Follow the rules to beat virus urge Gloucestershire NHS leaders
By Rob Freeman | 7th January 2021
Health and care leaders in Gloucestershire have warned of rising hospital admission and a surge in Covid-19 cases if people do not follow lockdown restrictions.
Admissions to hospitals have risen to 60 per cent higher than the peak of the first wave of the pandemic, placing pressure on hospitals and other services.
Mary Hutton, accountable officer at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and One Gloucestershire Integrated Care System lead, said: "We are urging people to take every possible precaution to help reduce transmission.
"There are potentially very serious implications for the NHS if we do not rapidly get this virus under control.
"The lockdown is needed to protect local people and local health services."
Her words were echoed by Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Deborah Lee.
She said: "NHS and care staff across Gloucestershire are doing an incredible job in the face of ever-growing pressures and the efforts being made to keep essential services functioning are outstanding.
"We are asking people to act with renewed vigour, think of their families and communities and do everything in their power to save lives and protect the NHS."
The trust's medical director Dr Amjad Uppal insisted the warnings were not about scaring people.
He said: "It is our responsibility to spell out the implications of not adhering to the lockdown rules.
"It's about taking personal responsibility - staying at home wherever possible, exercising social distancing and wearing a face covering when going out for essential reasons and considering the impact of our actions on vulnerable people like older relatives."
Gloucestershire's director of public health Sarah Scott said "tremendous sacrifices" made over the past year had not ended the "very real risks to health, life and health and social care services".
She said: "The Covid-19 vaccination programme is a great step forward and it is fantastic to see it being rolled out so quickly across the county, but it does not mean we can let our guards down.
"National restrictions are in place because of the very serious threat from Covid-19 and we must do everything we can to prevent case numbers from climbing and protecting those who are most at risk from the virus."
Tens of thousands have been vaccinated in Gloucestershire with support from NHS staff, GP practices and volunteers.
Chief nurse Professor Steve Hams, lead for the county's vaccination programme, said: "We are extremely proud of everyone involved in getting the Covid-19 community vaccination programme off the ground and as a result the county has been at the vanguard of the vaccination effort."
The Edward Jenner Vaccination Hub at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital has been joined by a network of 10 community vaccination centres around the county.
Dr Andy Seymour, clinical chair of NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "Those involved have truly pulled out all the stops in the face of very challenging timescales.
"Gloucestershire is at the forefront of the COVID-19 community vaccination response and well placed to benefit from the imminent increase in vaccine supplies."
He said: "Enormous progress has been made with vaccinating frontline staff, over-80s and care home residents and there is a real focus on vaccinating the top priority groups over the coming weeks.
"We know that people are thinking of family members and many people in the priority groups are keen to receive their first doses of the vaccine as soon as possible.
"Our message is please wait for your GP surgery to contact you - we will get to you and tremendous strides are being made."
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