Help shape future of stroke services

Stroke services in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire could be set to change as part of a consultation on proposed improvements.

Stroke can affect anyone at any age at any time. It is a life threatening condition and the fourth biggest killer in the UK. 1 in 8 people who have a stroke die within a month. 1 in 4 die within a year.

The proposals include the creation of a specialist emergency stroke unit at Southmead Hospital which would provide expert emergency treatment for everyone in the area.

Changes to ongoing hospital care are included, with the creation of either one, or two specialist stroke units at Southmead Hospital and The Bristol Royal Infirmary.

Two inpatient stroke rehab units are also being put forward – one on the Weston General Hospital site, and a second in either Bristol or South Gloucestershire.

A public consultation on the proposals will be running until 3 September.

To find out more about the proposals and have your say, visit bnssghealthiertogether.org.uk/stroke-services/, call on 0117 900 3432 or write to freepost STROKE CONSULTATION (you won’t need a stamp).

Bristol City Council priority consultation.

Bristol City Council are asking people to tell them what they think about our proposed priorities for Bristol for the next five years as Bristol recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alternative formats of the survey can be requested in another language, Braille, audio tape, large print, easy read, BSL video or CD-ROM or plain text by emailing consultation@bristol.gov.uk or calling 0117 922 2848.  

You can take part at bristol.gov.uk/corporatestrategy2021

PCR testing for close contacts

The rules on self-isolation if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 have changed. 

From Monday (16 August), both people who are double vaccinated and under 18-year-olds no longer legally have to self-isolate if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 . 

You are strongly advised to have a PCR test as soon as possible.  Remember, the PCR test is not the same as the lateral flow (rapid) tests you use at home.

lateral flow tests are sometimes called rapid tests.  These tests give you an answer straight away but are not as accurate as the PCR test.  You can get them from your local pharmacy.

Once you have taken your PCR test you don’t have to self-isolate while you wait for the result.  However, you are advised to take extra measures like wearing face coverings when inside buildings and limiting contact with others, especially clinically vulnerable people. 

Find out how to get your free PCR on GOV.UK.

Nasal only rapid tests

The government has begun rolling out packs of nasal only lateral flow (rapid) tests, called ACON Flowflex, across the country. We will soon begin to see these tests in Bristol as stocks are renewed.

These tests are being introduced alongside, and in some cases to replace, the nose and mouth swabs, to make the testing process less unpleasant and more efficient when doing them from home.

The test works in the same way as the current nose and mouth tests, but instead of swabbing your throat as well, you only have to swab the nose. This test is best used by people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19.

Before taking a home test, it is advised you try to:

avoid eating, drinking, smoking or vaping 30 minutes before or during the test
avoid taking the test if it is damaged
throw away all the test materials, once you’re done, in household waste
wash your hands before and after use

No tests will be wasted – so you may still be able to pick up some nose and mouth tests for some time. Please make sure to read the instructions on your testing pack thoroughly before and during use.

If you have symptoms of the virus, self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test which is analysed in a laboratory.

To remind yourself how to do a nose and mouth test, visit the GOV.uk website

To read the instructions for the nasal only tests, visit the GOV.uk website

If you’d like any information on COVID-19 in Bristol or want to know anything about it, head to our Coronavirus Updates page.

Changes to self-isolation guidance

From Monday 16 August, double jabbed individuals and under 18s no longer need to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

Those identified as close contacts will still be advised to take a PCR test, which can be booked on the government website or by calling 119.

Anyone under 18 who has been identified as a close contact will receive advice on whether they need to get tested or not. When getting a PCR test, you will not need to isolate between getting a test and receiving the result but the advice would be to minimise social contact and wear face coverings in the meantime.

You are classed as being fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of the vaccine. If you’ve not received your vaccine yet it’s not too late.

The NHS COVID-19 app will also update in line with the new guidance, so if you are pinged by the app but have been fully vaccinated you will not need to self-isolate.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you will still need to self-isolate if you are identified as a close contact of a positive case.

Despite these changes the pandemic is not over and the virus is still with us. Please do what you can to protect yourself and others in Bristol.

If you’d like any information on COVID-19 in Bristol or want to know anything about it, head to our Coronavirus Updates page.

Cabot Circus vaccination walk-in clinic now open

Logo for Cabot Circus - white text on black background which reads 'Cabot Circus Bristol'.

A new city centre vaccination walk-in centre has opened at Cabot Circus.

The centre, which will run every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 7pm until Saturday 2 October, is located next to Five Guys and Claire’s on the upper ground floor of the shopping centre.

The Pfizer vaccine will be available for people who are over the age of 17-and-three-quarters. You can get your first or second dose, as long as your first dose was eight weeks ago.

Vaccination remains one of the key tools in the fight against COVID-19. Even if you’ve had the virus, you do still need to go and have your vaccination. It’s also really important that you attend your appointment for your second dose of the vaccine. Best protection is given when you are fully vaccinated.

To find a full list of walk-in clinics visit the Healthier Together website.

If you’d like any information on COVID-19 in Bristol or want to know anything about it, head to our Coronavirus Updates page.

New Skills Bootcamps in West of England to Connect People to Employment from the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and Institute of Coding (IoC)

A group of local universities, further education colleges, councils, small business partners and Deloitte are working together to respond to the UK’s digital skills gap, with a focus on the South West. This group has been chosen by the Department for Education to deliver a series of funded Skills Bootcamps in digital subjects at locations across the region.

This programme of Skills Bootcamps will provide learners with digital skills courses, deliver resilient pathways to work and create a new, skilled talent pool for local employers.

The University of Bath, Bath Spa University, the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), Wiltshire College & University Centre and Gloucestershire University have collaborated with the Institute of Coding, iStart/Restart, Deloitte and Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation to develop and deliver six new Skills Bootcamps.

They will be offering short courses in much needed digital skills. Topics will include creative computing, cyber security, data science, software engineering, games development and agritech.

These Skills Bootcamps will be provided in close collaboration with the Department for Work and Pensions, local Jobcentres, the West of England Combined Authority, Swindon and Wiltshire local enterprise partnerships and the GFirst LEP (based in Gloucester). These groups will provide links to local employers to ensure that Skills Bootcamp learners find meaningful employment upon the successful completion of their course.

This builds on work by each of the partners to create new pathways to digital skills and represents the local part of the national initiative.

Through this collaborative approach, group members will ensure that each step of the Skills Bootcamp journey is high-quality and tailored to meet the needs of employers and those looking to upskill to boost their employability.

Future learners and interested employers can learn more about the Skills Bootcamps on offer at: https://instituteofcoding.org/skillsbootcamps/search/?_sfm_course_area_boot=South%20West

Coronavirus Testing and Vaccinations Update

Image of a collection of items related to Coronavirus - a blue surgical face mask, blue surgcal gloves, loo roll, hand sanitizer, vacine and a phone showing the NHS Test and Trace system.

Rapid Testing Van Schedule for Week of 9th August

Bristol City Council’s Public Health Department are running mobile testing vans that are in various locations. See below for information on where and when.

Morning slots (9am to 12 midday):

Tuesday 10 August Tesco, Brislington, BS4 5AY
Tuesday 10 August Wellspring Shops, Beam Street, BS5 9QY
Wednesday 11 August Withywood Centre, BS13 8AQ
Wednesday 11 August Easton Leisure Centre, BS5 0SW
Thursday 12 August Morrisons Harcliffe, BS13 0BE
Thursday 12 August Lockleaze Hub, BS7 9FB
Friday 13 August Tesco Eastville, BS5 6XU
Friday 13 August Greenway Centre, BS10 5PY
Saturday 14 August Broadwalk Shops, BS4 2QU
Saturday 14 August St Weburghs Community Centre, BS2 9TJ

Afternoon slots (2pm to 5pm):

Tuesday 10 August Stockwood Shops, BS14 8PL
Tuesday 10 August St Pauls Learning Centre, BS2 8XJ
Wednesday 11 August Filwood Broadway shops, BS4 1JN
Wednesday 11 August Easttrees Medical Practice, BS5 6SA
Thursday 12 August Asda Whitchurch, BS14 0ST
Thursday 12 August St Peter’s Church, Lawrence Weston, BS11 0QE
Friday 13 August St George Park, Chalk Road Car Park, BS5 9AA
Friday 13 August Southmead Library, BS10 6AS
Saturday 14 August Tesco, Brislington, BS4 5AY
Saturday 14 August Horfield Leisure Centre, BS7 0XW

Sunday slots:

Sunday 15 August, 10am to 4pm at

Imperial Retail Park, BS13 7TJ
Morrisons Fishponds, BS16 3US

New Vaccination Centre

A new vaccination walk-in centre has opened in Cabot Circus today (12 August). It’ll be running every Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11am – 7pm from now until Saturday 2 October.

The Pfizer vaccine will be available for people who are 17 3/4 and over for their first vaccination or their second dose if their first dose was 8 weeks ago.

The National Disability Strategy – Our Response

Graphic which shows the logos of Bristol Disability Equality Forum (four coloured diamonds with graphic on each showing a different Disability with the words Bristol Disability Equality Forum') and the UK Government's website (graphic of a white crown on a black backdrop with white text underneath the crown reading 'GOV.UK') on a white backdrop overlapping a green backdrop. Text in black on a yellow rectangle reads 'The National Disability Strategy - Our Response'.

On Wednesday 28 July, the Government released their National Disability Strategy. The Government say that the strategy sets out their ideas on how to improve the everyday lives of Disabled people.

You can read the strategy here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-disability-strategy?utm_source=https%3a%2f%2fnews.dwp.gov.uk%2fdwplz%2f&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DC+Newsletter+Extra+2+July+2021&utm_term=National+Disability+Strategy+%3a+new+look+Jobhelp+campaign&utm_content=89008

We at the Forum, and many others, are frustrated by the strategy and don’t think it will improve Disabled people’s lives very much.

It is a strategy created without enough involvement of those with lived experience and their Disabled people-led (staff and trustees) organisations.

It is yet another government strategy that has no details about:
a. how Government will measure the difference it makes,
b. how it will make sure it achieves permanent improvements in Disabled people’s lives, according to Disabled people themselves, and
c. whether the changes made are the best solutions to Disabled people’s priorities.

When the Forum met with the Minister for Disabled People (Justin Tomlinson MP), we said the lack of involvement of organisations with a majority of Disabled staff and trustees, and of Disabled people themselves is not acceptable.

Those who were consulted about the strategy were organisations for Disabled people (not run by them), carers, employers, businesses and non-Disabled staff of organisations run by Disabled people, etc.

The Minister also said that he discussed the strategy with his Regional Disability Networks. When we asked how many people this had involved it turned out that his team had spoken to an average of 25 people per region and, when we asked for more details, he could not say how many of these were Disabled people themselves, or organisations run by Disabled people!

This clearly shows neglect for the Government’s supposed commitment to the principle of ‘Nothing About Us Without Us‘ and ‘person-centred‘ planning.

The Government has also stopped having any meetings of its own advisory group of Disabled people’s organisations, despite their promise to work with Disabled people.

This follows the Government’s lack of concern about the impact on Disabled people of decisions they made about the Coronavirus pandemic and tells us that individual Disabled people need to become more active within Disabled people-run organisations.

It is really important that Disabled people do this so that their organisations can show that we do not represent just a small part of the UK’s Disabled citizens. This is essential if we are to get your voice heard.

According to the Minister for Disabled People, Disabled people will be consulted about what the Government need to do to achieve the aims of the strategy, and what impact their actions will have on Disabled people. So we asked him to commit to discussing it with us.

We are waiting to get a written invitation but are not holding our breath!

Designing COVID-19 community solutions with CHAS Bristol

CHAS Bristol logo - whole graphic is made up of text which reads 'CHAS BRISTOL Housing Advice Service'. Most of the text is in black apart from the word 'CHAS' which is in a bright red.

CHAS Housing Advice Service, a community-led charity that provides free legal advice to those facing housing or homelessness issues in Bristol, want to hear from Bristol’s Disabled community about working together and the impacts on local communities from Covid-19.

“We know that this year has been a difficult year for everyone. A lot of us have felt less safe in our homes. Money, jobs and food have at times been limited, debts may have risen, increased isolation may have left us feeling lonely and some of us may have experienced abuse or discrimination in or around our homes.

That’s why we’re keen to reach out to Bristol’s Disabled community to understand the issues COVID-19 has presented, to understand what the emerging community needs are and explore how CHAS Bristol could work closer with Disabled groups to create a stronger future through working together.” (Pieter Roden – Project Coordinator and Administrator)

They have sent us a brief 5-minute survey where you can tell them about your experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the issues that have been faced.

You can find the online survey here: https://forms.gle/9hMazcaHmZyFHv6h8

An Easy-Read version can also be downloaded at the link below. If you need any assistance with either survey or want it in any other format, you can find contact details here.