Covid-19 (Coronavirus) - Keeping safe and well
COVID-19 is an illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus. This page will be updated regularly with information and guidance for patients, carers, friends and family.
Our staff understand that these are worrying times and that you will have lots of concerns, particularly about your loved ones. We understand those concerns and are here to help you throughout it.
Last update 15 July 2021
England’s Chief Nurse has today reminded the public that everyone accessing or visiting healthcare settings must continue to wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules. Covid restrictions will end in many settings in England from Monday 19 July 2021.
However, Public Health England’s infection prevention control guidelines and hospital visiting guidance are set to remain in place for all visitors. That means NHS visitor guidance will stay in place across all health services including hospitals, GP practices, dental practices, optometrists and pharmacies to ensure patients and staff are protected.
Patients and visitors will also be expected to continue to follow social distancing rules when visiting any care setting as well as using face coverings, mask and other personal protection equipment.
Latest update 13 April 2021
You may have heard on the news about cases of the South African variant of Covid being detected in Wandsworth. Extra testing facilities have opened in Wandsworth to help quickly identify any further cases of the variant and limit any potential spread. Anyone who lives, works or travels through these boroughs is strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 PCR test, whether they are showing symptoms or not. Please see here for more information.
Latest update 17 March 2021
Following the reports that several countries have currently suspended the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine amid concerns that it may increase blood clots, we would like to reassure our patients that:
- Reports of blood clots received so far are not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population.
- So far across the EU and UK, there have been 15 events of DVT and 22 events of pulmonary embolism reported among those given the vaccine, based on the number of cases the Company has received as of 8 March. This is much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size and is similar across other licensed COVID-19 vaccines.
- Furthermore, in clinical trials, even though the number of thrombotic events was small, these were lower in the vaccinated group.
It is vital to keep looking at the evidence and responding accordingly. In England we have done so and will continue providing the vaccine - just like 64 other countries and territories are. This is the right thing to do to help keep you and others safe. It is also fits the recommendations of the WHO and our UK medicines regulator (the MHRA), who are both in agreement there is no evidence linking the jab with an increased risk of developing a clot.
AstraZeneca also confirms that the recorded number of blood clots in vaccinated people is significantly lower than that among the general population. About 17 million people in the EU and the UK have received a dose of the vaccine, with fewer than 40 cases of blood clots reported as of last week. This figure is in line with the expected number of incidents for the demographic if we did not have the vaccine programme.
Latest update 26 January 2021
When it is the right time, people will receive an invitation to come forward. For most people this will be a letter, either from their GP or the national NHS. This letter will include all the information you will need to book appointments, including your NHS number. Please do not contact the NHS to get an appointment until you get this letter. In England, the vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at hundreds of local vaccination centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres. More centres are opening all the time. Please see the latest FAQs pdf here. (162 KB)
If you still have questions or want to find more about the vaccines, Public Health England has produced more leaflets in various community languages on Covid-19 vaccine information, including:
- Covid-19 vaccination: guide for older adults
- What to expect after your Covid-19 vaccination
- Why you are being asked to wait
- Women of childbearing age, currently pregnant or breastfeeding
- Guide for healthcare workers
Please see the QR codes for the COVID-19 vaccine information in your language.
Latest update 21 January 2021
We understand that there is a lot of anxiety around the safety of the vaccines. The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective. They will give you the best protection against coronavirus. The NHS will not offer any Covid-19 vaccinations to the public until independent experts have signed off that it is safe to do so. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the official UK regulator, have said these vaccines are safe and highly effective, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes. As with any medicine, vaccines are highly regulated products. There are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, and continued monitoring once it has been authorised and is being used in the wider population.
Please see the vaccine safety and myths busting article for more information.
Latest update 23 December 2020
As you find yourself recovering from COVID-19 you may still be coming to terms with the impact the virus has had on both your body and mind. These changes should get better over time, some may take longer than others, but there are things you can do to help. Your COVID Recovery helps you to understand what has happened and what you might expect as part of your recovery.
Please see here for the latest support and information for family, friends and carers.
Latest update 21 December 2020
With rates of coronavirus infection increasing, London and much of the south east and east of England has now moved into Tier 4. We are continuing to review the measures we are taking to keep our patients, visitors and staff safe and reduce transmission of the virus.
For more information on Tier 4 please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home
Our services remain open so if you have an appointment with us please do still attend unless you have been otherwise instructed. Please adhere to our covid social distancing guidance, you can find out more on our website here.
Guidance for visitors
We know that it is important for people admitted to hospital to have regular contact with family and friends, however it is also vital that we keep people safe from infection on our wards.
In light of the Tier 4 restrictions, we are now discouraging visiting in person and will enable virtual contacts for friends and family. Our ward teams will be able to guide you on how to complete a virtual visit.
- All visits need to be pre-arranged with the ward. Please telephone the ward to discuss ways to stay in contact and communicate with your relative or friend.
- Do not visit if you are unwell or have any of the symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste.
- In some areas, virtual visits are not possible for those under our care. In these situations, our senior clinical team will complete a risk assessment to see whether a visit can be safely supported.
We will keep this approach under review and follow national guidance as it is made available.
Patient leave over Christmas and New Year
We have reviewed and updated our approach to support patients’ rights and wellbeing by taking leave over the Christmas period under the Tier 4 guidance.
Finally, we understand that these are worrying times and that you and your loved ones will have concerns. We want to remind you that we are here for you and your family and to encourage you to contact us if you need to. Please do not think it is too much trouble - the NHS is here for you.
Latest update 19 December 2020
Following the announcement that London is to move to Tier 4 we have had to make the decision to suspend visiting on Sunday 20 December.
If you have any concerns, please contact the ward. We will update the guidance on Monday 21 December.
Latest update: 10 December 2020
The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus. Please read this leaflet for information about the vaccine.
The NHS will let you know when it is your turn to have the vaccine. It is important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then. Please wait to be contacted. Please read this leaflet to find out more.
At this time, the vaccine is being offered in some hospitals to:
- some people aged 80 and over who already have a hospital appointment in the next few weeks
- people who work in care homes
- health care workers at high risk.
The vaccine will be offered more widely as soon as possible.
The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
In the meantime, we must all continue to adhere to stick to the local tier restriction rules and remember hands, face, space.
Latest update: 1 December 2020
- Remember – the NHS is open for business and here for you if you need it.
- What to do if you are attending a face-to-face appointment.
- Have a video appointment? Find out how easy it is to use Attend Anywhere.
- Information for people visiting relatives.
- Do you need additional help from local voluntary groups across? You can find a full list of volunteer services here.
- Our Recovery College continues to support students with webinars and home learning content on our e-learning hub.
- Find out how the NHS is keeping SW London safe:
Other useful information:
- NHS Website – Covid information
- Gov.uk – Covid guidance
- The symptoms and how to get a test for Coronavirus
- Staying at home and self isolating
- Social distancing and changes to everyday life
Support in a crisis
Please only attend A and E if you have an emergency with your physical health. The Mental Health Support Line can help and direct you to the right service for your mental health.
If you are already a patient at our Trust, between the hours of 9am-5pm Monday to Friday we encourage you to call the mental health team that looks after you. You can find their contact details here. Otherwise, please contact the 24/7 Mental Health Support Line.
If you are calling urgently from a partner agency and require support and direction, you are encouraged to also contact the 24/7 Mental Health Support Line.
If you are Deaf, you can call our Mental Health Support Line using Sign Live Video Relay Service (VRS):
- On a computer, go to https://signlive.co.uk/login/ and register using Facebook, Google or email
- On phone, iPad or tablet download SignLive’s app for free and register
You will then be able to call the Trust for free.
Guidance on children and young people under the age of 18 in mental health crisis
For A&E staff
If a young person presents to A&E, follow the normal process and make a referral to the CAMHS Emergency Care Service (CECS) by completing the referral form and telephoning our duty number: 0203 513 6239 or 07870 917 114. Referrals will be screened for appropriateness, and a telephone or video assessment will be offered in the first instance. Face-to-face assessments in A&E will occur when clinically indicated.
For professionals including GPs, social workers and education on SWSLTG Crisis Service for Young People and Families.We understand that Covid-19 has impacted young people/families in lots of different ways. CAMHS is still here to provide support; at times we will continue to do this by phone or video.
If a young person is currently a CAMHS service user, please call the appropriate CAMHS team to speak with the duty worker Mondays to Friday between 9am -5pm:
- Sutton: 020 3513 3800
- Merton: 0208 254 8061
- Wandsworth: 0203 513 4644
- Kingston: 0203 513 5183/5321
- Richmond: 0203 513 3238
At weekends and Bank Holidays and between 5pm-9am, please call the Mental Health Support Line (MHSL) on 0800 028 8000If a young person is not currently a CAMHS service user, professionals can call the local Single Point of Access team (9am-5pm) for advice. However, if an emergency response is needed, please telephone the 24/7 the Mental Health Support Line on 0800 028 8000.
Other helpful numbers
- Childline 0800 1111 – calls are free and confidential
- HOPE line UK 0800 068 4141
- Samaritans 116 123
- Young Minds Crisis Messenger - provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK mental health crisis - if you need urgent help text YM to 85258
- If you need medical attention for a life threatening emergency call 999 or attend your local A&E
We understand how difficult it is to be unable to see and speak to loved ones whilst they are in hospital on a regular basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have reviewed our visiting policy and will currently be continuing with inpatient visiting by booked appointment only. This means we can offer one close family member or somebody else close to the patient the opportunity to visit them. Whilst we cannot return to our usual visiting guidelines at the moment, we hope that this will continue to offer some comfort to both our patients and loved ones.
Staff will discuss with visitors if they have had any symptoms or whether there are any contacts in their households with COVID-19. If the answer to either of these is yes, the visit will need to be rearranged for another time. All visitors must comply with handwashing, social distancing and infection control instructions to protect other visitors, patients and staff.
Visitors will be expected to wear a face mask when inside ward environments. Anyone who has not been given permission to visit will be asked to leave. Visitors exempt from wearing a face mask should discuss this with the ward manager/nurse in charge. Do not visit if you are unwell or have any of the symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste.
We thank you for your support and understanding at this challenging time. The safety of our staff, patients, carers and visitors remains our top priority. In line with national guidance, we will review our position on allowing normal visiting to our inpatient units, as the situation with Covid-19 evolves, so it is important that anyone planning to visit calls the ward before arriving.
Information for patients on Clozapine
If you are not well, please let your clozapine clinic know before you attend the clinic for your blood test. They will talk through with you if you need to come in or if we can send you a small additional supply of your medicine until you are feeling better.
In some circumstances we may be able to visit you at home to carry out your blood test.
Leisure and keeping occupied
With this in mind, we have assembled some uplifting and hopefully enjoyable resources for you explore.
We hope you find something that suits you!
Managing a routine and daily living at home
With this in mind, we have brought together some resources that you might find helpful over the coming weeks.
Hopefully it will not be for too long, keep safe and keep connected to others if you possibly can, that will help!
Information and ideas for children and families
- Self care for young people - www.annafreud.org/on-my-mind/self-care/
- Young minds advice for young people - https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/looking-after-yourself/coronavirus-and-mental-health/
- Young minds advice for parents to support children and young people - https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/for-parents/supporting-your-child-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/
- Royal College Of Occupational Therapists advice for families - www.rcot.co.uk/staying-well-when-social-distancing
Information and resources for carers
Information and resources for older people
The various restrictions that have been put in place, ranging from the closure of important services such as day care, to the prohibition of visits to care homes affects older people more than most, particularly those with dementia and their carers.
As such we hope that you find the guidance and resources below helpful.
General Guidance and information:
- COVID-19: information for families looking after someone with dementia Dementia UK this includes information on self isolation, tips on activities, games and physical exercise as well as helplines
- Alzheimer Europe Living-with-dementia/COVID-19 Alzheimer Europe has collected resources on support for person with dementia and their carer and these will be updated on regular basis
- COVID 19 tips-for-dementia-caregivers Alzheimer’s Society This paper provides guidance for carers as well as professionals and includes ideas on managing ‘wandering’, responding to dementia related behaviours and social isolation
- Support for people with Dementia COVID-19 Alzheimer’s Society Information and support for people with dementia who may be feeling lonely and isolated
- Corona virus: Guidance for people with dementia and their carers Alzheimer Scotland 2 page leaflet outlining recognising the symptoms of virus, avoiding it and useful tips around exercise and ways ofhttps://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/coronavirus/staying-safe-and-well-at-home/social-distancing-and-self-isolation/ reducing isolation.
- Advice on Social Distancing (Age UK)
- corona virus online free therapy sessions : voluntary therapists over the phone
- Contact your local social services, many of whom have set up a network of volunteers to help with things like shopping
Guidance for family carers
In the latter case, if the person’s care needs are such that any remote support will not be sufficient, the family carers should adhere to the social distancing guidelines ie washing hands immediately on arrival, no physical contact, keeping a distance of 2m wherever possible and keeping visits as short as possible.
Information and advice or people with learning difficulties
The following information supports the learning disability population understand the information in a format that uses pictures and easy to read language.
- The University of Glasgow: Access the Self-help Booklet (14 KB)
- SWLSTG SaLT Face Mask Communication Tips (271 KB)
- Supporting Children with LD ASD with COVID Isolation (5) (2.55 MB)
- PPE Poster (1.03 MB)
- PPE easy read covid 19 (1.57 MB)
- COVID 19 LD Information Pack (5.86 MB)
- Easy read wearing oxygen mask (580 KB)
- Having swabs taken easy read (407 KB)
- LD Senate or use by families 27 3 2020 (1.74 MB)
- LD Senate Coronavirus resources for use with people with learning disabilities 30 3 2020 (5.08 MB)
Safeguarding and Covid-19: Keeping everyone safe
Families are under increased amounts of stress due to financial pressures, household isolation, school closures and lack of normal outlets for stress and frustrations.
Adults are at increased risk of financial exploitation by some pretending to help under the guise of ‘COVID kindness’.
Children, young people and adults who are already at risk of abuse or neglect may be more at risk as the normal support mechanisms for them are not in place. Many children and adults may be struggling without the regular contact and support they get from friends, workmates or school.
Self or household isolation could mean some people are trapped in their homes with abusers and isolated from people who can help them.
Here are some useful contacts and websites you may find helpful at this time.
Are you experiencing domestic abuse? You are not alone.
- National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247
- Women’s Aid online chat service (Monday-Friday 10am-12pm)
- Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327
- NSPCC Helpline 0808 800 5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Specific advice on managing self-isolation and anxiety about coronavirus here.
Other useful websites and resources
- Merton Council Coronavirus information
- Sutton Council Coronavirus information
- Wandsworth Council Coronavirus information
- Wandsworth Council Community Hub
- Kingston Council Coronavirus information
- Richmond Council Coronavirus information
- Carers UK
- Carers Support Merton
- Wandsworth Carers Centre
- Kingston Carers Network
- Richmond Carers Centre
- Sutton Carers Centre
- Mind - Coronavirus and your wellbeing
- Rethink Covid 19 support