Issue 39 - 23 March 2022

Health and care news from across north east London

Welcome to our public bulletin keeping local people informed about health and care services; and how you can stay well and keep safe.

Your route to urgent care

The NHS can help you find the best service for your needs: pharmacy, GP or NHS 111. Find your route to urgent care:

Anyone can see a GP

general practiceIt is likely that north east London will become home to many Ukrainian refugees in the coming weeks and months and there are already established Ukrainian communities in some of our boroughs.

With that in mind, we’d like to remind everyone that anyone in England is entitled to register with a GP practice and to see a GP when they need to, regardless of where they are from or their immigration status.

You do not have to have a fixed address and you do not have to show ID, or proof of address or immigration status. However, GPs may ask these questions in order to provide the best advice and treatment. It is up to you what information you are able and want to share.

For info on how to find and register with a GP, click here.

Your local council website is the best place for information on the wider support available for Ukrainian residents and refugees.

Abuse of NHS staff is unacceptable

Every year, tens of thousands of staff and colleagues working in the NHS in London are confronted with violence and aggression from patients and members of the public simply for going to work.

Read an open message from NHS London leaders to staff and colleagues working in London’s NHS speaking with one voice to say that aggression and violence towards our staff will not be tolerated.

Spring Covid-19 vaccine boosters now available

spring boostersA spring booster vaccine is now available to those aged 75 and over, older care home residents, and those over 12 who are immunosuppressed. The NHS will contact those who are eligible to make a spring booster appointment, so people should wait until they hear from the NHS.

The NHS will prioritise those whose clinical need is greatest starting with those who have had a bigger gap since their last dose, then working through the cohort to invite others who have waited less time. Everyone who is eligible will be offered a top up around six months (and not before three months) since their last dose of vaccine.

Children aged 5-11 who are in a clinical risk group, or who live with someone who is immunosuppressed, can also get their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and will be contacted by the NHS when it is their turn. Eligible children include those with diabetes, immunosuppression, learning disabilities, and other conditions as outlined by the UK Health Security Agency in the Green Book

For the latest advice on how to stay safe and stop the spread, visit the government website.

Ramadan Mubarak

Plan ahead for a healthy Ramadan

With Ramadan fast approaching, the local NHS is urging Muslims to plan ahead to ensure a healthy and safe holy month. The advice is particularly important for anyone who has diabetes, takes prescribed medicines or needs a medical appointment during the month.

  • If you have diabetes and want to fast, please speak to your GP or diabetes nurse about the safest way to do this. Diabetes UK has lots of advice on fasting and managing your diabetes during Ramadan.
  • If you are taking prescribed medicines, you should continue taking them during Ramadan, but check with your GP if the doses need to be adjusted or the times that you take them need to be changed.
  • If you have a medical appointment booked during Ramadan, it is very important that you attend. If you need to adjust the time, contact the relevant healthcare organisation to do so.
  • If you become unwell during Ramadan the British Islamic Medical Association advises that you should stop fasting and seek medical advice.

For more advice, including healthy eating tips and having a Covid-19 vaccine during Ramadan, visit the NEL CCG website.

Lift someone out of loneliness

lonelinessThe Better Health: Every Mind Matters Loneliness campaign encourages people to help anyone who might be feeling lonely.

Certain groups are prone to loneliness more than others, such as those who are unemployed, living alone, students, those in the LGBTQ+ community, people with underlying health issues and new parents.

There’s lots you can do to help people, including: checking in with a family member, friend or neighbour by sending a text or giving them a call to see how they are doing, reaching out to someone to suggest catching up over a tea or coffee, and inviting someone to join you in getting some fresh air and going for a walk.

Find more advice and support by visiting the Loneliness page on the Every Mind Matters website.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week

Neurodiversity Celebration Week is a worldwide initiative that challenges stereotypes and misconceptions about neurological differences – for example, people with epilepsy, learning disabilities, neuromuscular disorders, autism, attention deficit disorder, brain tumours, and cerebral palsy.

The initiative aims to transform how neurodivergent people are perceived and supported by providing schools, universities, and organisations, with the opportunity to recognise the many talents and advantages of being neurodivergent, while creating more inclusive cultures.

Find out how to get involved here.


East London Foundation Trust (ELFT) awards £1.8m grants to groups supporting mental health

mental healthThirty-seven community groups in Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney, which support people facing inequalities in access, experience and outcomes in mental health care, are to share grants worth £1.8million from ELFT.

Dr Mohit Venkataram, the trust’s director of commercial development, said the groups “played an important role in keeping communities safe, especially when inequalities have shown the impact the pandemic has had on our vulnerable communities”.

Artificial Intelligence heart disease test piloted at St Barts to be used across NHS

ai heart diseaseAn artificial intelligence (AI) test that can detect heart disease in 20 seconds is to be rolled out across the NHS after a successful pilot at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

The test analyses heart MRI scans as they happen, compared to the 13 minutes it takes for a doctor to check them manually under the existing system. Project leader Dr Rhodri Davies, of St Bart’s and University College London, said it could see the typical two-to-four-week waiting time for the test result reduced by about a third.

Updated: 05/04/2022