme to local people. We are delivering the vaccine in line with the national guidance which means those people who are most at risk will be invited first. The NHS will get in touch when it’s your turn to be vaccinated, please don’t contact us to seek a vaccine.

While the roll-out of the vaccine in Dorset is great news we must make sure all other measures are still being followed such as regularly washing hands, wearing face coverings and keeping a safe distance from people not in our household.

Stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

Thank you for your continued support.

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