I would like to begin by wishing you all a happy new year. Many of you will be pleased to see the back of 2020. It was certainly a very challenging year for us all as we battled to contain the new coronavirus. We all made huge sacrifices as we limited our contacts and changed the way we have lived and worked, hoping 2021 would be different.
Last Monday on 4th January, the Prime Minister addressed the nation. The situation of rapidly rising infections across the whole country and the impact this is having on the NHS has resulted in the announcement of a new national lockdown. The aim once again is to get control and try and slow the spread of the virus and to protect NHS services from becoming overwhelmed.
This is news that none of us really wanted to hear, particularly as we start a new year but it is the right thing to do. In Doncaster, the infection rate is rising again and a significant number of people are in hospital in Doncaster with the virus alongside other winter illnesses.
I understand that the government directive to Stay at Home means another big ask from us but I urge you all to please follow the rules.
Those people who are clinically extremely vulnerable are asked to shield again and guidance on shielding is available on the gov.uk website.
Approximately 1 in 3 people have coronavirus with no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it. It is therefore essential we all follow the basics of washing our hands, wearing a face covering and making space to protect ourselves and our families.
I understand that the recent announcement of a new national lockdown may have left some people feeling down or anxious. Please keep your spirits up as there are many positive things we can look to for hope. We flattened the curve of the first wave last spring and with our collective efforts, we can do that again.
The extraordinary efforts of our scientists has resulted in the successful development of vaccines and NHS staff across the borough are working tirelessly to invite people forward for vaccination from the first eligible cohort. Understandably, people are eager to know when their COVID vaccination will take place.
At the moment in Doncaster, we are working through the initial priority lists which are; those living or working in a care home, people aged over 80, and frontline health and care staff. I ask for everyone to please have patience and we will contact you to be invited for your vaccination. As more vaccine stocks become available, we will be able to do this faster and help more eligible people get vaccinated.
If you would like to find out more about the vaccination programme and the priority groups, please visit our Covid-19 vaccination FAQ page. Local practices are incredibly busy at this time of year, so I must emphasise that it is very important not to call your practice to enquire about the vaccination. We have lists of everyone who needs to be vaccinated and staff are working through these as quickly as they can. Please help us protect primary care services and leave the phones free for those that need medical advice or treatment. Thank you.
The New Year offers an opportunity to focus on our own health too and to dust off that exercise equipment or to enjoy some fresh air as we undertake one form of daily outdoor exercise.
Looking after your health and emotional wellbeing is important and is hopefully a regular part of your overall daily activities. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, now more than ever, I ask people to be mindful of their physical and emotional wellbeing and ensure you are taking time to keep yourself well. Just getting outside for a walk can improve your mental health wellbeing. Visit the Get Doncaster Moving website for ideas to keep you active and discover lots of walking routes recommended by walkers in Doncaster.
We’ve all been through a difficult period this last year and it will continue to be tough for a while longer. It’s been a challenge for us all in different ways and to varying degrees. We deserve to feel good and we can work together to support each other in our goal to be as healthy as we can be. Being as healthy as you can be not only helps you to feel better both physically and mentally, it will also help the NHS.
Please remember: Stay at home, Protect our NHS, Save lives
Resources to help you:
Sport England campaigns:
Join the Movement – tips, advice and guidance on how to get active in and around your home
We are undefeatable – inspiring and supporting people with long term health conditions to build physical activity into their lives
This girl can – inspiring women and girls to get active, no matter their shape, size or ability
Home Goals: Keeping The Community Match Fit – this Club Doncaster Foundation scheme helps men and women improve their physical health through exercise/physical activity, healthy cooking and lifestyle advice.
NHS Couch to 5K