Engage - Spring 2021

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Protecting our local community from COVID-19 For the half a million Essex residents receiving the COVID-19 jab has been a priority, but it has become clear that some groups and communities are not getting vaccinated. Worryingly, the health conditions that lead to an increased risk of ending up in hospital, are often more common in the Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups. Dr Sunil Gupta, local GP in Benfleet said:

‘We absolutely need to get the message to these communities that the vaccine is safe, easy and will protect you from this terrible disease, especially as those who are most hesitant are, sadly, the ones who are at higher risk. To achieve this, the NHS and its partners is reaching out to these people to hear their concerns and identify the best way to overcome their issues.’

Free NHS ‘My Health Matters’ leaflet

BARRIERS TO VACCINATION The reasons for not getting the vaccine are diverse, with some experiencing difficulty accessing information, while others are uncertain about attending a vaccination clinic or have more concerns over the vaccine itself.

WE ARE LISTENING To tackle these diverse issues, the NHS and its partners across Essex, are working together and reaching out to these groups, for example: Talking to local mosque leaders to discuss opportunities and identify solutions for their community

Exploring how we can provide private vaccination facilities for some women

Working with partners to reach out to the homeless and rough sleepers

INTEGRATED CARE SYSTEM – The joined-up future of healthcare The NHS and its partners in mid and south Essex have been formally recognised as an Integrated Care System (ICS) heralding a stronger collaboration and co-operation between local organisations, to improve patient care. It was formally designated an ‘ICS’ from April 1, hitting a major milestone in the NHS Long Term Plan. The Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership has been working towards a more joined up approach with its partners for the last four years and this was accelerated with the arrival of COVID-19. We have seen the NHS’s remarkable response to

Introduction from Dr Davey

Supporting vulnerable women and other groups, such as refugees

There are also community listening sessions being held with partners so that we can reach out to all these groups. We are also getting the message through by using social media and working with partners to develop inclusive and accessible communications, available on our website www.essexcovidvaccine.nhs.uk


a difficult time as we have seen work colleagues, friends and loved ones being taken from us, but our shared purpose to defeat this awful disease has brought closer working relationships and collaboration with people and organisations. In this edition this shared purpose is reflected in the recent announcement about the creation of an Integrated Care System (ICS) in mid and south Essex, which heralds improved patient care through stronger collaboration and co-operation between local organisations.

Providing adapted clinics and communications for people with sensory impairment

Working with the local health and social care system, to support adults with learning disabilities get vaccinated

the coronavirus pandemic and the NHS vaccination programme. Together the NHS and its partners in mid and south Essex have shown what they can do in the most testing period in the health service’s history and the ICS will help to ensure that the progress made and can-do attitude endures beyond the pandemic. Anthony McKeever, Executive Lead for the Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership and Joint Accountable Officer for Mid and South Essex CCGs, said: ‘Going forward, through pooling resources, we can provide more joined up and coordinated care to our communities. This will mean better support for people living with multiple and long-term conditions, preventing illness and tackling variation in care while getting maximum impact for every pound.’

Welcome to the spring/summer edition of ‘Engage’ for residents of Braintree District, Chelmsford City and Maldon District. I would like to start off by saying a few words to express my gratitude to all my fellow health and care colleagues in the NHS, Local Authorities and the voluntary and community sector, who have shown tireless commitment to make sure residents have received support through this unprecedented COVID-19 incident. It has been

We also look at encouraging eligible groups to get their COVID-19 jab, as well as advice on getting your second on vaccinations. There is also information about mental health support and services for people affected by Alzheimer’s, which is available to you or someone you know and we have included a free copy of the Your Health Matters leaflet with information about NHS services in Essex. Please keep safe and continue to play your part in protecting others.

Why community engagement matters

COVID-19 has made pre-existing health inequalities starker and generated fresh injustice and the stakes could not be higher, yet the barriers to change are significant and complex. While incredibly challenging, the past 12 months really has shown the power of collaboration. COVID-19 has seen a shift in how, when there is a clear shared purpose, the NHS, Local Authorities and the voluntary and community sector in health and care can meaningfully engage with their local communities. Over the last year, partners have worked together to take stock, to clarify roles and purpose, and to identify opportunities to work together for fairness in health across all communities. A recent example was a bespoke COVID-19 vaccination clinic at a Southend Mosque, delivered by Dr Siddique from the Southend Medical Centre, working together as a Primary Care Network (PCN). You can see, who delivered the clinic by visiting Mid & South Essex Health and Care Partnership Youtube channel.

Mental health issues have been in the headline a lot recently, with the impact of the COVID -19 lockdown hitting people hard across the nation, young and old. This has resulted in increased level of stress, anxiety, depressions leading to people looking for ways to alleviate their distress. SilverCloud is an online space, that’s secure, anonymous, supportive and free from stigma that uses proven methods of helping people suffering mental health issue and can be accessed without a GP referral. All you need to do is sign up and log on day or night. This gives you the time to access therapy when and where you want at a time to suit you. The programme consist of informative and interactive modules which you can complete at your own pace to help improve your wellbeing and you can access support using the application. A supporter from North Essex IAPT will guide you through the SilverCloud programme at your own pace, where you will learn effective ways of managing feelings of anxiety, depression and stress. You will have up to six online reviews with your supporter, roughly every two weeks, to help you make progress. Why not sign up today by visiting https://midessex.silvercloudhealth.com/signup

Bowel cancer is the UK’s second biggest killer cancer, but it doesn’t have to be like this as it is treatable and curable, especially when diagnosed at an early stage. Here are some of the common symptoms of bowel cancer: • Bleeding from the bottom and blood in poo • Persistent and unexplained change in bowel habit • Sudden and unexplained weight loss • Being easily fatigued with no obvious reason or cause • Pain or a lump in the tummy For more information about bowel cancer visit: www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk


Alzheimers Support and Services There are currently around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and it is projected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040. 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia, with over 42,000 people under 65 with dementia the condition and it is predicted that 209,600 will develop dementia this year. Of this group Alzheimers is the most common type affecting between 50 and 75 per cent of those diagnosed. Dementia is a hugely distressing disease as it affects the brain and may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problemsolving or language. Sadly, this condition is progressive, severe and incurable and is impacts not only the sufferer but loved ones as well, therefore we are working with Essex County Council, voluntary groups, community providers and NHS partners on more integrated dementia care and support through the Dementia Intensive Support Service, or DISS. This service is a one-stop mental and physical care for people across Braintree District, Chelmsford City and Maldon District who live with dementia, offering both early intervention that can help people to stay in their own homes and crisis care if their condition deteriorates rapidly. If you would like more information about the services offered by DISS, please contact 01245 515 313

JUST THINK 111 FIRST JUST THINK When you think you need A&E, 111 FIRST contact NHS 111 by phone or online. When you think you need A&E, contact NHS 111 by phone or online.

Know the Symptoms: recognising the symptoms of cancer

We are urging anyone experiencing any symptoms that could potentially be cancer, to go and see their GP as soon as possible.

It’s important for people to be aware of any unexplained changes to their body, or signs and symptoms that are unusual for them.

If cancer is diagnosed early, treatment is more likely to be successful and the chances of survival are much better. More information: www.msehealthandcarepartnership. co.uk/clear-on-cancer


Information to help you take control of your health

Right now, looking after ourselves is more important than ever. Everyone’s health is unique to them, as are the things that will help improve their wellbeing. There are lots of free tools, tips and resources to help you take care of your health and wellbeing. This booklet contains information and ideas about what’s available to help people to look after themselves and those they care for. Look after you too, because your health matters.



CONTENTS Local inspiration


Make the most out of online tools


Keep active for better health


Look after your mental health


Make the most out of wider health professionals and services


Health, wellbeing and social support locally


Get help when you need it


Worried about symptoms that you think could be cancer?


Coronavirus (covid-19) support




Spotlight on… Billy, 26, Rochford, Essex Billy talks about why keeping active with a long-term health condition is so important and what matters to him when it comes to being healthy.

I live with a long-term condition called Fibromyalgia and being active allows me to stay healthy and well, regardless of the fact at times my condition can be hard to manage. I have found various ways to help cope and manage with my daily symptoms and pain. I like participating in events and campaigns that keep me motivated to keep active, and I also like the influence this has on helping other people to be active.


Please visit our website to read Billy’s full case study: bit.ly/ myhealthmattersmse

MY HEALTH MATTERS BECAUSE… We would like to raise awareness of local people across communities in mid and south Essex taking control of their health and wellbeing in different ways. We’re interested in ways people are connecting with local areas, certain tools or resources to support their wellbeing. By sharing their stories, we hope to inspire and empower others to do the same. If you have a story to share please contact us by emailing meccg.essex. incident.comms@nhs.net with ‘My Health Matters campaign’ in the subject line or get involved by using the hashtag #MyHealthMattersMSE on social media. You can also use this form by visiting: bit.ly/mhmsubmission to submit a case study if you are interested in taking part and being a featured case study in future.


MAKE THE MOST OUT OF ONLINE TOOLS While we know digital tools aren’t for everyone, 96% of households across the UK had access to the internet in January to February 20201 – which is a major shift to online. It’s now easier than ever to take advantage of all that’s on offer digitally to help people easily access trusted information and advice from home.

HEALTH APPS LIBRARY Visit the NHS health apps library for a range of apps and digital tools to help you manage your health and wellbeing. Visit: www.nhs.uk/apps-library

NHS ESSEX CHILD HEALTH APP The NHS Essex Child Health app is designed to give parents, grandparents and carers across Essex NHS advice about children’s health.

THE NHS WEBSITE For information about conditions, treatments, medicines, NHS services and more. Visit: www.nhs.uk

Visit: bit.ly/childhealthapp

NHS APP Download the NHS App to: • get trusted health advice •

book appointments

• order repeat prescriptions. Visit: www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/ online-services/nhs-app/



HEALTH AND CARE VIDEOS Visit the health and care video library to access more than 600 videos used as part of care offered by NHS doctors. The videos focus on a range of topics, including diabetes, cancer, pregnancy and mental health .

Office for National Statistics, Internet access – households and individuals, Great Britain: 2020, August 2020

LIVING HEALTHIER Visit www.nhs.uk/better-health for advice, tips and tools to help you make informed choices about your health and wellbeing, including how to: Lose weight www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/ start-the-nhs-weight-loss-plan/ Eat well www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well Help with stress, anxiety and depression www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress -anxiety-depression Exercise www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/ couch-to-5k-week-by-week

SELF-CARE FORUM Visit www.selfcareforum.org/ fact-sheets for information about common ailments and how to handle the possible symptoms of a range of conditions.

HELPFUL READING Visit www.reading-well.org.uk for a range of helpful books recommended by health experts, as well as people with lived experience of the conditions and topics covered including their relatives and carers.

NEED HELP ACCESSING ONLINE RESOURCES? NEED MEDICAL ADVICE? NHS 111 online is a great source of information if you’re not sure about a medical issue and need help or advice. More information is available by visiting 111.nhs.uk online.

If you need support with accessing online resources, why not ask a friend or a member of the family to help you? You can also get practical advice from local organisations (see page 12) or social prescribers (see page 10).

The 111 online service asks questions about your symptoms to help you get the help you need. You can also dial 111 on your phone if you cannot get the help you need online.


KEEP ACTIVE FOR BETTER HEALTH Many of us have had to spend more time at home which can make it harder to keep active. However, it’s important to continue to do what you can to help with your physical and mental health.

Active Essex is the Sport and Physical Activity Partnership for Greater Essex. They have lots of resources and tools to help people to keep active, including from home. Visit: www.activeessex.org


COUCH TO 5K Couch to 5K is a running planfor absolute beginners. The programme will help you gradually work up towards running 5km in just 9 weeks. Visit: www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/get running-with-couch-to-5k

BEING ACTIVE WITH A LONG-TERM HEALTH CONDITION When you’re managing a long-term health condition, being active is about finding what works for you. We Are Undefeatable have a range of ideas and resources to help you start your journey to being active. Visit: www.weareundefeatable.co.uk

LOOK AFTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH ACCESS TO PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES Across mid and south Essex, you can access support via local IAPT services (Improving Access to Psychological Services). Support can be carried out virtually face to face, over the phone, through webinars or guided self-help. Find more information about local services in: • Basildon and Brentwood by visiting: www.basildonandbrentwoodccg .nhs.uk/your-health/mental-health services

Every Mind Matters provides expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing. Visit: www.nhs.uk/oneyou/ every-mind-matters/


Talking therapies, or psychological therapies, are effective and confidential treatments • Mid Essex (Braintree, Chelmsford delivered by fully trained and accredited NHS and Maldon) by visiting: practitioners. They can help with common www.midessexccg.nhs.uk/livewell/ mental health problems like stress, anxiety and mentalhealth depression. • South East Essex (Castle Point, Rochford Visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress- and Southend) by visiting: anxiety-depression/free-therapy www.therapyforyou.co.uk or-counselling/ • Thurrock by visiting: www.thurrockccg.nhs.uk/your-health/ mental-health-services


(including specialist mental health services) Health organisations across mid and south Essex have developed a range of local guides to help signpost people to the right mental health services for them.

Making better choices today can have a big impact on your health. One You is there to help you get healthier and feel better with free tips, tools and support. Whether it’s moving more, eating more healthily or checking yourself – One You can help you make small, practical changes that fit in with your life.

Visit: www.msehealthandcarepartnership. co.uk/mental-wellbeing-support/ guides-to-essex-mental-health- Visit: www.nhs.uk/oneyou/ services/


SUPPORT IN YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY TREAT MINOR HEALTH CONDITIONS Local pharmacists are experts in minor health conditions and medicines. They can help answer questions about your prescriptions, offer clinical advice and overthe-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses. For more information about certain medicines, search ‘medicine cabinet’ on www.nhs.uk

DENTAL PROBLEMS You can find a local dentist by visiting www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-dentist. Use NHS 111 online (111.nhs.uk) if you do not have a dentist and you need urgent dental treatment.


MINOR EYE AND VISION PROBLEMS If you have any eye or vision concerns, please visit your local optician. Visit www.nhs.uk and search “Find an optician near you”. Your optician may refer you to the Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS) if you have eye pain, sudden loss of vision, foreign bodies, lid problems or flashes and floaters.

PRACTICAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT Social prescribers (or link workers) are now available at many GP practices locally. They can help connect you and your family to specialist organisations across Essex. Social prescribers focus on what matters to people and take a holistic approach to a person’s health and wellbeing. They connect people to community groups and statutory services for practical and emotional support. You can find out more by contacting the local social prescribing services detailed on the opposite page or via your GP practice.

LIVE WELL LINK WELL Live Well Link Well is a free and confidential social prescribing service in Essex that provides practical or emotional support of a non-medical nature. If you are living in Essex and are aged over 18, you can contact the service directly without having to go through your GP. Visit: www.midessexccg.nhs.uk/ livewell/live-well-link-well

CAVS WAYS TO WELLNESS CAVS Ways to Wellness is a social prescribing scheme for people who live in Castle Point and Rochford. Social prescribing is when health professionals refer patients to support in the community, to improve their health and wellbeing. Visit: www.essexlocaloffer.org.uk/listing/ cavs-ways-wellness/ Phone: 01268 638 405 Email: office@cavsorg.uk

Phone: 0300 303 9988 Email: livewell.linkwell@nhs.net


HEALTH, WELLBEING AND SOCIAL SUPPORT LOCALLY We want to make everyone aware about all that is on offer across mid and south Essex to help keep people well.

LIVEWELL ESSEX The livewell campaign is designed to engage communities, families and individuals with the aim of providing information about what’s on offer across Essex to improve health and wellbeing. Visit: www.livewellcampaign.co.uk Email: livewell@braintree.gov.uk

ESSEX WELLBEING SERVICE The Essex Wellbeing Service offers free and confidential support with: • Stopping smoking • Healthy eating • Increasing physical activity • Long-term condition management • Increasing confidence • Self-esteem and resilience • Volunteering • Everyday support. Please note, the Essex Wellbeing Service is for those living in areas covered by Essex County Council. Visit: www.essexwellbeingservice.co.uk Phone: 0300 303 9988


LIVEWELL SOUTHEND Livewell Southend are a self-serve website that gives the community information such as; •

Local services

Housing advice

Debt advice

Mental health support

Bereavement support

Healthy living

Visit: www.livewellsouthend.com Email: livewell@southend.gov.uk

THURROCK HEALTHY LIFESTYLE SERVICES Thurrock Healthy Lifestyle Service offers an initial assessment of your health. Depending on the results of the assessment, you can get free help to improve your health. This includes: • stopping smoking • having a healthy weight • physical activity programmes • NHS health checks Phone: 0800 292 2299 Email: THLS@thurrock.gov.uk You can also check out Thurrock First for adult social care, mental health, care in the community and where to get help for a wealth of other health problems. Phone: 01375 511 000 Email: thurrock.first@thurrock.gov.uk

THE ESSEX MAP The Essex Map is another useful free tool designed to bring communities closer together by helping you to find the services, groups and activities available in your area. Please be aware that services and activities may vary due to coronavirus. Visit: www.essexmap.co.uk


GET HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT While everyone is being told to stay at home, it can be hard to know what to do if you’re unwell.


Speak to a local pharmacist – for help with minor health conditions. You can find a local pharmacy online by visiting www.nhs.uk/service-search/pharmacy/ find-a-pharmacy

For help from a GP – useyour GP surgery’s Chances are that it isn’t cancer, but finding website,use an online service or app,or call cancer early improves your chances of successful treatment. the surgery

• For urgent medical help – use the NHS 111 online service by visiting 111.nhs.uk online or call 111 if you’re unable to get help online •

For life-threatening emergencies – call 999 for an ambulance.

If you’re advised to go to hospital, it’s important to go. Visit:



If you are experiencing any symptoms that aren’t normal for you and you’re worried, it’s really important to speak to your GP as soon as possible.

Local health organisations enlisted the help of doctors across Essex to explain how to recognise and identify the signs and symptoms of some of the most common cancers. Visit: www.msehealthandcare partnership.co.uk/clear-on-cancer

Please also remember to continue attending important appointments for cancer, such as screening appointments and those that are used to diagnose or treat cancer.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) SUPPORT Get the latest advice about coronavirus, including information about symptoms, selfisolation and testing. Find out about coronavirus by visiting www.nhs.uk/conditions/ coronavirus-covid-19 Download the NHS COVID-19 app by visiting www.covid19.nhs.uk


MANAGING COVID-19 SYMPTOMS AT HOME Check out the COVID-19 self-care guides which have lots of advice for treating symptoms of Coronavirus at home. Visit: www.essexcovidvaccine.nhs.uk/ covid-self-care/

LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF WHEN ISOLATING AT HOME This leaflet has lots of useful information for people with suspected coronavirus who will be isolating at home. Visit: www.essexcovidvaccine.nhs.uk/ information-support/coronavirus testing

The COVID-19 vaccination programme across Essex is well underway with thousands of people vaccinated already. For more information about the local rollout, please visit the Essex COVID-19 Vaccination Programme website. Visit:



If you need an alternative version of this leaflet (e.g. a translated or large print version), please email: meccg.essex.incident.comms@nhs.net

Website: www.msehealthandcarepartnership.co.uk Telephone: 01268 594 543 Address: Mid and South Essex Health and Care

Partnership Phoenix House Christopher Martin Road Basildon Essex SS14 3HG

© NHS Mid and South Essex CCGs, 2021