Our COVID-19 response

The NHS is facing the greatest global health threat in its history. A huge collective effort is underway with the NHS mobilising to change the way that hospitals and GP practices run, freeing up tens of thousands of beds, bringing in more staff and ventilators, getting protective equipment to where it is needed and ramping up testing. 

In March 2020, NHS South East London CCG established a Covid-19 control centre to provide control and command, co-ordination and decision-making across the integrated care system (ICS) covering:

  • System management of COVID-19 – overall coordination, system oversight and management, along with convening system calls/approaches and ensuring agreed approaches across the ICS where required
  • Information cascade and issue escalation – supports the efficient dissemination of information and escalation of issues that require regional attention
  • Single point of contacts and co-ordination capacity – for the region, along with south east London-wide co-ordination and oversight of Covid-19 returns and workstreams, and logging of key discussions and actions.
  • CCG response – supporting the CCG’s direct response, including the co-ordination of workstream leads, subject matter experts and utilisation of CCG staff to contribute to system working

Several workstreams and subject matter expert groups have been set up that work across south east London.  Example of the workstreams include: primary and community care; acute care; demand and capacity; discharge; estates; and PPE and supplies. In addition, there are a number of areas which have identified subject matter expertise (SME) support such as mental health and learning disabilities services, information technology and care homes.

Whilst the workstreams have been established across south east London, supported and co-ordinated by the CCG working with system partners to ensure a collaborative approach, each of the organisations involved retains its own governance and decision-making arrangements.

CCG Staff COVID-19 Risk Assessments

In line with the requirements set out by NHS England/Improvement on 24 June 2020 in relation to staff COVID-19 risk assessments, all NHS organisations are publishing information in relation to their performance in this area.  As at 24 July 2020, the CCG had received completed risk assessments for just over 70% of its workforce.  78% of BAME staff in the organisation have been risk assessed – with 76% of those BAME staff aged over 55 having been risk assessed. The majority of the CCG’s staff continue to work from home, with those who choose or need to travel into the office adhering fully to Government advice. 

The process remains open and the CCG’s staff continue to be encouraged to participate, whether this is to have the risk assessment with their line manager (or a member of the human resources team, if preferred), or to register a decline.  Further risk assessments will be undertaken closer to the time at which the CCG re-introduces staff to the organisation’s office bases, where appropriate, prioritising those known to be at high risk.

Answers to common questions being asked frequently by people locally in south east London.

It is vital that people follow the expert guidance and wash their hands, stay alert and use the NHS responsibly so that services are there for those who really need it.

Use the NHS 111 online symptom checker to find out what you should do.

There is a huge amount of information available about Covid-19. The national guidelines on the pages below are updated regularly and will always contain the most accurate information relating to Covid-19.

Face coverings when using NHS services

All patients and visitors to NHS services must wear a face covering at all times.  This includes hospitals, community clinics and GP services.  Evidence has confirmed that face coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission if you are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.   

The government has set out advice for people on how to make their own face coverings easily at home, using scarves or other textile items. These face coverings should cover the mouth and nose, whilst allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably and can be as simple as a scarf or bandanna that ties behind the head to give a snug fit.

Please wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting on a face covering and after taking it off. Please avoid touching your face covering whilst wearing it to avoid transmission of the virus. If you attend an appointment without a face covering, you will be provided with a face mask in an emergency.

In South East London, we are taking action to make sure the NHS is able to care for patients who are admitted to hospital because of coronavirus, and also to ensure patients with other urgent health problems get the treatment they need. All health and care organisations are legally required to share and process data. This will ensure health and care professionals have access to vital information to make quicker, safer decisions about your care.  Changes to opt out during the Covid-19 pandemic mean that even if you previously opted out of sharing your health and care record, it will now be visible to London organisations providing you with care.  Our Privacy Policy explains more about what this means.

Public Health England has provided guidance for health professionals, which is being updated regularly – Public Health England (PHE) guidance for health professionals.

Testing for COVID-19 is available to both frontline healthcare workers and their families as well as other essential workers who cannot work from home.

The government has expanded the scope and capacity for testing of key workers. More frontline workers are now eligible for testing and can book for either drive through or home testing.  The capacity of both of these services is expanding rapidly, which means that staff who are self-isolating will be able to get a test promptly so that they can take appropriate steps or return to work where possible.

All health and care staff, including those working part time and contractors, are eligible for testing if they:

  • Are self-isolating due to COVID-19 symptoms
  • Do not have symptoms, but members of their household do – in this case the household member can get tested too

The test work best in the first three days of someone developing symptoms, so it’s important that people book a test as soon as they think they may have the virus.