Coronavirus News

Posted December 13, 2021

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.


Booster jabs will be offered to everyone over 18 in England from this week, the PM has announced, as he declared an “Omicron emergency”

Everyone aged 18 and over in England will have the chance to get their booster vaccine before the end of the year to combat the threat of rising Omicron variant cases, Boris Johnson has announced.

Mr Johnson gave his update in a TV statement on Sunday evening, just hours after the UK’s Covid alert level was raised to four due to the spread of the new Omicron virus variant.

Level four means a high or rising level of transmission – the last time the UK was at this level was in May.

The COVID booster programme was due to be opened to over 30s today, but Mr Johnson said every adult who had their second vaccine at least three months before will now be able to book a booster jab from Wednesday.

Data published on Friday suggests that vaccine efficacy against symptomatic infection is substantially reduced against Omicron with just two doses, but a third dose boosts protection back up to over 70%.

People have also been told to work from home from Monday “if they can”, as work-from-home guidance is reintroduced in England as part of the government’s Plan B measures.

Click here or on the image above to read more details.


NCT Covid vaccine Q&A


Pregnant Covid Vaccine information


Booster Vaccine Update

01/12/2021 – Updated Coronavirus rules in Easy Read

To help stop the spread of the new Omicron covid-19 variant, face mask and self isolation rules have been updated. 

Click here or on the image above to read the details in Easy Read.


Updated face covering guidance to prevent the spread of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant in the UK will come into force on Tuesday

From 4am on Tuesday 30th November, face coverings will be compulsory in shops and other settings such as banks, post offices and hairdressers, as well as on public transport unless individuals are exempt from doing so.

All travellers arriving into the country from 4am on Tuesday 30 November will be required to take a PCR test on or before day 2 and self isolate until they have received a negative test result. These PCR tests can be purchased from private providers. Free NHS tests are not valid for this purpose.

Click here or on the image above to read more details.


JCVI issues advice for boosters and 2nd doses

COVID-19 vaccine booster

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised adults aged 40 – 49 should be offered an mRNA covid booster.

JCVI Is also advising 16 – 17 year olds, should be offered a 2nd dose of the Pfizer vaccine, 12 weeks or more following their 1st vaccine dose.

Click here or on the image above to read the details.


Ventilation of indoor spaces to stop the spread of Coronavirus

If you are socialising indoors, remember to open a window for a few minutes every now and again to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.

The video above uses smoke to show how the virus can stay in an unventilated room.

Click here to read the guidance which is available in multiple languages and Easy Read.


Booster Vaccine available to book 5 months after second dose

Those aged 50 and over, plus those most at risk, are now able to book their Covid Booster one month earlier; five months after their second dose as opposed to six.

Click here or the image above to read updated details about Booster Vaccines.


Find out where you can get your covid vaccine locally

The community in West Berkshire can book appointments at vaccination sites locally. See the images above and either use the QR code or click here to book your vaccine.

NHS set to deliver COVID-19 jabs in hundreds more schools as students return to class this week

Last week, the national booking system opened so that young people could visit existing vaccination centres across the country together with their parents as an extra way to get vaccinated during half term and beyond.

Hundreds more schools will be offering the COVID-19 vaccine to 12-15-year olds this week when young people return to the classroom, as part of the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme.

NHS teams will visit over 800 schools in the next week to offer children aged 12 to 15 a chance to get vaccinated, with consent from a parent or guardian.

Click here or on the image above to learn more.

Covid booster jabs available at walk-in sites in England

Vaccine being given to patient

About 30 million people who had their second vaccination more than six months ago will be able to get a booster without needing to make an appointment.

The NHS online walk-in finder will let people check their nearest centre.

More than six million people have already had a booster jab or a third dose, NHS England said.

A booster is an extra dose to help people who have been double-jabbed retain their immunity. Separately, a third dose is a top up for those who may not have had a full immune response from the first two doses. These are being given to people with severely weakened immune systems.

Click here or on the image above to read more details.


Book Covid-19 vaccine for 12-15 year olds this half term

Broad Street Mall vaccine centre open for young people. Parents/guardians can book. Vaccine appointments are available 9.30 pm-7 pm, 7 days a week.

Click here or on the image above to book now.

Highest Covid infection rates in West Berkshire

West Berkshire has the highest Covid rate in Berkshire – with cases doubling in the last week. The figures are nearly twice the national average and are reported to be the highest they have been since the start of the pandemic.

The district’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board heard that there was a clear link between the infection rate and false negative results taken at Newbury Showground.

West Berkshire’s service director for communities and wellbeing, Matt Pearce, said:

“We have seen a continued rise in our rates. West Berkshire is ranked worst across the rest of the Berkshire authorities.”, “I am being asked what is causing the rise in the rates from the Imensa lab situation”, “There is certainly an association and a correlation of some kind here.”

Most of the Covid cases are being shown in the 11 to 16 age group.

Click here or on the image above to learn more details.


Care Quality Commission (CQC) annual assessment of health and social care in England

This CQC report looks at the trends, shares examples of good and outstanding care, and highlights where care needs to improve. This is the first State of Care report to cover a full year of the pandemic.

Ian Trenholm, CQC Chief Executive says “Increased stability on funding and a clear workforce plan for social care benefits everyone – but further instability could result in a ripple effect across the wider health and care system which risks becoming a tsunami of unmet need across all sectors, with increasing numbers of people unable to access care.”

Click here or on the image above to learn more.


Community Testing Coverage via Newbury Today

Newbury Today have wrote a piece of news covering our partnership with West Berkshire’s Public Health team and the Community Testing Mobile testing crew.

If you get a copy of the paper there is some additional information alongside this news, firstly about false negative covid-19 results at Newbury Showground, secondly about Kennet Vaccination centre offering walk-in boosters for over 50’s.

You can read the digital version by clicking here or on the image above.

Community Testing Update

Our Chief Officer has been speaking on BBC Radio Berks about community testing as we travel across West Berkshire, encouraging people to take Lateral Flow tests.

You can listen to the audio clip below.

Today (Friday 22nd) the assisted community testing team is at:

Faraday Road Industrial Estate, Newbury, 10:00am – 4:00pm


Lateral flow tests more accurate than first thought

When LFTs were introduced, they were criticised for being less accurate than PCR tests, which are analysed in a lab, but University College London researchers used a new formula for calculating the rapid test’s accuracy, they found LFTs were more than 80% effective at detecting any level of Covid-19 infection and likely to be more than 90% effective at detecting who is most infectious.
This is much higher than previously thought, they say.

Prof Michael Mina, from Harvard School of Public Health, also part of the research team, said the LFTs could “catch nearly everyone who is currently a serious risk to public health” when viral loads are at their peak.

It is most likely that if someone’s LFT is negative but their PCR is positive, then this is because they are not at peak transmissible stage,” he said.

Click here or on the image above to read the details.

Lateral flow tests to be introduced for vaccinated international arrivals

From 24 October fully vaccinated passengers and most under 18s arriving in England from countries not on the red list can take a cheaper lateral flow test, on or before day 2 of their arrival into the UK. These can be booked from 22 October.

Click here or on the image above to read the press release.


False negative test results confirmed at Newbury Showground

Some people who got a negative PCR result from a Covid testing site at Newbury Showground earlier this month are being told to book another test, amid fears they were mistakenly given the all-clear.

Health officials say the problem is “an isolated incident attributed to one laboratory” and that they are investigating the cause.

NHS Test and Trace has now suspended Covid testing provided by a private laboratory in Wolverhampton amid fears up to 43,000 people were given the wrong result.

If you took a PCR test between 3rd – 12th October which was negative, West Berkshire Council are strongly recommend a retest for you and for any close contacts.

West Berkshire Council have also created a webpage, aiming to answer frequently asked questions, or concerns, that residents may have.

Dr Lizzie Mottram – GP at Thatcham Medical Practice has been speaking about incorrect PCR test results, while offering advice about going back to get retested. You can listen to the audio clip below.

Are you one of these people being asked to book another test? How has this impacted you? Get in touch with us, your local Health and Social Care champion in West Berkshire with your feedback to make your voice heard.


Newbury Today Community Testing Coverage

Thanks to all re brilliant Thatcham Festival and nice piece of coverage of the Community Testing team taking part, answering questions, giving out LFT kits (90% accurate) and doing some assisted tests. Look out for them each day across West Berkshire.

How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted people’s mental health?

On Sunday 10th October (World Mental Health Day) Newbury Today published a webpage going over how the pandemic has impacted people’s mental health, referencing our online Thinking Together event.

“There is a big variation in whether, and how much, people have been affected. That was the lesson – since backed up by national research – from the fifth public ‘Thinking Together’ event organised by Healthwatch West Berkshire & The Mental Health Action Group, a sub group of The West Berkshire Health and Well Being Board.

The webpage highlights some of the positive and negative impacts that the pandemic has had on people’s mental health, as discussed at Thinking Together.

If you would like to read this webpage, then click here or on the image above. You can also click here to read about Thinking Together.


Coronavirus: lessons learned to date report

The Health and Social Care Committee published their joint Report with Science and Technology Committee, examining the Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Click here or on the image above to read the report.


Rapid Covid-19 testing information in easy read

Public Health England have produced leaflets in Easy Read going over Rapid Covid-19 testing, what it is, how to order a test, and what you need to do when you get the results of your test.

Click here or the image above to read the details.


Immunosuppressed patients 3rd Covid vaccination update from Royal Berks

This group of patients are being offered a third Covid vaccination instead of a Covid booster jab. If you fall into this category of immunosuppressed patients you will hear from your GP when it is time to have the third vaccination. Please be patient and wait to hear from your surgery. And please try and refrain from ringing them as staff are already handling a huge number of calls.

Our local GPs and hospital consultants are currently discussing the best ways of identifying immunosuppressed patients who will be assessed on an individual basis and a clinical recommendation will then be made as to the best way of administering the third jab. The patients will be notified by their GP about where they should go for their third jab. It could be the surgery or an appropriate site that’s authorised to vaccinate and record this group of patients.

Please note, if you are an immunosuppressed patient and have already had a booster job you will not need a third dose.


Delay for 3rd jabs for most vulnerable criticised

Rollout of third doses of Covid vaccines for vulnerable people with weak immune systems has gone “badly wrong” says charities.

Vaccine experts recommended on 1 September that immunosuppressed patients should be given the extra dose to give them fuller protection.

But Kidney Care UK and Blood Cancer UK say many are still waiting.

NHS England says eligible patients should be offered the third doses by the end of next week.

Studies have shown that people who are immunosuppressed – around 500,000 people in the UK – are unlikely to mount a strong defence against Covid-19, even after two doses of vaccine.

Click here or on the image above to read more details.


Booster Vaccine information

JCVI issues updated advice on COVID-19 booster vaccination - GOV.UK

A coronavirus (COVID-19) booster vaccine dose helps improve the protection you have from your first 2 doses of the vaccine.

It helps give you longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

Who can get a COVID-19 booster vaccine

Booster vaccine doses will be available on the NHS for people most at risk from COVID-19 who have already had 2 doses of a vaccine.

This includes:

  • people aged 50 and over
  • people who live and work in care homes
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • people aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
  • carers aged 16 and over
  • people aged 16 and over who live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)

People who are pregnant and in 1 of the eligible groups can also get a booster dose.

Click HERE to learn more.


Pfizer/BioNTech jab safe for children aged five to 11

A needle with a child behind

The Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is “safe, well tolerated” and produces a “robust” antibody immune response in children aged five to 11, according to the findings of a US trial.

Click here or on the image above to read the details.


The NHS is preparing to offer covid booster jabs from next week

Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the Commons the government had accepted advice from the the JCVI that around 30 million people should be offered a third dose.

This includes over-50s, younger adults with health conditions and frontline health and social care workers.

The Pfizer jab is recommended and it should be given at least six months after the second dose.

Click here or the image above for more details.

Single jab recommended for 12 to 15 year olds by UK’s top doctors

Teen being vaccinated

Healthy children aged 12 to 15 should be offered one dose of a Covid vaccine, the UK’s chief medical officers say.

The CMOs said it would help reduce disruption to education.

It comes after the government’s vaccine committee said there was not enough benefit to warrant it on health grounds alone – but they said ministers could take into account other factors.

The CMOs concluded this tipped the balance given the virus was going to keep spreading over winter.

They said this would continue to cause disruption to face-to-face education given the policy in all parts of the UK asking people who test positive to isolate for 10 days.

Prof Chris Whitty, the lead CMO for the UK, said it was a “difficult decision” and should not be seen as a “silver bullet”.

But he said it could be an “important and useful tool” in reducing school disruption in the coming months and when combined with the marginal health benefit identified by the vaccination committee, meant offering a Covid vaccine to all children was appropriate.

Click here or on the image above to read more details.


JCVI issues updated advice on COVID-19 booster vaccination

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has updated its advice on the COVID-19 vaccine booster programme.

The COVID-19 vaccines provide high levels of protection against hospitalisation or dying from the virus. To maintain this high level of protection through the coming winter, the JCVI is advising that booster vaccines be offered to those more at risk from serious disease, and who were vaccinated during Phase 1 of the vaccine programme (priority groups 1 to 9).

This includes:

  • those living in residential care homes for older adults
  • all adults aged 50 years or over
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19, and adult carers
  • adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals

The JCVI advises that the booster vaccine dose is offered no earlier than 6 months after completion of the primary vaccine course, in the same order as during Phase 1.

Click here to learn more details.

The following guidance applies whenever a patient is conveyed:

Travelling in an ambulance to support an adult with a learning disability

Essential escorts/carers/support workers should not be restricted from travelling with the patient where their support is necessary for the benefit of the patient for example, disabled patients.

Non-essential persons (such as observers, family members) are not to travel within the patient compartment with a suspected or confirmed case, unless the patient is a child who requires conveyance, in this case it is acceptable for a parent or guardian to accompany the child.

Family members and relatives of these patients accompanying these patients may be restricted depending on the identified risk pathway for the patient. All visitors/patient escorts will be required to wear a face covering within the ambulance and should remain in the vehicle saloon.


Local Community Testing Update

Coronavirus testing continues to play a major role protecting your friends and family. Even if you’re double jabbed you can still pass the virus on despite being asymptomatic. To help save lives and protect the community as much as possible, a Community Coronavirus Testing Van will be stopping every day across West Berkshire throughout the month. See locations and times below.

Monday 13th September

  • 12:00pm – 4:00pm Thatcham Memorial Hall, Brownsfield Rd, Thatcham, RG18 3AG

Tuesday 14th September

  • 12:00pm – 4:00pm Newbury College Monks Ln, Newbury, RG14 7TD

Wednesday 15th September

  • 12:30pm – 4:30pm Educafe Bartholomew Street, Newbury, RG14 5EN

Thursday 16th September

  • 2:30pm – 4:00pm Hungerford Town Hall High St, Hungerford, RG17 0NF

Friday 17th September

  • 1:30pm – 2:30pm Riverside Community Centre, Rosemoor Garden, Clay Hill, Newbury, RG14 2FG

Monday 20th September

  • 12:30pm – 3:30pm, Greenham Community Centre, The Nightingales, Newbury, RG14 7SZ

Wednesday 22nd September

  • 12:30pm – 2:00pm, Educafe, Bartholomew Street, Newbury,  RG14 5EN

Saturday 25th September

  • 10:00am – 4:00pm, Rosemoor Gardens, Clay Hill, Newbury, RG14 2FG

Thursday 30th September

  • 12:30pm – 3:30pm, Greenham Community Centre, The Nightingales, Newbury, RG14 7SZ

Friday 1st October

  • 10:00am – 4:00pm, Podium Place Café, 31 Bone Ln, Newbury, RG14 5SH

Please click HERE for more information.


Health on the move van returning to West Berkshire

A specially adapted vaccination van which took to the roads across the country as part of a drive to increase uptake of the Covid jab is returning to West Berkshire.

Healthcare professionals and wellbeing teams will be on board the ‘Health on the Move’ van ready to answer Covid questions and offer people the vaccination. Anyone is welcome to visit the van, they don’t need to be registered with a GP
Please find below the schedule for West Berkshire visits of the Health on the Move Van this week. All these locations are open to those age 16 and over. 

  • Monday 13th, Thatcham Memorial Hall, Brownsfield Rd, Bath Rd, Thatcham RG18 3AG , 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Tuesday 14th,  Newbury College, Monks Ln, Newbury RG14 7TD, 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Thursday 16th, Outside Hungerford Town Hall, High St, Hungerford RG17 0NF, 10:00am – 5:00pm



The Kennet Shopping Vaccination Centre can now administer vaccines to 16-17 year olds. You can either book this using the National Booking System or walk in during our opening hours.
Please be sure to let the front desk know if you are under 18.

Opening Hours are:
Thursday 08:30-17:30
Friday 08:30-17:30
Saturday 08:30-17:30


Moderna Vaccine Walk-in Clinic

At boots Newbury, Northbrook Street we are operating a walk-in clinic for the Moderna vaccine from Monday 6th September until Sunday 12th September.

This walk in clinic will be open everyday from 9:00am – 5:00pm (Closed for lunch 12:00pm-1:00pm) and open on Sunday from 11:00am – 4:00pm (Closed for lunch 1:00pm-1:30pm)

Please be advised this walk in clinic is currently for people aged 18+

Boots Newbury will also be running a walk in Pfizer clinic from Thursday to Saturday this week for people aged 16+

JCVI issues advice on third dose vaccination for severely immunosuppressed

The JCVI is advising that people with severely weakened immune systems should have a third vaccine dose as part of their primary COVID-19 vaccination schedule.

This third dose should be offered to people over 12 who were severely immunosuppressed at the time of their first or second dose, including those with leukaemia, advanced HIV and recent organ transplants. These people may not mount a full response to vaccination and therefore may be less protected than the wider population.

Click here or on the image above for additional information.


Coronavirus vaccines cut risk of long Covid study finds.

Being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 not only cuts the risk of catching it, but also of an infection turning into long Covid, research led by King’s College London suggests.

It shows that in the minority of people who get Covid despite two jabs, the odds of developing symptoms lasting longer than four weeks are cut by 50%.

This is compared with people who are not vaccinated.

So far, 78.9% of over-16s in the UK have had two doses of a Covid vaccine.

They analysed data gathered from the UK Zoe Covid Study app, which tracks people’s self-reported symptoms and vaccines and tests.

That meant that between December 2020 and July, the health was tracked of more than 1.2 million adults who received one coronavirus jab and 971,504 who received two jabs in that time frame.

Just 0.2% of double-jabbed people said they had had a Covid infection after vaccination (2,370 cases)
Of the 592 fully vaccinated people with Covid who continued to provide data for more than a month, 31 (5%) went on to get long Covid (defined as illness lasting 28 days or more after a positive test)
In the unvaccinated group this figure was about 11%.

Click here or the image above to read the full story.

Local community testing update

Our Chief Officer Andrew Sharp was talking about local Community Testing in West Berkshire and vaccinations for 16-17 year olds on BBC Radio Berkshire interview this morning.

Listen to the audio clip and find out about Local Community Testing by clicking here or on the image above. #Time2Test


16-17 year old vaccinations highlighted via Newbury Today

Our Chief Officer thanks everyone involved and comments on the high turnout.

More vaccinations for 16-17 year olds will be available at Northcroft Leisure Centre from Wednesday 1st – Saturday 4th September 10am – 7pm.

Click here or the image above for the details.

Grab a jab and celebrate the diversity in West Berkshire on September 5th

Come celebrate the diversity of West Berkshire at Falkland Cricket Club, Newbury, RG14 6TW on Sunday 5th September, 11am – 5pm.

Covid-19 Pfizer vaccinations will be offered alongside this event. Anyone aged 16+ is welcome to drop in for their 1st or 2nd doses.

Click here or on the image above to learn more about One Community Cricket and Family Fun Day.


Book a Covid Vaccination for 16 and 17 year olds

16 and 17-year-olds yet to receive their jab are invited to attend the NHS vaccine clinic Wednesday 1 September to Saturday, 4 September at Northcroft Leisure Centre, Newbury, 10 am – 7 pm. The attendees can either drop in or book an appointment beforehand. 


Covid infection protection waning in double jabbed

Woman receiving Covid vaccination

Researchers say they are seeing some waning of protection against Covid infections in double-jabbed people.

The real-world study includes data on positive Covid PCR test results between May and July 2021 among more than a million people who had received two doses of Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine.

Protection after two shots of Pfizer decreased from 88% at one month to 74% at five to six months.

For AstraZeneca, the fall was from 77% to 67% at four to five months.

Waning protection is to be expected, say experts.

Although some breakthrough infections may be happening, vaccines are still doing a very good job at protecting people against severe Covid illness and deaths.

Click here or the image above to read more details.


Vaccination Availability at Boots Newbury

Week commencing Monday 23rd August :

There will be available appointments for Moderna and Astra Zeneca vaccines from Monday to Saturday at Boots Newbury. Boots Newbury will be operating a walk in Astra Zeneca clinic as well, operating Monday to Saturday 9-5pm closing for lunch 12-1pm.

Coronavirus: Young people warn of long Covid amid jab drive

Young people have shared stories of the debilitating effects of long Covid as they urge others to get jabbed.

A new NHS video features the experiences of three previously healthy people as part of a drive to encourage vaccine uptake.

Quincy Dwamena, 31, said he delayed his jab and “ended up being hospitalised and thought I was going to die”.

It comes as the government says it has met its target of offering all 16 and 17-year-olds in England a Covid jab.

More than 360,000 people in this age group in England have now been given a first dose of the vaccine. Click here or the image above to read the full story.


Pfizer walk in vaccination clinics

Kennet Centre are offering first and second dose of Pfizer , Thursday, Friday and Saturdays for the rest of the August. Anytime between 08:30 and 17:30.

Please only come for a second dose if it’s been 8 weeks since your first dose. You will be turned away if it’s been less than 8 weeks.


JCVI issues updated advice on COVID-19 vaccination of young people aged 16 to 17

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is today advising that all 16 and 17 year olds receive their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Click here or the image above to read the full guidance.

At present the advice is that young people aged 16 and 17 need to wait to be contacted by the NHS for their covid vaccine.


New Age UK report highlights the effect of the Covid pandemic on older people’s lives

Age UK have published a new report which explores the impact of the Covid pandemic on older people’s physical and mental health, eleven months after Covid-19 arrived.

This report is the second in a series Age UK have written about the pandemic’s effects, and follows up on their previous report published in October 2020. This latest report is based on research from February 2021.

Click here or the image above to see the report and read the details.


Vaccination Van returns to West Berkshire

‘Health On The Move’ vaccination van is returning to West Berkshire next week as part of a drive to increase uptake of the Covid jab.

The van will firstly be visiting Lambourn’s Market Square on August 4th and 5th, and will then be revisiting the Riverside Community Centre in Newbury on August 7th. Later on August 12th the van will be visiting Greenham.

Anyone aged 18+ is welcome to drop in and visit the van, they don’t need to be registered with a GP or book in advance, however 2nd doses need to be at least 8 weeks apart from 1st doses.

Pregnant women urged to get jab as majority unvaccinated

Picture of pregnant woman in hospital

England’s chief midwife has stepped up her call for pregnant women to get the Covid jab as soon as possible.

Estimates based on GP records and Public Health England data suggest hundreds of thousands have not had the jab, as the number of mums-to-be in hospital with the virus rises.

In the last three months, 171 pregnant women with Covid needed hospital care – but none had had both jabs.

In a letter to midwives, obstetricians and GP practices, chief midwife for England Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent says all healthcare professionals have “a responsibility to proactively encourage pregnant women” to get vaccinated.

She recommends advice on jabs be offered at every opportunity.

Vaccines save lives, and this is another stark reminder that the Covid-19 jab can keep you, your baby and your loved ones, safe and out of hospital,” the chief midwife told pregnant women.

Since mid-April 2021, mothers-to-be have been offered the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus jab, with the second dose recommended eight weeks after the first.

Click here or on the image above to learn more details.

Covid-19 translated advice and guidance

The guidance on COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination free of charge has been translated into 40 different languages by the Department of Health and Social Care. These languages include, Romanian, French, Hindi, Polish, Pashto, Korean and many more.

Please click here or on the image above to access this translation.


Coronavirus: Worst affected care homes revealed

Care home nurse with medication trolley

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published data showing death notifications involving COVID-19 received from individual care homes between 10 April 2020 and 31 March 2021.

Read the details and find out if there is data about your local care home in West Berkshire by clicking here or on the image above.


Double jabbed NHS staff could avoid isolation if service under pressure

Some fully vaccinated frontline NHS staff in England will be allowed to carry on working if exposed to someone with Covid, the government has said, amid concerns over employee shortages.

Staff, including social care, will be exempted from isolating in “exceptional circumstances”, when absences could lead to a “significant risk of harm”.

They will need to show a negative PCR test and take daily lateral flow tests.

It comes amid a surge in cases and a rise in people told to self-isolate. Click here or the image above to read the full story.

Healthwatch England Covid19 advice and information

With COVID-19 restrictions changing across the country, it’s important to keep clued up with the latest advice and information. 

Healthwatch England have pulled together some up-to-date resources to help you know what you need to do, how to look after yourself and how you can support the COVID-19 effort. 

Click here to visit Healthwatch England’s website and read the details.


Experts recommend covid jabs for some under 18’s in UK

Experts have recommended that a limited group of children should be offered Covid jabs to protect them against the pandemic ahead of winter, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi has said.

He told BBC Breakfast it included children who were almost 18, vulnerable to Covid or who lived with people who were clinically vulnerable.

But whether to jab healthy children aged 12-17 will be “kept under review”.

Mr Zahawi will make a statement to Parliament later today. Click here or the image above to read the full story.


People must continue social distancing and wear face coverings from Monday July 19th

NHS patients, staff and visitors must continue to wear face coverings and follow social distancing measures in healthcare settings. Please help us to reduce the risk of infection for our staff and patients by following the guidance.

Click here or the image above to access the guidance.


Younger adults admitted to hospital with Covid are almost as likely to suffer from complications as those over 50 years old, a study has found.

Four in 10 of those between 19 and 49 developed problems with their kidneys, lungs or other organs while treated.

Paul Godfrey, from Frinton in Essex, developed Covid in March 2020 after suffering what he thought was a chest infection.

Paul was diagnosed with pneumonia in Colchester hospital and was told the bottom half of both his lungs had collapsed. He narrowly avoided being placed in an induced coma and spent two weeks on a Covid ward before he was allowed home in a wheelchair.

It was the worst experience of my life and I am still dealing with it 18 months later,” said Paul, who continues to suffer from extreme fatigue and breathlessness caused by his illness.

“I don’t really know what the damage is to my body so I am just praying I get back to what I was.”

The message is that this is not just a disease of the elderly and frail, said Prof Calum Semple, who led the work.

“The data reinforces the fact that Covid is not flu and we are seeing even young adults coming into hospital suffering significant complications, some of which will require furthering monitoring and potentially further treatment in the future.”

Click here to read more about this story.

Covid vaccination drop in clinics

Drop in Covid-19 vaccination clinics for those aged 18 years and over.

These are all walk-in sessions, so no appointment necessary unless otherwise stated and no need to be registered with a GP.

Please note second doses must be at least 8 weeks after your first vaccine. Please read any requirements for specific locations and/or date and time.

Upcoming sessions are posted HERE and on the image above. 

Important vaccine guidance for your second dose

Vaccine doses are more effective when they are given at least eight weeks apart. So to give you the best possible protection from COVID-19, if you received your first dose less than eight weeks ago, you will need to come back at a later date.

You must be over 18 to receive the vaccine and you must not be in a period of isolation or quarantine.

Your second dose should be the same as your first (Pfizer, AZ or Moderna)


Covid restriction changes coming 19th July

The Prime Minister held a press conference on Monday, 12 July, where he confirmed that England will move to Step 4 of the Roadmap on 19 July.

He also confirmed, however, that we are still in a pandemic and that we all need to remain vigilant, exercise caution, and get both doses of the Covid vaccine when offered. Current modelling suggests that COVID-19 cases will continue to rise as restrictions are eased.

Read more details and find out what restrictions are being lifted by clicking HERE.

Local hospital trusts have responded by confirming what this means for patients, visitors and staff.

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust have said

“staff, patients, and visitors will be expected to continue wearing masks when on our sites.”

“Visitor number limitations will remain in place, but we are currently reviewing this so that we can allow more visitors as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so.”

Eamonn Sullivan, Chief Nurse at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust has also published a video reiterating this message. You can see the video below.


Great Western Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have said

From next week, all current coronavirus safety guidance will remain in place across healthcare settings. This means that staff, patients and visitors must keep 2m distance between themselves and others and ensure you are using our separate staff and patient entrances and exits.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Professor Meghana Pandit, Chief Medical Officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) has communicated a message to all staff working at OUH that their current infection prevention and control measures – including mask wearing and social distancing on all hospital sites – will remain in place despite the relaxation of some COVID-19 related restrictions in England from Monday 19 July.

These measures apply to everyone working on their sites, whether or not they are employed by OUH, as well as visitors and patients coming to their hospitals.

Click here to read more details from OUH.


Covid Vaccinations coming to Clay Hill Newbury

The Health on the move Vaccination Van is once more hitting the road to bring jabs closer to where people live, study and work. It will be coming to Riverside Community Centre, Clay Hill, Newbury, on the 24th July 2021, 11am – 5pm.

Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect our families, friends and communities from the virus, so book your appointment now, and select your time, to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
There will also be medical professionals on board to answer your questions.

To book you must be:
– Over 18 years old
– Not have already had a Covid vaccine
– Not have already booked a Covid vaccine

You don’t need to be registered with a GP.

To Book and/or learn more information:
Phone: 07471 355 639, or visit: this eventbrite webpage


Unequal pandemic, fairer recovery: The Covid-19 impact inquiry report

This report, produced by the Health Foundation’s COVID-19 impact inquiry, is a comprehensive review of the factors that fuelled the UK’s COVID-19 death toll.

It highlights that:

  • poor health and existing inequalities left parts of the UK vulnerable to the virus and defined the contours of its devastating impact.
  • the pandemic has revealed stark differences in the health of the working age population – those younger than 65 in the poorest 10% of areas in England were almost four times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those in wealthiest. Recovery needs to prioritise creating opportunities for good health – a vital asset needed to ‘level up’ and rebuild the UK economy.
  • government restrictions, although needed to limit COVID-19’s spread, have had wide-ranging consequences: from unmet health needs and mental health problems to education gaps, lost employment and financial insecurity.
  • some groups – young people, disabled people, ethnic minority communities and care home residents – have been more affected than others. Prisoners, homeless people and people experiencing sexual exploitation have also faced particular challenges.
  • type and quality of work, housing conditions, and access to financial support to self-isolate all contributed to increased exposure to the virus among working age adults.
  • the legacy of the financial crisis has had a direct bearing on our experience of the pandemic. Deep-rooted issues – poor health, increased financial insecurity and strained public services – left the UK more vulnerable to COVID-19’s health and economic impacts.
  • in recovery, there is an opportunity to create a healthier, more resilient society. Government must address the root causes of poor health and invest in people and their communities – their jobs, housing, education and communities.
  • ensuring the recovery improves health – as well as the economy – requires cross-government action to level up health. This will pay dividends for the nation’s health and prosperity in the longer term.

Click here or the image above to read the full report.


Health on move vaccination van returns

A specially adapted vaccination van took to the roads in West Berkshire this week as part of a drive to increase uptake of the Covid jab, visiting both Lambourn and Two Saints.

This vaccination van will be returning to West Berkshire on Monday July 12th, 11am – 4pm, at The Central Family Hub, Thatcham, RG18 3PG.

To book an appointment, please contact Emma on 01635 865318, or

The van is open to anyone aged 18 and over, and you don’t have to be registered with a GP to pay it a visit.

Find out more by clicking here or on the image above.

Most vulnerable could be offered Covid booster vaccine from September

People who are most vulnerable to Covid-19 could be offered a booster vaccination from September. This will aim to ensure that protection from the first and second doses is maintained during the winter.

Click here or on the image below to read the details.


Vaccination van takes to the roads in Berkshire West next week

A specially adapted vaccination van takes to the roads in Berkshire West next week as part of a drive to increase uptake of the Covid jab.

Healthcare professionals and wellbeing teams will be on board the ‘Health on the Move’ van ready to answer Covid questions and offer people the vaccination.

Anyone is welcome to visit the van, they don’t need to be registered with a GP, although the health teams will be happy to help them sort that so in future, they have access to a range of healthcare professionals at a local surgery.

Click here or the image above to read the full press release.


All Adults able to book Covid Vaccine in England

People aged 18 and over in England are being invited to book their first Covid-19 jab in what the NHS has described as a “watershed moment”.

About 1.5 million texts are due to be sent to people aged 18 to 20 on Friday.

PM Boris Johnson said the speed of the programme was “one of our country’s greatest collective achievements”.

It comes as a study suggests the epidemic is growing across the nation, with much of the rise being driven by young people.

On Thursday a further 11,007 cases of Covid-19 were reported, the highest daily rise since 19 February, while a further 19 deaths were also recorded.

The government has set a new target to have offered a first dose to all adults by 19 July and a second dose to two-thirds of the over-40s.

Click here or on the image above to read the details.

Lockdown Easing in England delayed until 19th July

The final stage of easing lockdown restrictions in England is to be delayed until 19 July.

It means most remaining curbs on social contact will continue beyond 21 June, when they had been due to be lifted.

The limit on wedding guest numbers will be removed but venues will still have to adhere to other rules.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there would be a review after two weeks and he was “confident” the delay would not need to be longer than four weeks.

However, he told a Downing Street press conference he could not rule out the possibility the date could be pushed back further.

Click here or the image above to read the full story

Call for urgent action to prevent learning disability deaths

People with learning disabilities are still dying 25 years earlier than the rest of the population, an LeDeR report  has said.

The Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) calls for urgent action to prevent more avoidable deaths.

NHS England said improving the health of people with a learning disability was a priority.

The LeDeR was established in 2015 to try to understand why so many people with learning disabilities were dying from avoidable causes, and to try and improve their access to healthcare.

The latest report compares data from the deaths of 9,110 people with learning disabilities who died over the past three years.

Click here or the image above to read the report.

Click here or the image below to read an easy read version.

In 2020, 24% of learning disability deaths were caused by Covid-19 compared to just 13% of deaths in the general population.

The peak month for deaths from Covid-19 was April 2020, when 59% of all deaths were from the virus.

It was the leading cause of death in men over 35 and women over 20 with learning disabilities throughout the past year.

Reviewers found that poor testing provision, a lack of support from specialist services and difficulties using the NHS 111 service played a part in many of the deaths.

Click here to read about Voice of Disability and find out what we have done to support people with disabilities.


Covid vaccine to be compulsory for England care home staff

Covid vaccinations are to become compulsory for staff at care homes in England, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

Mr Hancock said it was a “sensible and reasonable step” and he would consult on extending it to the NHS.

There are no plans to extend mandatory vaccinations beyond health and care workers, he said.

Workers will have 16 weeks to get both jabs from the time regulations are approved by Parliament.

If they do not, they face being redeployed away from front-line care or potentially losing their job.

Click HERE to read the full story.


People aged 21 and 22 able to book Coronavirus vaccine from today

Around one million people aged 21 and 22 are now eligible to book their coronavirus vaccination.

Some 972,000 text messages will be sent out starting today, inviting them to schedule appointments for both doses via the national booking system.

This latest step will mean that only those aged between 18 and 20 have yet to be called up, something that is expected to happen by the end of this week.

Click here or on the image above to read more details.

Vaccines highly effective against Delta variant

New analysis from Public Health England show that two doses of the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs provide strong protection against Covid Delta variant.

The analysis suggests:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96% effective against hospitalisation after 2 doses
  • Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalisation after 2 doses

The analysis included 14,019 cases of the Delta variant – 166 of whom were hospitalised – between 12 April and 4 June, looking at emergency hospital admissions in England.

Click here or on the image above to read further details.


Healthwatch England VacciNation Report Launched

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Healthwatch England’s new research explores vaccine confidence amongst people from African, Bangladeshi, Caribbean, and Pakistani backgrounds. They want to understand these barriers to ensure key lessons are taken forward for future public health campaigns.

Click here or the image above to access the full report.


Covid-19: Delta variant update

The Delta Covid-19 variant, which was first detected in India, has overtaken the alpha variant, better known as the UK or Kent variant, to make it the most dominant strain circulating in the UK, Public Health England has said.

Data also shows that the variant is spreading rapidly through England’s schools. Click here to read the details.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock meanwhile has said that the Delta Variant is “about 40% more transmissible” than previous mutations of the virus, making government decisions about whether to ease restrictions in England on 21st June “more difficult”.

Vaccination update – 25+ eligible for vaccine

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Anyone aged over 25 are being asked to book their Covid-19 jab once they receive the text message alert, with GPs also set to urge the newly eligible to come forward, over the coming days.

NHS England chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens has said:

The NHS vaccination programme is a real team effort and it is a testament to NHS teams across the country, that we are able to open up to people in their twenties”

“Getting the lifesaving COVID-19 jab is the most important thing you can do, with NHS staff vaccinating at over 1,600 sites including vaccine buses, places of worship, sport stadiums and other convenient locations. So, when you get that text, book your appointment and join the millions who are already protected.

While you can no longer get your vaccine at the Newbury Racecourse, Boots on Northbrook Street and the Kennet Centre are local options to receive your vaccine, alongside larger sites in Swindon, Andover, Oxford, Reading and Basingstoke.
Since the number of local Covid cases has been on the rise in recent months, it’s important to not delay in getting the vaccine when it’s offered to you.

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Click here to watch an NHS video, which dispels some common myths about the Covid Vaccine.


Healthwatch England Covid-19 vaccine intelligence update

Click here or the image above to see the details.


Our Chief Officer Andrew Sharp again talking about Dental via BBC Radio Berkshire


People aged 30 and 31 in England are being invited to book to have their first dose of Covid vaccine.

Man getting vaccine

The NHS is urging these million or so to take up the offer of a jab at one of the 1,600 available locations, including mosques, museums and rugby grounds, as well as pharmacies.

Nearly three-quarters of adults in the UK have already had one dose, and more than two-fifths have had two.

The government plans to offer first doses to all adults by the end of July.

Click here or on the image above to read more details.


New data from Healthwatch England highlights issues with NHS dental care during the last COVID-19 lockdown

A review of 1,375 people’s experiences shared with Healthwatch England found a lack of consistency across the country when it comes to accessing a dental appointment.

Whilst some people were charged £400 to get one tooth out, an individual reported being asked to pay over £7,000 for their dentures privately. But private treatment is not an option for everyone, with many people now struggling to pay even for NHS treatment.

Whilst some people were asked to wait an unreasonable time of up to three years for an NHS appointment, those able to afford private care could get an appointment within a week.

These findings are also consistent with our own findings at Healthwatch West Berkshire, where key issues in community NHS dental services were highlighted in our recently published Covid-19 report.

“It appears that NHS dentistry has been scaled down to such an extent it is almost impossible to access, although by paying privately a service can seemingly be quickly accessed.” – Our Covid-19 report

In our report we recommended that NHS Dental services undergo a total national route and branch re-design. You can read or report by clicking HERE

Click here or on the image above to read the full article on Healthwatch Englands website.


West Berkshire Health and Wellbeing Board Discuss our COVID-19 report

20/05/2021 – COVID-19 Report Published today

The COVID-19 crisis has challenged and affected us all, although in different ways. At this time it is important that we know how the pandemic has affected individuals and families across our region.

Our report, launched today, provides the views of 301 people and those in touch subsequently with HWWB, highlighting what worked well and what didn’t work so well during the COVID-19 crisis, while also providing recommendations.


A preview of some of our report recommendations are posted below. To read these details in full, click here or any of the images to read the report in full.


From 17th May 2021 some restrictions are being lifted


Our Chief Officer talking about Dental via BBC Radio Berkshire


Under 40s to be offered alternative to AZ vaccine

A dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine being prepared

Most adults under the age of 40 will be given an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine due to a link with rare blood clots.

The UK’s medicines safety regulator says there have been 242 clotting cases and 49 deaths, with 28.5 million doses of the vaccine administered.

But the risk is slightly higher in younger age groups.
Click here or the image above to read more details.


People aged 40 and over in England are now able to book their Covid-19 jab, NHS officials say

picture of person getting a vaccine

This news follows the announcement a few days ago that 44 year olds were now able to book their covid vaccine and that 1 in 4 UK adults have now had both of their Covid jabs.

Text messages will be sent to 40 and 41-year-olds, directing them to the national booking service.

Read the details by clicking HERE

How we will move slowly out of lockdown – easy read

An Easy Read version of the Governments plan to safely and gradually come out of lockdown has been produced.

This document contains some general guidance about staying safe during Covid, and highlights both previous and future steps of the Roadmap out of lockdown, with the next step being May 17th if all goes well, and the step afterwards being June 21st.

From May 17th “if things go well

– You will be able to meet who you like outdoors

– Restaurants, cafés and pubs will be able to serve people sitting at a table inside

– Up to 30 people will be able to go to weddings, funerals and events to remember someone.

Read the full details by clicking HERE.


#OneTeamOneOUH – Stories from Covid pandemic

On Friday 23rd April Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) launched ‘Stories from the COVID Pandemic #OneTeamOneOUH’ an e-Book which tells the story of the OUH response to COVID-19.

The idea for this e-Book was born as an opportunity for their staff to share their reflections on the OneTeamOneOUH response to COVID. 

It includes a strong focus on the Trust’s unique partnership with the University of Oxford, the ground breaking COVID-19 research which had taken place in Oxford, and highlights the support from the wider community.

Click here or on the image above to read this e-Book.

Covid Vaccine Rollout extended to 44 year olds

Woman being vaccinated in government advert, "Every vaccination gives us hope"

The NHS said it would set out when 40 to 43-year-olds would be able to book appointments “in the coming days”, and as supply allows.

Click here or on the image above to read the details.


Easy Read Lateral Flow Testing and Self-Testing instructions

Easy Read Testing Guidance has been produced showing what to expect if you go to a Test Station and do a lateral flow test. You can read this guidance by clicking here or the image above.

Easy Read self-test instructions have also been produced which you can read by clicking here.


Updated Covid Vaccine Guidance for Pregnant Women

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that pregnant women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccination at the same time as everyone else, based on age and clinical risk.

This news follows data showing that around 90,000 pregnant women had been vaccinated, mainly with mRNA vaccines, including Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, without any safety concerns being raised.

As a result JCVI advises that it’s preferable for pregnant women in the UK to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available. There is no evidence to suggest that other vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women, but more research is needed.

Click Here or on the image above to read the details.


About half the UK adult population would have likely tested positive for coronavirus antibodies by the end of March, ONS data has shown

Surge testing

The data suggests that roughly one in two people either had the infection or has been vaccinated.

Across the UK, the older age groups had the highest proportion of people likely to test positive for antibodies.

In England, the highest percentage of people testing positive was estimated to be the 65 to 69 age group (84.5%), followed by 70 to 74 (82.4%), 75 to 79 (79.8%) and 80 and over (77.6%).

Click here or on the image above for further details.


England gets third jab as moderna rollout begins

Emily Sanderson receiving the vaccine

England is giving out its first doses of the Moderna jab, the third Covid-19 vaccine in the nation’s rollout.

It will be available at 21 sites, included the Madejski Stadium in Reading.

Along with the Pfizer jab, it offers an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for under-30s, after concerns about a possible link to very rare blood clots.

Click here or on the image above to read more details.


Easy Read Coronavirus rules

Mencap have produced new Easy Read guidance on Coronavirus rules (updated 12th April)

Click here or the image above for the details.

People 45 or over in England invited to book vaccine

Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | FDA

People aged 45 or over in England will now be invited to get a Covid jab, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

The vaccination programme would then move on to everyone aged 40 or over “in line with supplies”, he added.

Appointments can be made on the NHS booking website, which temporarily crashed on Tuesday morning when it opened up to the new age group.

Read the details by clicking here or on the image above.


Covid restrictions changing from Monday April 12th

Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do will change on Monday 12th April.

From 12 April:

  • non-essential retail will be able to reopen
  • personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen
  • public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen
  • outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only
  • most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen
  • some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place
  • indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
  • all childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors for up to 15 people
  • weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people
  • self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
  • you should continue to minimise the amount that you travel where possible
  • care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)

Read the full details by clicking HERE or on the image above.


Astra Zeneca Media Briefing

– From 31st March, 20m doses of the Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine were given and 79 cases of rare blood clots were reported.

– Slightly higher risk of rare clotting condition in younger people than in older people.

– Under-30s should not be offered Astra Zeneca vaccine, UK government advisers say, they should be offered an alternative to Astra Zeneca jab.

– Astra Zeneca jab benefits still ‘favourable for vast majority’

– People who have had Oxford jab should still take second dose

Watch the briefing in full by clicking the video above. Or click here for more details.

Twice weekly rapid testing to be available to everyone in England

Free twice-weekly rapid Covid tests to be offered to everyone in England

Everyone in England will be able to access free, regular, rapid coronavirus testing from 9 April, the government has announced.

Alongside vaccine rollout, regular testing is at the heart of plans to reopen society and the economy, helping to suppress and control the spread of variants.

Updates will be made to the NHS COVID-19 app in England to coincide with the universal testing offer.

Click here or on the image above to read further details.


Stakeholder Vaccine FAQ, from the Department of Health and Social Care

Click here or the image above to read the details.


Roadmap out of lockdown, next relaxation of rules March 29th

Due to the successes of vaccination programme, alongside the public rising to challenge of obeying the law, staying at home, getting tested and following the “Hands, Face, Space” guidance, people in England have gradually been seeing lockdown restrictions being lifted.

The next relaxation of rules in England comes into effect on 29th March.

From 29th March

  • People will be allowed to meet outside, either with one other household or within the “rule of six”, including in private gardens
  • The stay at home rule will end, but the government will urge people to stay local as much as possible
  • Outdoor sport facilities will reopen, including golf courses and tennis and basketball courts, and formally organised outdoor sports can restart
  • Weddings can take place, attended by up to six people

So long as targets for beating coronavirus are met, the second ease of lockdown restrictions will come into effect on 12th April at the earliest, and then again every five week. See the roadmap out of lockdown below.

Step 2 (no earlier than 12th April):

  • All shops allowed to open, along with close-contact services, including hairdressers and beauty salons (including in people’s homes)
  • Restaurants and pubs allowed to serve food and alcohol to customers sitting outdoors
  • Gyms and spas can reopen, as can zoos, theme parks, libraries and community centres
  • Members of the same household can take a holiday in England in self-contained accommodation
  • Weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place
Click the image above to enlarge it and read steps 3 and 4

What are the four tests for easing restrictions?

  • The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan
  • Vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying or needing hospital treatment
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
  • New coronavirus variants do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions

Click here to go to the government website and read more details.

Vaccine Guidance in a range of languages

Doctors of the World UK and British Red Cross have produced coronavirus vaccine guidance in English and a variety of other languages, so that everyone in the UK can access essential information on the vaccines.

Click here or on the image above for the details.


Healthwatch England – “GP Access review must be a part of Covid19 recovery”

A new Healthwatch England “GP Access during Covid-19” report looks at how the COVID pandemic has changed the way people access their GP and how this affected people’s experience of care.

The report “shows tens of thousands struggled to contact or see local doctor in the last year” and suggests “GP access review must be part of NHS COVID-19 Recovery

Read the report and/or more details by clicking here or the image above.

Have you struggled to access GP services during the pandemic? If so get it touch with us your local Health and Social Care champion in West Berkshire and Tell Us your experience.

Your feedback can help make a difference.

Covid vaccine: US trial of AstraZeneca jab confirms safety

Vials labelled "Astra Zeneca COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine" and a syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo, in this illustration photo taken March 14, 2021.

Results from the long-awaited US trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine are out and confirm that the shot is both safe and highly effective.

More than 32,000 volunteers took part, mostly in America, but also in Chile and Peru.

The vaccine was 79% effective at stopping symptomatic Covid disease and 100% effective at preventing people from falling seriously ill.

And there were no safety issues regarding blood clots.

Click here or on the image above to read more.


Covid cases/rates in Berkshire

Here are the latest rates of cases of Covid-19 in Berkshire.

The figures are the number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the seven days up to and including 13 March, with the week before shown in brackets for comparison.

The breakdown of the figures by local authority area is:

Slough – 93.6 (up from 84.9)
Windsor and Maidenhead – 41.6 (down from 44.2)
Reading – 38.9 (up from 38.3)
Wokingham – 36.8 (no change from 36.8)
Bracknell Forest – 35.9 (down from 37.5)
West Berkshire – 30.9 (up from 28.4)

Click HERE or the image above to read the full story.

NHS warns of “significant reduction” of vaccines

The NHS has warned of a “significant reduction in the weekly supply” of Covid vaccines in England next month in a letter to local health organisations.

The letter says there has been a “reduction in national inbound vaccines supply” and asks organisations to “ensure no further appointments are uploaded” to booking systems in April.

The health secretary said it was a “standard” letter.

Click HERE or the image above to read the full report.

There have been some updates to Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable from COVID-19

Click here or on the image above to read the details and see what has changed.


AstraZeneca vaccine is very safe and causes few serious side effects

Professor Jeremy Brown from Public Health England has spoken up amidst reports of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine causing blood clots saying.  See the image above for details.

All over 50’s invited for a jab in England

Woman receiving vaccine

Two million text messages are being sent out to those aged 50-54 in England with a link allowing people to book an appointment through the national booking service website.

People who cannot go online can call the service on 119.

This is the final group on the priority list which covers 99% of those at high risk of dying from Covid-19.

Everyone in the top nine priority groups should be offered a second dose by mid-July, up to 12 weeks after the first.

Nearly half of the UK adult population has had a jab – more than 24 million people.

Around 1.6 million people have also had a second dose.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I’m determined no-one should miss out on the chance to protect themselves and urge everyone who is eligible to come forward.” 

Click HERE or on the image above to read further details.

Update on new vaccination site at Madejski stadium

Lifelong Reading FC fan Michael Hinton, became the first person to get a Covid jab at the mass vaccination site set up at the Madejski Stadium. Since Michael, 69, and his wife Karen, from Woodley visited the site, the clinicians there have jabbed thousands of other local people in the 65–69 years cohort.

Once people have received an invitation, they can book via the NHS national booking service, either by ringing 119 or visiting the dedicated website here

Earlier eligible groups who have not yet taken up a vaccination offer, can also book an appointment at the centre. This includes those aged 70/80+, as well as front line health and social care workers and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Dr Abid Irfan Chair of Berkshire West CCG said:

“It’s great that we have this mass vaccination centre now up and running in Reading. It means we’ll be able to deliver the jabs at pace and this will play a critical role in the vaccination programme, which has been working so well across Berkshire West since the first sites came on stream in December.

“The Madejski Vaccination Centre also means our primary care teams will now be able to devote more time to the other healthcare needs of their patients. We’ve all worked incredibly hard to make sure our surgeries continue to provide the wide range of health and care services people need at the same time as rolling out the vaccination programme.”


Covid: UK vaccination surge expected in coming days

A person is injected in the arm

UK experts say there will be a big increase in the number of people being offered Covid vaccinations in the coming days.

The number of shots given is expected to top 4 million this week, nearly double what has been achieved per week recently, NHS sources say.

It should mean all over 50s will have been given at least one dose by the end of the month.

That would put the NHS rollout two weeks ahead of schedule.

Click here or on the image above to read more details.

AstraZeneca vaccine: Experts assess blood clot reports

AstraZeneca vaccines (file pic)

Vaccine safety experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) are meeting today (Tuesday 16th March) to review the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, after a number of countries paused their rollouts.

Countries including France and Germany said they were acting as a precaution amid reports of blood clots in some recipients in Europe.

The WHO says there is no evidence of a link between clots and vaccines.

It has urged countries not to pause their vaccinations.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) – the European Union’s medicines regulator – is also meeting on Today. It has previously said that people can continue receiving the vaccine.

BBC Health correspondent Nick Triggle says

“It is understandable anyone going to get vaccinated would be concerned given these reports.

“But the regulators in the UK and Europe are clear that vaccination should continue even though some individual nations have taken a different approach.

“Why? It’s all to do with risk.

“From what has been published so far the chance of a blood clot after vaccination is very low and at this stage looks like it could be in line with what you would expect to happen anyway – coincidence rather than cause.

“In comparison, the risk from Covid to those currently being offered the vaccine is significant.

“Most of continental Europe is still working its way through the over-70s.

“If they are infected and have symptoms they have around a one in four chance of becoming seriously ill and needing hospital care.

“In the UK those in their 50s are being invited. They have a one in 10 chance.

“What is more, one of the most common consequences of serious Covid illness is blood clots.

“When it comes to risk, the odds are clearly in favour of vaccination.”

1:50pm Update: ‘No indication’ of link to blood clots

The European Union’s medicines regulator has reiterated there is no indication that the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine causes blood clots, after several countries paused their rollouts.

Click here to read further details.

Covid vaccination information for carers

The following carers are currently being invited as a priority for vaccination as part of Cohort 6: 

  •  Carers who are known to GPs and have a ‘carer’s flag’ on their primary care record. These carers will be invited for vaccination by their GP practice.
  •  Carers who are eligible to receive carers allowance. These carers will be invited to book a vaccination at one of the mass vaccination centres. 
  •  Carers who are known to Local Authorities who are in receipt of support following a carers assessment. These carers will be invited to book a vaccination at one of the mass vaccination centres.

There are other unpaid carers who are a priority but are not known to the NHS or local authority. A new national process if being set up so that carers can self-declare to confirm they are caring for someone who is vulnerable to COVID-19 leading to a priority vaccine.

Click HERE or on the image above to read more details.


Regular rapid testing is now available for parents, their households and bubbles

Regular rapid testing is a fast and easy way to find out if you have coronavirus and help protect your loved ones and community. It’s free and takes around 30 minutes.

As lockdown restrictions ease, getting into the regular habit of twice weekly testing will play an important role in getting back to normal; alongside the vaccine, following the hands, face, space guidance, and social distancing measures.

If you are a parent or adult of a household, childcare or support bubble you can either:
1. Get an assisted test at work if it is available.
2. Attend a test site to get tested
3. Order a test online to do at home

After returning to school on 8th March with measures in place to reduce the rate of transmission, Secondary school and college students aged 11 and above will continue to have access regular rapid tests directly through their school or college.

Watch the video below to see how the Rapid Testing works.


Updated Guidance on Care Home Visiting

Visiting is a central part of care home life. It is crucially important for maintaining the health, wellbeing and quality of life of residents. Visiting is also vital for family and friends to maintain contact and life-long relationships with their loved ones and contribute to their support and care.

This guidance which you can read by clicking HERE or on the image above, applies from 8th March 2021 and replaces previous guidance on care home visiting. It applies to care homes for working age and for older adults.


Tell us your experience about services in West Berkshire during the pandemic

We are currently running 3 surveys and are seeking your views on Child and Adult Mental Health services (CAMHS) dental services and care homes.

Please click the images below to access the surveys and to share your thoughts with us.


Healthwatch England Annual Report 2019-2020

Since COVID-19 struck, the work of the Healthwatch network to support and listen to local people became more crucial than ever. Find out more in HWE 2019-20 annual report to Parliament about how they have helped make care better.
Click HERE or the image above to access the report


Walkthrough video for Madejski stadium

If you have an appointment to have your Covid vaccination at the Madejski Football Stadium we hope you’ll find this helpful. It takes you
step by step through your visit. And this video also walks you through the centre and shows you where to go and who you will meet. Click HERE or the image above to watch the video.

Click HERE to read more FAQ’s about the what to expect when you have your vaccination at the Madejski Stadium


Mass Vaccination Centre opens at Reading’s Madejski stadium today

The vaccination centre will have capacity to deliver thousands of Covid vaccines each week, working through the next phases of priority groups drawn up by the Government. This means the site will initially start vaccinating people in cohort 5 which is the 65-69 year olds. Earlier eligible groups who have not yet taken up a vaccination offer can also book an appointment at the Centre. This includes those aged 70/80+, as well as front line health and social care workers and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Appointments are being offered via the national NHS booking system and we are urging people not to turn up at the site without a booked appointment.

The Madejski site will, over time, operate seven days a week dependent on vaccine supplies and demand.

Appointments will be staggered to allow for social distancing and people are urged not to turn up early to prevent queues forming.

The centre will be open to the public by invite only. People aged 65–69 can book appointments at the stadium using the NHS national booking service either by ringing 119 or visiting the website ONCE they receive their invitation letter.


BBC launches Headroom – Content on mental health to help everyone cope with the challenges of lockdown

Looking after our mental health is more important than ever.

The pandemic has had a huge impact on our mental health and the public’s resilience continues to be tested through this lockdown.

People are finding it tough, loneliness has risen from 10 percent of UK adults in March to 25 percent in November and the proportion who say they are coping well with the stress of the pandemic has fallen steadily, from almost three quarters in April to 62 percent in November.

Headroom is a dedicated online resource that recognises the impact the pandemic is having on everyone’s mental health; a toolkit for the mind to help people look after themselves with practical everyday tips, inspiring personal stories, activities and music mixes to boost your mood, escape and relax.

Click here to read more details, or click the image above to watch a short 17 second video clip introducing Headroom.

Coronavirus Yellow Card reporting site

Please click HERE, to report suspected side effects to medicines, vaccines or medical device and diagnostic adverse incidents used in coronavirus treatment to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to ensure safe and effective use.

Armed Forces are now working in hospitals, Vaccine Centres, and testing across all four nations of the UK to support the coronavirus response.

Image depicts two defence medics wheeling trollies down a hospital corridor.

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust says: “We recently welcomed personnel from the Armed Forces to the John Radcliffe Hospital, and we are incredibly grateful for their support as we continue through what is a very challenging time for the NHS.

Click here to read more details.


Click Here or on the image below to view a new Berkshire Public Health Covid-19 Dashboard and see the latest Covid-19 data. 

West Berkshire Council have opened their first lateral flow testing site

West Berkshire Council have opened their first lateral flow testing site for critical and key workers on Monday 8th February, at Highwood Copse Primary School Newbury, with up to three more centres in the east and west of the district to follow in the coming weeks.

If you are a critical or key worker, you will need to book an appointment to visit the testing site and other sites that are due to open soon.

The centres will be open before and after work hours and key workers will be offered lateral flow tests that provide results in around 30 minutes.

Click Here to learn more about Lateral Flow Testing in West Berkshire.


Call for people aged 70 and over to contact NHS four a covid jab

People aged 70 and over who have not yet been vaccinated against Covid and who would like to be are today being asked to contact the NHS to arrange a jab.

Until now the NHS has asked people to wait until they are contacted to help ensure that those who are most vulnerable are protected first – and that remains the case for most people.

However, to ensure absolutely everyone is offered the vaccine, people aged 70 and over can now contact the NHS so they can be vaccinated by the middle of this month.

Click HERE or the image above to read the press release.


Warnings of dentistry crisis as public concerns continue

Some NHS dental patients are being asked to pay for private appointments to get treatment while others face two-year waits.

Click here or on the image above to read the details about this story.

Have your say and tell us, your local Health and Social Care champion in West Berkshire your own experience of dental services during covid19 by filling in our short anonymous survey.

Life after lockdown: tackling loneliness

The Covid-19 crisis has made loneliness worse, with some people more affected than others.

British Red Cross report “Life after lockdown” draws on findings from a collection of national-level polling, interviews and evaluations from British Red Cross services during Covid-19. It shows that although social distancing and lockdown measures will continue to be eased, loneliness will remain. And for those most left behind, it may continue to grow.

This report states that to truly meet the challenge ahead, policy makers and civil society must now consider recovery and refocus our efforts on supporting those most affected by this crisis.

Click here or the image above to read the report and more details.


Covid vaccines ‘extremely safe’ finds UK regulator


The Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines being given to millions of people in the UK by the NHS are extremely safe, with some mild expected side effects, says the country’s drugs regulator.

Click here or on the image above to read the details. 

Study reveals extent of Covid vaccine side effects

woman getting her vaccine

About one in three people recently given a Covid vaccine by the NHS report some side-effects.

None was serious – a common one was some soreness around the injection site, the UK researchers who gathered the feedback found.

Experts say the findings, from about 40,000 people – mostly healthcare workers – are reassuring for the millions having the vaccines now.

Some side-effects are to be expected and not a bad thing, they say.

Click here or on the image above to read more details.


Oxford vaccine may reduce transmission by 67% – and protection ‘remains for three-month jab interval’

File photo dated 21/01/21 of Shoukatali Dahya, 80, receiving an injection of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine at the Al Abbas Mosque, Birmingham, which is being used as a covid vaccination centre. The Black Country Living Museum, made famous as a set for hit TV drama Peaky Blinders, is to open as a vaccination centre on Monday. Issue date: Sunday January 24, 2021.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine may have a “substantial effect” on transmission of coronavirus, and a three-month gap between doses does not lower protection, according to a report.

Test results by the University of Oxford, published in a pre-print report with The Lancet, showed a 67% reduction in positive COVID-19 swabs among those vaccinated.

Click here or on the image above to read the details.


A Covid vaccine has been offered to all older residents at eligible care homes in England, the NHS has announced.

Care home resident Michael Starr, 78, receives an injection of the coronavirus vaccine at Andrew Cohen House in Birmingham

Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the achievement, expected to be confirmed by official figures on Monday, as a “crucial milestone”.

target of 15 February has been set for the UK to vaccinate care home residents and carers, people over 70 and frontline care workers.

On Saturday a record 598,389 first jabs were given across the UK.

It means nearly nine million people have received the first dose of a vaccine, with about 490,000 having received two jabs.

NHS England said more than 10,000 care homes with older residents had been offered vaccines, although a “small remainder” of homes had visits deferred by local public health directors for safety reasons during local outbreaks.

These will be visited by vaccinators as soon as NHS staff are allowed to do so, it said.

Click here or the image above to read the details.

COVID cases fall but OUH staff and public urged not to let down their guard

People living in Oxfordshire are being reminded not to let their guard down as the levels of COVID-19 remain high in the county, despite a recent reduction in cases in the community and patients in our hospitals.

For the week ending 22 January, there were 294.7 cases per 100,000 people in Oxfordshire compared to 399.5 the week before. However, this is still more than three times higher than the figure of 83.7 per 100,000 on 4 December.

More information is available on the OUH website.

Admissions of covid positive patients in London and the south east are on course to fall to a  manageable level by the end of February.

The early days of a global pandemic: A timeline of COVID-19 spread and government interventions

The running seven-day total of admissions began to fall in both regions on 10 January and has dropped for each of the 19 successive days.

If these average daily falls were maintained, the capital’s total would reach a zero on 24 February and the south east two days later.

Click here on on the image above to read the details.

Covid-19: UK orders extra 40m doses of Valneva vaccine

A syringe

The UK has ordered an extra 40 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine from the French pharmaceutical company Valneva, that should become available later in the year and into 2022.

Click here to read the details.


A new Novavax coronavirus vaccine has been shown to be 89.3% effective in large scale UK trials

Dr Nita Patel, Director of Antibody discovery and Vaccine development, returns a box of potential coronavirus vaccines to a fridge at Novavax labs in Gaithersburg, Maryland on 20 March, 2020

The Novavax jab is the first to show in trials that it is effective against the new virus variant found in the UK.

The UK has secured 60 million doses of the jab, which will be made in Stockton-on-Tees in north-east England.

Meanwhile, a single-dose vaccine developed by Janssen is 66% effective, trial results have shown.

Janssen, a pharmaceutical company owned by Johnson & Johnson, is also investigating whether giving two doses will give either stronger or longer-lasting protection.

Click here or the image above to read more details.

If you or someone in your household receives a positive COVID-19 test result, the image attached shows what you should be doing

For further information please CLICK HERE


More than 100,000 people have died with Covid-19 in the UK, after 1,631 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were recorded in the daily figures.

Click here or on the image above to read the details.


Coronavirus easy read information from West Berkshire Mencap

Click here or on the image above to read the details.


Covid Vaccination update

The national NHS may have offered you a Covid vaccine some distance from where you live. You can accept it or wait to be contacted by your own GP surgery as soon as a vaccine slot is available closer to you. Your surgery will ring, text or write to you.

Click here or the image above to access the frequently asked questions around the vaccination.

You can also find more information here; Newbury Vaccination Centre Facebook Page.


Covid-19 Vaccine Q&A from Healthwatch England

The Covid19 vaccination programme has started and will build up steadily in the weeks and months ahead. It will gradually be extended to more and more people.

This Q&A uses information provided by the Department for Health and Social Care to help you understand the programme and answer questions from the public.

Click here or on the image above to read the Q&A

Information about Vaccines for autistic people and people with a learning disability

NHS England and NHS Improvement have published a film on vaccinations for people with a learning disability and autistic people.

Click here or the image above to watch the video.

Oxford University Hospitals Covid Update

The number of COVID-19 positive patients requiring treatment in our hospitals in Oxford and Banbury has increased significantly in recent weeks.
Our staff are currently caring for twice the number of COVID-19 positive patients than at the peak of the first wave of coronavirus in Spring 2020.

This has led to pressures on beds on our wards and in intensive care, operating theatres, and staffing levels.

We are redeploying some staff to work in areas where COVID-19 positive patients are being treated and working closely with our partners in the Oxfordshire health and care system, and further afield.

Click here or the image above to read the full update.

Job Centre Covid Update

To help keep customers and colleagues as safe as possible in the latest phase of the pandemic, the Department has decided jobcentre opening hours will be 10am to 2pm beginning on Monday the 18 January 2021.

This temporary change means we can continue providing safe, essential services for those who need to come into the jobcentre and who are unable to interact with us on the phone or digitally.

The opening hours of our phone lines remain as they were. In addition, the Relay UK service and the Video relay service are both still available.

Anyone entering a jobcentre will be required to wear a face covering, unless they are in an exempt category. Please remind your audiences to follow the latest government guidance on meeting with others safely and lockdown restrictions and that if we need to make an appointment with a customer, this will be by the phone. We will leave a message in their journal before we call them.

During national lockdown, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid19 have been advised to shield.

Click here or the image above to read the guidance.

Royal Berkshire Hospital Update

The Royal Berkshire Hospital has experienced a rise in Covid numbers over the last few weeks and anticipate this to continue for weeks to come. Although it is undoubtedly a busy time for the hospital, everyone at the Trust is reaching out to the Berkshire community to encourage those experiencing health concerns to keep appointments and seek treatment.

Click here or the image above to read the full update.

Click here to watch the video


Covid19: Vaccination rollout begins for over 70’s in England

Covid-19 outbreak: the key to quicker vaccine development

People in England aged 70 and over, as well as those listed as clinically extremely vulnerable, will begin receiving offers of a coronavirus vaccine this week.

Read the details by clicking here or on the image above. 


BSL lockdown information

COVID-19 lockdown information announced this month has been published by Public Health England in British Sign Language.

See the video below for details.


Updated guidance in British Sign Language for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people

Update from Oxford University Hospital

World first at OUH as Brian receives his COVID Oxford Vaccine

Dialysis patients under the care of OUH were the very first people in the world to receive the Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford on Monday 4 January.

Brian Pinker, 82, who was the first person to receive his vaccination from OUH Chief Nursing Officer, Sam Foster, said: “I am so pleased to be getting the COVID vaccine today and really proud it is one that was invented in Oxford.”

Professor Andrew Pollard, an Honorary Consultant Paediatrician at OUH and Chief Investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial, was also among the first people to be vaccinated on 4 January. He said: “It was an incredibly proud moment for me to have received the actual vaccine that the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca teams have worked so hard to make available to the UK and the world.”

More information is available on the OUH website.

Visiting arrangements in our hospitals

Just before Christmas we updated our inpatient visitor policy in light of rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the local community and a steep increase in the number of COVID positive patients being admitted to our hospitals. No visitors are now allowed with limited exceptions and exemptions, as set out on our website. Some patients have different arrangements, such as women in labour, children, patients at the end of their life, and patients with learning difficulties. The ‘Keep in Touch’ service is available for those who cannot visit their loved ones in hospital

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at OUH, says: “We never take these decisions lightly, however we have a duty to protect our patients and our staff. We have to do all that we can to keep everyone safe.”

OneTeamOneOUH response to rapid increase in COVID-19 patients

The festive period and the early days of the new year have been hugely challenging for us at OUH with an exponential rise in the number of COVID positive patients admitted to our hospitals. The number of COVID positive inpatients at OUH) increased from 88 on 18 December to 261 by last Wednesday 6 January

Elective (non-urgent, planned) inpatient and daycase activity at OUH has been postponed, where appropriate, in order to focus on urgent and emergency care for COVID and non-COVID patients and to enable the redeployment of staff to treat this cohort of patients.

We would like to thank all staff who have pulled together and shown great flexibility as clinical areas have been converted for use with COVID positive patients and staff have been redeployed in some cases as part of our OneTeamOneOUH response.

The Government has recently provided updated guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision.

The full official guidance can be found by clicking here or on the image above.


Royal College of Midwives Update COVID-19 Vaccination Information

This update from Royal College of Midwives contains details and recommendations about Covid-19 vaccine for women who are pregnant, planning pregnancy or breastfeeding. 

Click HERE or on the image above to read more information.


Stay Home Stay Safe

Update from Royal Berkshire Hospital

The Royal Berkshire Hospital has seen an increase in Covid positive patients over the last week and as a result a number of changes are being introduced to help ease pressure on staff and services.

All non-urgent elective cases will be paused for the next two weeks, apart from cancer, urgent care, and endoscopy procedures. This move applies to the RBH site only, and our other sites at West Berkshire Community Hospital, Townlands and Prince Charles Eye Unit will not be affected. This action is in line with national requests to pause elective work and redeploy staff to other key service areas.

Click HERE or the above picture to read the press release.


Covid-19: Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine approved 

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, with the first doses due to be given on Monday amid rising coronavirus cases.

The UK has ordered 100 million doses – enough to vaccinate 50 million people.

This will cover the entire population, when combined with the full order of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.

Long COVID Video from Royal Berkshire Hospital

Dr Aniruddh Shenoy, talking about Long Covid.

Click HERE or the image above to watch the video.

Dr Abid Irfan, Berkshire West CCG Chair, talks about coronavirus and the importance of keeping safe

Dr Irfan talks about what you can do to stay safe and help stop the spread of the virus.

Click HERE or the image above to watch the video


Guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable in Tier 4 areas

All clinically extremely vulnerable individuals in Tier 4 are strongly urged to follow the guidance, which is the same as the national guidance in November.

Click HERE or the image above to read the full guidance.

West Berkshire in Tier 4 Now


From the 19th December 2020 West Berkshire will go into Tier 3


GPs in Berkshire West begin offering COVID-19 vaccine as part of the biggest NHS immunisation programme

Patients are now starting to receive Covid-19 vaccinations at two Berkshire West GP surgeries, Wargrave and Tilehurst, in the latest stage of the roll out of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history.
Over the next couple of weeks other GP practices will be joining forces and contacting patients to offer them the vaccination, initially to patients over 80 years old and frontline health and care workers.

Today’s milestone marks significant work from practice teams across Berkshire West to work rapidly over the last weeks to plan for the vaccination programme, redesign their sites and put in place safe processes to meet the tough logistical challenges of offering the vaccination.
People are asked not to contact their GP surgery so that their practice team can focus on arranging the vaccinations and provide day to day for all of their registered patients. You will be contacted when it is your turn to receive the vaccine.

Dr Abid Irfan, Chair of Berkshire West CCG said:

“Today marks a significant day in Berkshire West as we go live with our first GP led services in the greatest vaccination programme ever undertaken by the NHS.
“It has been incredible to see the efforts of GP practices and teams across Berkshire West coming together to work collectively to prepare for today and I am proud of everyone who is involved.
“Whilst the vaccine offers our best defence against the virus, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t mean we can start to relax our attention to the hands, face, space regulations. I’d urge everyone to continue doing everything they can to comply with the Government’s rules and play their part in helping to keep themselves and their families safe,” added Dr Irfan.

Key message for the public
The public have an important part to play to help them do this:
• please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you;
• when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments; and
• please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.


Covid vaccine: GPs in England to begin offering Pfizer jab

Click here or on the image above to read the details.


Christmas Covid rules

Between 23 and 27 December, the three households will be allowed to form a temporary “Christmas bubble”. They can mix indoors and stay overnight.

Bubbles will be allowed to meet each other:

  • In each other’s homes
  • At a place of worship
  • In an outdoor public space, or garden

The bubbles will be fixed, so you will not be able to mix with two households on Christmas Day and two different ones on Boxing Day. Households you are in a Christmas bubble with can’t be in others.

Click HERE or the image above to read the full story

The first person gets the new COVID-19 vaccine.

A UK grandmother has become the first person in the world to be given the Pfizer Covid-19 jab as part of a mass vaccination programme.

Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, said it was the “best early birthday present”.

She was given the injection at 06:31 GMT – the first of 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that will be dispensed in the coming weeks.

Click here or the image above to read the full story


Hospitals to start biggest ever NHS Vaccination Programme this week

Read the details by clicking here or on the image above.


West Berkshire moves into Coronavirus Alert Tier Two

The UK has become the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech Coronavirus vaccine paving the way for mass vaccination

Elderly people in Care Homes and care home staff are top of the priority list, followed by over-80s and health and care staff.

Click here or on the image above to read the details.


Covid-19: Oxford University vaccine is highly effective

Laboratory scientist / technician handling blood samples from coronavirus vaccine trials inside Oxford University's Jenner Institute on June 25, 2020

jThe coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford is highly effective at stopping people developing Covid-19 symptoms, a large trial shows.

Interim data suggests 70% protection, but the researchers say the figure may be as high as 90% by tweaking the dose.

The results will be seen as a triumph, but come after Pfizer and Moderna vaccines showed 95% protection.

However, the Oxford jab is far cheaper, and is easier to store and get to every corner of the world than the other two.

Click here or the image above to read the details.


Online Thinking Together

We held our 5th Thinking Together event on November 19th, where we heard an update from the Crisis Service and we heard back from you about how Covid has affected your Mental Health.

Click here or on the image above to read the details.


CQC Inpatient Experience During COVID Report

The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been, and continues to be, profound. The virus has had a huge impact on the delivery of NHS care, with providers and staff having to adapt services at speed and under huge pressure, while ensuring hospitals remain a safe environment for patients and staff.

This survey asked patients to tell us about their hospital stay during the peak of the pandemic. Before this, there had been no systematic study of how patients felt about the care they received during this period.

The survey received feedback from 10,336 people who had received inpatient care in an NHS hospital and were discharged between 1 April and 31 May 2020, while the UK was in national lockdown. The unadjusted response rate was 42%. All data was collected between 14 August and 9 September 2020.

Click HERE or the image above to read the full report.


NEW 111 First System

The new 111 First system, which is being rolled out across the country in December, is aimed at easing pressure on ED teams and making sure people are seen in the most appropriate medical setting. This could be MIU, or the local Walk in Centre in Reading, a GP, pharmacy, dentist, or optician.

Click HERE or the image above to read the full press release.

New blood test booking system at the Royal Berkshire Hospital

A new blood test appointment booking system has been launched at the Royal Berkshire Hospital and Bracknell Healthspace.

Patients will now be advised to book their appointments via the Royal Berkshire NHS Trust website blood tests page.

Online Diversity Forum

We thank the speakers and all those that attended the 2nd West Berkshire Diversity Forum 2020. Great to see the high turnout and hear from so many diverse communities in West Berkshire about Covid. Click here or the image above to learn about the online Diversity Forum.


Public Health have found that people with learning disabilities had a higher death rate from COVID-19 during first wave.

This review analyses the available data on the deaths from COVID-19 of people identified as having learning disabilities.

The review looked at:

  • deaths from COVID-19 of people with learning disabilities
  • factors impacting the risk of death from COVID-19 of people with learning disabilities
  • deaths in care settings of people with learning disabilities

The review will help inform policy and practice to reduce the future risk and impact of COVID-19 on people with learning disabilities.

Click here or the image above to read the report.


BSL – The government gave details of a new vaccine, which may be able to prevent more than 90% of people from getting coronavirus


The NHS is ready to start providing the new Corovavirus vaccine ‘as fast as safely possible’, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said

BBC graphic

Click here or on the image above to read the details.


Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine prevented more than 90% of infections in a study of tens of thousands of volunteers

Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine trials in Hollywood, Florida, in Sept.

The Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE prevented more than 90% of infections in a study of tens of thousands of volunteers, the most encouraging scientific advance so far in the battle against the coronavirus.

Eight months into the worst pandemic in a century, the preliminary results pave the way for the companies to seek an emergency-use authorization from regulators if further research shows the shot is also safe.

Read the details by clicking here or on the image above. 

New Report from British Red Cross around loneliness

Lonely and left behind: tackling loneliness at a time of crisis provides rich insight into how some of the people most affected by the pandemic are coping, and how they’re not. Its findings make the case for more action to tackle loneliness as we head into new restrictions, and an inevitably difficult winter.

Click here or the image above to read the report.


Clinically extremely vulnerable receive updated guidance in line with new national restrictions

Clinically extremely vulnerable people in England have today received further guidance on keeping safe as the country introduces new national restrictions from Thursday, the government has announced.

The new advice details further precautions those in this group can take on top of the tougher national measures being introduced, as cases continue to rise across the country. Everyone not considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable will be expected to follow the new restrictions, such as staying at home unless shopping for food or exercising and not meeting up with people outside of the household.

Read the details by clicking here or on the image above.

Homelessness charities call for second Everyone In scheme in England

As a second lockdown looms over England, homelessness charities and councillors have urged the government to bring back a scheme thought to have saved the lives of hundreds of rough sleepers during the first.

About 15,000 homeless people were provided emergency accommodation in hotels in March and April this year as part of the “everyone in” policy. According to one study, the scheme saved an estimated 266 people from death.

Read more by clicking here.

Government extends Furlough to March and increases self-employed support

Please click here or on the image above to read more details and see what further economic support has been announced.


New Guidance for Care Homes

  • Visits should be tailored to residents and facilities and should prioritise residents and staff’s safety to limit the transmission of COVID-19
  • Care homes, especially those who have not allowed visits since March, will be encouraged and supported to provide safe visiting opportunities as new national restrictions come into effect
  • Measures put in place should provide COVID-secure opportunities for families to meet using visiting arrangements such as floor to ceiling screens, visiting pods, and window visit

Click here or the image above to read the full guidance.


National restrictions will apply in England from 5th Nov until 2nd Dec

You must stay at home, with a limited set of exemptions.

After 4 weeks the government will review the restrictions, based on the latest data.

Read more by clicking here or the image above.

A rise in stillbirths between April and June, at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, has prompted a national review by a patient safety body in England. During that period, there were 40 stillbirths after labour began, compared with 24 in the same period last year. Pregnancy and childbirth experts say women may have delayed seeking care. The HSIB told the Health Service Journal that it had seen approximately twice the number of intrapartum stillbirths compared to the same time last year.In a survey of nearly half of maternity units, 86% said fewer heavily pregnant women than normal had come forward with emergency issues in April, during lockdown.”

This may have been due to confusion around whether these appointments are essential, fear of attending a hospital or not wanting to burden the NHS,” Dr Morris said.

“We have consistently advised women who have concerns or worries about their or their baby’s health – including the baby’s movements – should seek medical advice from their midwife or hospital immediately.”

Click here to read further details. 

Furlough Scheme Extended and Further Economic Support announced

The prime minister Boris Johnson has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended rather than closed as originally planned, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked. The extension will cover a new lockdown in England which lasts from 5 November 2020 until 2 December 2020

Please click here or on the image above to read more details and see what further economic support has been announced


PM warns of virus deaths ‘twice as bad’ as spring

Read the details by clicking here or on the image above.


Public Health Berkshire

The latest Berkshire Covid-19 information at your fingertips

The dashboard provides you with real-time information for your local area, plus national statistics. You can also use the postcode search to get guidance for your own household.

Visit the information centre for details on a range of topics, including where to get tested and how to self-isolate. This will be refreshed frequently with new resources. Links at the bottom of each page will take you to your local authority’s website for further local Covid-19 updates.

Click HERE or the image above to access the page.

Covid-19: PM announces four-week England lockdown

New lockdown rules from 5 November - Pubs and restaurants closed but takeaways permitted, Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues closed, No household mixing inside, unless in your support bubble, Stay home – only leave for specific reasons including education and work

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a second national lockdown for England to prevent a “medical and moral disaster” for the NHS.

He said Christmas may be “very different” but he hoped taking action now would mean families can gather.

Pubs, restaurants, gyms and non-essential shops will have to close for four weeks from Thursday, he said.

But unlike the restrictions in spring, schools, colleges and universities can stay open.

After 2 December, the restrictions would be eased and regions would go back to the tiered system, he said.

Mr Johnson said: “Christmas is going to be different this year, perhaps very different, but it’s my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now we can allow families across the country to be together.”

Click here or on the image above to read further details.


The impact of Covid-19 to date on older people’s mental and physical health

This report from Age UK highlights how for some older people, staying at home to protect themselves from Covid-19 can lead to other health problems.

For example, the loss of mobility and balance as a result of moving around less, pain from untreated medical conditions and increased loneliness or anxiety.

Click here or on the image above to read the report.


Lights, camera, action – health staff help spread vital messages in foreign language videos

A series of four foreign language videos featuring hospital staff talking about important health issues has been issued to reassure people who need to attend for appointments and surgery that it’s safe to do so.

The films are in PolishNepalesePortuguese and Swahili and more are planned in other languages including Arabic and Punjabi. They are aimed at people who are still reluctant to attend for important hospital appointments or operations because they are worried about Covid and feel they may be a burden on NHS staff or that they may catch Covid.

The films outline the measures being taken to keep people safe and looked after when they come into hospital.

“Improve hospital discharge now”

Improve hospital discharge now before winter to manage second peak of Covid-19, warn Red Cross and Healthwatch England

Healthwatch England research shows significant numbers of people are not receiving follow-up support after being discharged from hospital under new policy, leading to unmet needs.

Getting discharge right will play a vital role in reducing readmissions and keeping hospital beds free this winter.

What Healthwatch England are calling for?

To improve hospital discharge for patients, their carers and healthcare professionals, ahead of winter and a second wave of COVID-19 admissions, Healthwatch England are calling on the health and care sector to:

•    Roll out post-discharge check-ins by phone or in person.
•    Develop a discharge checklist, including questions about transport and equipment needs
•    Improve communication by assigning a single point of contact for patients and carers
•    Link patients to voluntary sector partners or community pharmacists to deliver medicine and avoid delays.
•    Boost community care capacity and recognise the value of voluntary care sector in hospital discharge

Click here or on the image above to learn more and to read the Healthwatch England joint report with the British Red Cross.


Great Western Hospital Maternity Services: Covid19 FAQ

Due to the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases both locally and nationally, Great Western Hospital have had to reduce the visiting hours for their Maternity Services.

Your partner can now arrange a daily four-hour visit to Hazel ward, which can be either morning (9.30am-1.30pm) or afternoon (2.30pm-6.30pm).

Please be aware that these time slots are arranged to maintain social distancing between visitors, and so there may not always be a choice. Your partner will be allocated their time slot before being transferred to Hazel Ward.

“We know this is difficult, but it’s important that we are doing all we can to protect our vulnerable patients, staff and volunteers. We will continue to review these visiting times as the situation evolves. If you are ever in doubt, please speak to your Community or Hospital Midwife for advice.”

Please click here or on the image above to read Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about maternity services during Covid-19 at Great Western Hospital.


Public Health Berkshire Covid-19 Dashboard Tool

Public Health Berkshire have an interactive Covid-19 dashboard tool on their website, which enables people to track and view information about Covid-19, and see a rundown of this information based on a selected region within Berkshire.

An example of the information you can see from this tool has been posted in the image above, containing graphs, data about daily new cases of Covid and total cases.

The total number of people that have tested positive for Covid19 in West Berkshire is at 872 as of Wednesday 21st October according to this tool for example.

Click here or on the image above to visit the website, take a look at this tool and read the data.


Staying well this Winter

Health and Social Care teams across Berkshire West have joined forces to ensure an effective response to the challenges winter will put on services.

Hospital clinicians and staff, GPs, mental health organisations, ambulance teams and local councils have drawn up a comprehensive plan to make sure services are working well together and prepared for winter, flu and Covid-19.

A ‘winter wellbeing’ fact sheet has been produced giving useful information about the range of healthcare options available to people and encouraging them to get ready for winter. It’s available here.

Winter is always a very pressured time for the NHS with the cold weather, this, coupled with Covid-19, means it’s even more essential for health and social care teams to provide services that best meet the needs of local communities.

Read further details here.

Flu jabs, help protect yourselves and others

Health officials and council chiefs across Berkshire West have launched a high profile campaign aimed at encouraging as many people as possible to have a flu jab. It comes as hospitals and GPs, gearing up for the next phase of Covid-19, are worried flu patients will put further strain on health and social care teams.

On an average year the flu virus kills 11,000 people and hospitalises many thousands more. The flu vaccine is your best protection.

The groups eligible for a free flu vaccination are:


CQC: COVID-19 is magnifying inequalities and “risks turning fault lines into chasms” – focus now must be on shaping a health and care system that delivers for everyone

CQC: New Approach to Inspections – Tree View Designs

The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC’s) annual assessment of the state of health and social care in England looks at the quality of care over the past year. This includes the period before the full impact of COVID-19 began to be felt and CQC’s routine inspections were suspended as a result of the pandemic.

Read the details by clicking here or on the image above.


Covid-19: New three-tier restrictions come into force

Following the Prime Ministers announcement on local Covid alert levels throughout England, West Berkshire is now at alert level “Medium”.

Areas on medium alert are subject to the national restrictions currently in force prior to the Prime Ministers announcement, including the rule of six on indoor and outdoor gatherings and the 22:00 closing time for pubs, bars and restaurants.

We must all continue to obey the guidance to keep West Berkshire open and save lives.

Read more information by clicking either of the two images above, or by clicking here.


Virtual workshop about effects of Covid-19 on cancer care

An Interactive MS Teams workshop about the effects of Covid-19 on Cancer care is being held Tuesday 13th October 2:30pm – 3:30pm.

Please email: If you would like to attend. Click the image above if you would like to read further details.

NHS to offer ‘long covid’ sufferers help at specialist centres

People suffering ‘long covid’ symptoms will be offered specialist help at clinics across England, the head of the NHS announced. Read the details here. Have your say by email: / ring 01635886210

One in four people with mental health problems has to wait at least three months to start NHS treatment, and some do not get help for four years, new research reveals

Awoman sat on sofa showing signs of depression

Click here or on the image above to read the details

The numbers waiting over a year for hospital treatment have hit a 12-year in England high as hospitals struggle to get services back to normal

Read the details by clicking here or on the image above

Healthwatch West Berkshire 2nd Virtual Diversity Forum

We will hosting our 2nd Virtual Diversity Forum via Zoom on November 10th, from 6:00pm – 7:15pm, focusing on how Covid-19 has affected you, your family and community. There will be a panel of guest speakers. Register on Eventbrite HERE.

Interested in knowing more?

Call us: 01635886219
Email us: 


Berkshire Cancer Centre Patient Walkthrough Video

Berkshire Cancer Centre have uploaded a patient walkthrough video to help assure patients that it’s safe, and to advise patients on what to expect when they visit the Berkshire Cancer Centre, in light of Covid-19.

Click here or above to watch the video.

Protect your loved ones. Download the Covid-19 app 

A new NHS Covid-19 app is now available to download for free.

The app has a number of tools to protect you and your loved ones, including contact tracing, local area alerts and venue check-in.

Click here or above to watch a video which explains the details.


RBH launches Foreign Language Videos

A series of foreign language videos featuring hospital staff talking about important health issues has been launched today.

Four films in Polish, Nepalese, Portuguese, and Swahili have been made with clinicians and other health care staff from the Royal Berkshire Hospital. Further languages including Arabic and Punjabi are to be added to the list over the next few weeks.

Click here or the image above to read the full story.

Newbury MP Laura Farris referencing the work we have done in our Maternity report

MP for Newbury Laura Farris referencing the work we have done in our Maternity Report during her speech in Westminster Hall on Monday 5th October 2020.

You can watch the full discussion here.

The topic was “e-petition 306691 relating to the impact of Covid-19 on maternity and parental leave


Changes to local Libraries


Breast screening: One million women in UK may have missed scans

Almost one million women in the UK have missed vital breast screening due to coronavirus, a leading charity has estimated.

Breast screening programmes were paused in March as the NHS focused resources on tackling the pandemic.

Breast Cancer Now calculates that around 8,600 women who have not had a scan have undetected breast cancer.

The scanning programme is running again, but social distancing measures have reduced capacity.

Combined with the significant backlog of women waiting for a scan, and more women starting to come forward with concerns about possible symptoms, the charity warns the service is under intense pressure.

Click here or on the image above to read the details.


Healthwatch West Berkshire Maternity Report Now Published

Our Maternity Report (With Initial Covid-19 Feedback) September 2020 has been published. It looks like we have achieved some positive change.

We would like to thank all of the providers that responded to our report.

Click here or on the image above if you would like to read the report. Do get in touch and let us know what you think.


Covid rules: What are the new Coronavirus restrictions

  • Pubs, bars and restaurants to close at 22:00 BST
  • They will also be restricted to table service only
  • People should work from home wherever possible
  • Face masks compulsory for bar staff and non-seated customers, shop workers and waiters
  • Limit on guests at weddings reduced from 30 to 15
  • Plans to allow fans to return to sporting events paused
  • “Rule of six” now applies to indoor team sports
  • Fines for not wearing masks or following rules increased to £200 for first offence

Click here or on the image above to read the details. Or click here to read the information on the government website.

The UK Coronavirus Alert level is being upgraded from 3 to 4

The UK Coronavirus Alert level is being upgraded to 4, which means transmission of the virus is now high, or rising at an increasing rate.

Find out how the Alert level system works by clicking here or on the image above.


A message from Dr Shelley Hayles

Dr Shelley Heyles from Thames Valley Cancer Alliance reassuring patients about the safety processes in place to reduce risk of exposure to Covid-19, encouraging patients back into Primary Care, saying it’s really important that patients attend GP appointments.

Click here or on the image above to watch the video.

Alternatively, watch more videos from Thames Valley Cancer Alliance by clicking the links below:

Help us help you Cancer Awareness

A message from Dr Karen Sandhu

A message about Prostate Cancer


New Booking System at West Berkshire Community Hospital

Please be aware of the new booking system at the urgent treatment centre located at West Berkshire Community Hospital.  For more information click here or the image above.

Checklist for people prone to pressure ulcers & bedsores

Clinical staff have drawn up an advice check list to help people prone to pressure ulcers, or bed sores to self-manage their conditions at home. It’s aimed at reducing the risk of developing pressure ulcers or having them deteriorate.

Click here or the image above to read the full details


Updated Social Distancing Covid Guidance

Coronavirus Social Distancing Guidance 14th September

Government guidance for Social Distancing has been updated on 14th September 2020. Some of the key points from this guidance are as follows.

When seeing friends and family you do not live with you should:

  • meet in groups of 6 or less
  • follow social distancing rules
  • limit how many different people you see socially over a short period of time
  • meet people outdoors where practical: meeting people outdoors is safer than meeting people indoors because fresh air provides better ventilation

It is critical that everybody observes the following key behaviours:

  • HANDS – Wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds.
  • FACE – Wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • SPACE – Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors).

Please click here or on the image above to read the full details.


New public information campaign to prevent the spread
of coronavirus this winter

HM Government has launched Hands. Face. Space, a new campaign that urges the public to continue to wash their hands, cover their face and make space to control infection rates and avoid a second peak. The spread of coronavirus, particularly in enclosed spaces is shown in a new film, produced with experts in the field, which highlights the risk in simple, everyday interactions.

The campaign will run across TV, radio, print, out of home, social and digital display advertising.

Coronavirus Cases on the rise in England

Cases also on the rise in West Berkshire, but West Berkshire doing better than many other regions.

Read the details here or by clicking the images above.


Social gatherings above six banned in England from 14 September

Coronavirus cases rising

Social gatherings of more than six people will be illegal in England from Monday – with some exemptions – amid a steep rise in coronavirus cases.

The law change will ban larger groups meeting anywhere socially indoors or outdoors, the government said.

But it will not apply to schools, workplaces or Covid-secure weddings, funerals and organised team sports.

It will be enforced through a £100 fine if people fail to comply, doubling on each offence up to a maximum of £3,200.

The new rules – which come into force on 14 September – mark a change to England’s current guidance.

At present, the guidance says two households of any size are allowed to meet indoors or outdoors, or up to six people from different households outdoors. Until now the police have had no powers to stop gatherings unless they exceeded 30.

Click here or on the image above to read more details.


Our Chief Officer on Dentistry Issues

A clip from BBC South Today, recorded on Monday 7th September 2020, highlighting problems dentistry services are facing, including longer waiting times. Our Chief Officer Andrew Sharp makes an appearance and shares his thoughts in this clip.


Coronavirus West Berkshire Care home Survey

West Berkshire Social care services are doing everything they can during these challenging times to keep your relatives well in care homes, but there might be things that can be improved. Your feedback helps services spot issues that are affecting the care for your loved ones in care homes. #TellUs 
Contact us: 01635 886210 or

The following guidance contains information for parents and carers of children at registered childcare providers, primary and secondary schools and colleges. 

It includes:

  • new information on school admissions
  • updated information on travelling to and from nursery, childminders, school and college
  • updated information on education, health and care (EHC) plans, wellbeing and online safety
  • updated information about assessment and exams
  • updated information on face coverings

Click here or on the image above to read the guidance.


Senior managers from  Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust have issued a personal public ‘thank you’ to colleagues from the independent health sector for their superb support during the Covid crisis

Nicky Lloyd, Acting CEO of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“The pandemic has been incredibly difficult time for everyone across the health system. 
“The support we received from our colleagues in the independent sector has been second to none. Now that we’re easing services back on to our Reading site, we want to reassure people we have taken extensive measures to make their visits here as safe and welcoming as possible.” she added.

Take a look at the message in full by clicking here or on the image above.


Fatherhood Institute Covid Maternity Survey

The Fatherhood Institute have launched a survey focusing on maternity and Covid-19. Have you become a Dad or Mum during lockdown? Are you a midwife or health visitor? If so please share your experiences of maternity services in this survey.

You can participate by clicking here or on the image above.


Covid-19 statistics for West Berkshire

covid19 cases in west berkshire august 21st

A summary of data and information relating to covid-19. Read the full details and find out how many covid-19 cases and deaths there have been in West Berkshire by clicking here, or by clicking the images above or below.

coronavirus cases in west berkshire

420,000 children in England at risk of eviction unless government acts

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, warning that hundreds of thousands of children will return to school in two weeks with the threat of housing eviction hanging over their families

To read more details about this story, please click here.

Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – Safety Measures for your forthcoming surgical procedure or investigation


Coronavirus antibodies test ‘put public at risk’

Click here or on the image above to read the details


Our Chief Officer Andrew Sharp on BBC Radio Berkshire

Our Chief Officer Andrew Sharp was on BBC Radio Berkshire on Tuesday 18th August 2020, talking about Public Health England being replaced by a new body focused on preparing for external threats. You can listen to the audio clip above.

Depression in British adults doubles during Coronavirus crisis

The number of adults in Britain with depression has doubled during the coronavirus pandemic, official data shows, prompting calls for an urgent national plan to avert a “looming mental health crisis”

Please click here for further details.


More coronavirus-vaccine volunteers needed

More than 100,000 people have signed up to take part in future NHS trials of a coronavirus vaccine – but more volunteers are needed, researchers say.

To read more details about this story, please click here.


NHS figures reveal long waits for routine ops in England

The number of patients admitted for routine treatment in hospitals in England was down 67% in June compared with the same time last year, NHS figures show.

Read the details by clicking here or the image above.


Royal Berkshire Hospital CEO Steve McManus seconded to help NHS Test &Trace 

Picture of Steve McManus Chief Executive of Royal Berkshire Hospital outside main entrance of the hospital

Steve McManus, CEO of Royal Berkshire Hospital, starts a six month secondment today for NHS Test & Trace working with the Contain team led by Carolyn Wilkins OBE. 


Tell Healthwatch England about your experience of leaving hospital during COVID-19


Have you left hospital since the arrival of Covid19? Did you know what would happen next? Tell Healthwatch England your experience to help NHS services know how they can better support you and your loved ones in their confidential survey which you can view by clicking here or on the image above.


Healthwatch West Berkshire Facemask newsletter.

Our newsletter published on 07/08/2020 focused on facemasks, highlighting the latest guidance, when to wear a facemask, who is exempt and how to be exempt from wearing a facemask. plus more details. Click here or the image above to take a look.

If you like our newsletters do consider subscribing to our mailing list here.

Facemasks are not meant for babies

Babies and toddlers under the age of 3 years should not wear face coverings, as there is a serious risk of choking and suffocation. Some retailers are selling masks for babies and toddlers, however, Public Health England are very clear that these should not be used because of the significant risks.


Coronavirus: New 90-minute tests for Covid-19 and flu ‘hugely beneficial’

New 90-minute tests that can detect coronavirus and flu will be rolled out in hospitals and care homes from next week.

The “on-the-spot” swab and DNA tests will help distinguish between Covid-19 and other seasonal illnesses, the government said.

Please click here or on the image above to read the details.


Click here or the image above to read the updated care home guidance.

PM postpones lockdown easing in England

The further easing of coronavirus restrictions – due to come in this weekend – has been postponed for at least two weeks, amid concerns over an increase in coronavirus cases.

Read the details from the BBC News website by clicking here or on the image above.

Daily confirmed number of coronavirus cases UK

Confimed coronavirus cases UK

The increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in North West England and other areas is a reminder that this virus has not gone away. Please continue to socially distance, wash hands regularly, wear face coverings and get a test if symptomatic. 

BBC News – Coronavirus: England highest level of excess deaths

Please click here or on the image above if you would like to read the details.

BBC News – Coronavirus: Care home visits ‘delayed’ over lack of testing

Read the details by clicking here or on the image above.


Statement from the UK Chief Medical Officer on extension of self isolation period

In symptomatic people COVID-19 is most infectious just before, and for the first few days after symptoms begin. It is very important people with symptoms self-isolate and get a test, which will allow contact tracing.

Evidence, although still limited, has strengthened and shows that people with COVID-19 who are mildly ill and are recovering have a low but real possibility of infectiousness between 7 and 9 days after illness onset.

We have considered how best to target interventions to reduce risk to the general population and consider that at this point in the epidemic, with widespread and rapid testing available and considering the relaxation of other measures, it is now the correct balance of risk to extend the self-isolation period from 7 to 10 days for those in the community who have symptoms or a positive test result.

This will help provide additional protection to others in the community. This is particularly important to protect those who have been shielding and in advance of the autumn and winter when we may see increased community transmission.”

Learn more by clicking here or on the image above.

Face Coverings and Exemptions – When to wear a face covering and using an exemption card

In England, you must wear a face covering by law in the following settings:

  • public transport
  • indoor transport hubs (airports, rail and tram stations and terminals, maritime ports and terminals, bus and coach stations and terminals)
  • shops and supermarkets (places which are open to the public and that wholly or mainly offer goods or services for retail sale or hire)
  • indoor shopping centres
  • banks, building societies, and post offices (including credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs and money service businesses)

You are expected to wear a face covering immediately before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until you leave.

You are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

Face coverings are also needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries. They are advised to be worn in care homes. Individual settings may have their own policies and require you to take other measures.

You do not have to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to:

  • young children under the age of 11
  • travelling or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • being unable to put one on, wear or remove a face covering due to a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
Exemption cards

Some people may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering. This could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or even a homemade sign.

This is a personal choice and is not necessary in law.

Those who have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering should not be routinely asked to give any written evidence of this. Written evidence includes exemption cards.

Click here or on the images above to read more details.


Face covering guidance in easy read formats

Please click here or on the image below to read face covering guidance from Mencap, in easy read format.


Coronavirus: 3bn to prepare for possible second wave

The NHS in England will get an extra £3bn of funding to prepare for a possible second wave of coronavirus, Boris Johnson has announced.

The funding will also help ease winter pressures on the health service, Downing Street said.

Click here or on the image above to go to the BBC website and learn more.

Hancock calls for urgent review into death data in England

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has called for an urgent review into how coronavirus deaths have been recorded in England.

It follows confirmation from Public Health England that reported deaths may have included people who tested positive months before they died.

Other UK nations only include those who die within 28 days of a positive test.

Officials say the publication of daily death figures will be paused while the issue was “resolved”.

Read the details by clicking here or on the image above.

One million UK smokers may have quit in coronavirus lockdown

More than a million people may have quit smoking in Britain during the pandemic, figures have suggested.

A survey of 10,000 people indicated that across the country as many as 400,000 people aged 16 to 29 dropped their smoking habit during lockdown, and 240,000 aged over 50.

It is believed another 400,000 aged 30-49 have also quit since April, according to analysis by the charity Action on Smoking and Health and University College, London.

It is thought to be explained by the health threat, as Covid-19 has severe effects on the respiratory system.

Learn more by clicking here or on the image above.

Infection ‘R’ rate fell as low as 0.57 in lockdown, major study finds

The largest study so far into the spread of coronavirus across England has found infection rates fell significantly in the month before lockdown restrictions were lifted.

Initial findings have been published from the study, 120,000 volunteers took part.

The Imperial College London research tracks the prevalence of the virus during May and will provide a baseline for continued studies into how the virus is spreading.

Scientists reported that rates of infection halved every eight to nine days during May, placing the overall reproduction rate at 0.57 – which is lower than previously reported. The report is yet to be peer-reviewed.

Read more details here or by clicking the image above.


NHS Covid Guidance translated into 60 languages

The latest NHS guidance on COVID-19 has been translated into 60 different languages in both audio and written formats.

Click the image below to read the details.


Updated Face Coverings Guidance

Face covering guidance has been updated to reflect the changes coming on July 24th, where it will become mandatory for people to wear face coverings in shops.

Read the guidance by clicking here or on the image above.

West Berkshire Coronavirus Local Outbreak Control Plan (LOCP)

As part of the next stage of the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic, local authorities have to develop Local Outbreak Control Plans (LOCP) to prevent and control local outbreaks of the virus. West Berkshire council have worked with partners to publish thier LOCP.

The plan summarises how West Berkshire Council will aim to protect our residents and communities by minimising further spread or recurrence of Covid-19 across West Berkshire. We know that Covid-19 is likely to be with us until better treatments and/or a vaccine is available. It is therefore important that we all play our part in remaining vigilant and follow national and local guidance to keep us all safe.

The key aims of the plan is to detail roles and responsibilities in prevention and management of Covid-19, recognise and respond to outbreaks and prevent the further spread and recurrence of infection. Coordinated communication with the public, partners and the media will also be an integral part of the Outbreak Control Plan.

You can read a summary of the Local Outbreak Control Plan online here.

You can watch a summary about the LOCP above.

Coronavirus: Face masks and coverings to be compulsory in England’s shops

Wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England is to become mandatory from 24 July.

Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £100, the government is to announce.

The move will bring England into line with Scotland and other major European nations like Spain, Italy and Germany.

Since mid-May, the public have been advised to wear coverings in enclosed public spaces, where they may encounter people they would not usually meet.

It has been compulsory on public transport in England since 15 June.

Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt.

Click here or on the image above to read the details.


Coronavirus Cases and Deaths in West Berkshire

Click here or on the image above to go to the BBC website and learn more.


Relatives of care home residents with dementia should be treated as key workers, leading charities say

In a letter to the health secretary, they write that the care given by family members is “essential” to residents’ mental and physical health.

They argue the current limits on visitors have had “damaging consequences“.

They want visits to resume safely, with relatives given the same access to care homes and coronavirus testing as staff.

Signed by the bosses of leading charities including Dementia UK and the Alzheimer’s Society, the letter calls on the government to “urgently” address what it calls the “hidden catastrophe” happening in care homes.

Read the details here or via the image above.

Coronavirus: Data shows cases in England falling

Read this story by clicking here or on the image above.


World Health Organization rethinking how Covid-19 spreads in air

The World Health Organization has acknowledged there is emerging evidence that the coronavirus can be spread by tiny particles suspended in the air.

The airborne transmission could not be ruled out in crowded, closed or poorly ventilated settings, an official said.

If the evidence is confirmed, it may affect guidelines for indoor spaces.

An open letter from more than 200 scientists had accused the WHO of underestimating the possibility of airborne transmission.

Click here or on the image above to read the details.


Imedla Redmond (National Director of Healthwatch England) on BBC Radio 4

Imelda Redmond was on BBC Radio 4 World at One and BBC News on Tuesday 7th July talking about the impact of Covid on Social Care and the need for long talked about reform.

Listen to the audio clip from BBC Radio 4 below. 

RBH Re-introducing Services

Steve McManus, Chief Executive of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“it’s great that now we’re almost Covid free we can resume many of our services on site, and I’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding when we had to pause a lot of this work to concentrate on Covid.

“It’s very important as we resume services that people attend for their treatments. I can assure them we have done everything possible to make the hospital a safe and welcoming place. Of course, this will mean extra footfall on the site and more need for the car parking facility.

We just want to make people aware that from 13 July the barrier will be back in place.”

Click here or the image above to read the full letter.


Care home staff and residents to get regular tests

Staff will be tested for coronavirus weekly, while residents will receive a test every 28 days to prevent the spread of coronavirus in social care.

Click here or on the image above to read the details.

Updated advice on sheilding

The Government have announced that the advice for people who are shielding because of COVID-19 will be relaxed in two phases.

  • From 6 July those shielding will be able to spend time outdoors in a group of up to 6 people including those outside of their household, while maintaining social distancing.Those who are shielding and live alone or are single parents with children will also be able to create a ‘support bubble’ with one other household of any size, following the same rules that are already in place for the wider population.
  • From 1 August, the shielding advice will relax further, allowing those shielding to do even more, such as visit shops and places of worship, and return to work provided they take particular care to maintain social distancing and minimise contact with others outside their household.

Support available:

The food and medicine boxes facilitated by the National Shielding Service will stop as of 1 August, with everyone now being advised that they can visit shops and pharmacies.

Other forms of support – such as priority supermarket delivery slots and the NHS Volunteers Scheme – will continue.


People who were seriously ill in hospital with coronavirus need to be urgently screened for post-traumatic stress disorder, leading doctors say

Click here or on the image above to read the details.


Royal Berkshire Hospital : it’s safe to attend for appointments and vital to keep the dates set for any planned surgery.

Steve McManus, Chief Executive of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said today:

“We are now almost a Covid free hospital with just seven positive patients being treated here at the moment. We’ve implemented major safety procedures to make sure our patients and staff are as protected as possible and we are very anxious that people who do need to come here for treatment do so.”

Click here or the image above to read the letter.


Heatwave Alert Level 2

“The heat can affect anyone, but some people run a greater risk of serious harmmany people who are at higher risk of ill health due to heat are also at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19).”

“We still have much to learn about how coronavirus (COVID-19) affects the body but both heat and COVID-19 infections put a strain on the heart and lungs, the kidneys and are linked with inflammation in the body.”

Click here or on the image above to read the Heatwave guidance from public Health Engalnd.


New Measures to introduce face masks and coverings at the Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Hospital

Click here or on the image above to read the full letter.


Coronavirus: Result of 2m social distancing review to come next week

Ministers will announce in the coming week whether the 2m social distancing rule in England will be relaxed, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said.

The government has been reviewing the advice, amid warnings many businesses will not survive under current rules.

Mr Sunak said the outcome of the review will “make an enormous difference” to businesses “keen to see a change”.

Read the details by clicking here or on the image above.

Patients and visitors asked to wear face coverings at BHFT and HHFT hospitals.

To protect staff, patients and visitors from the spread of covid-19, members of the public must wear a face mask or covering in hospitals at all times, in line with national guidance.

See the images from Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BHFT) and Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) below, highlighting this information.


Covid19 Alert level will move from level 4 to level 3

The virus is still in general circulation, and localised outbreaks are likely to occur. You must continue to wash your hands and keep 2m distance.

Click here or the image above to see the details.

Our Chief officer Andrew Sharp was on Kennet Radio on Friday 19/06/2020, discussing the Coronavirus, Care homes, the BAME community and our survey.


Hospital Visiting Recommendations

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is new-hospital.png

Following the Secretary of State for Health’s announcement on 5 June 2020, by 15 June 2020:

  • hospitals should ensure that measures are in place so that all settings are, where practicable, COVID-secure, using social distancing, optimal hand hygiene, frequent surface decontamination, ventilation and other measures where appropriate
  • in all settings that are unable to be delivered as COVID-19 secure, all hospital staff (both in clinical and non-clinical roles), when not otherwise required to use personal protective equipment, should wear a facemask; worn to prevent the spread of infection from the wearer*
  • visitors and outpatients to hospital settings should wear a form of face covering for the same reason, to prevent the spread of infection from the wearer

Click here or the image above to read the full guidance.

Cancer Research UK have produced the following video, encouraging people to visit their GP Practices in light of the current COVID-19 situation.


Face coverings compulsory on public transport in England

More than 3,000 extra staff including police officers are being deployed at stations to make sure people comply.

Passengers without a covering will be asked to wear one, or will face being refused onboard or fined £100.

People with certain health conditions, disabled people and children under the age of 11 will be exempt from the rule.

In the coming days, hundreds of thousands of free coverings will be handed out at railway stations. The government says masks can be homemade, such as a scarf or bandana.

Click here or on the images above and below to read further details.


Coronavris Cases in West Berkshire

Coronavirus cases in west berkshire 14th june

Click here or on the image above to read the details.


Hospital teams are delivering special ‘end of life’ parcels to bereaved families who were unable to visit their loved ones before they died because of the visiting restrictions around Coronavirus

The parcel contains forget-me-not seeds which it’s hoped the families will plant and create memories for the future along with special poems, small hearts and a candle.

The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust’s bereavement team, Patient Liaison staff (PALs) and volunteers have worked together to create the boxes which will also include personal items such as watches and jewellery which belonged to the patient.

Click here or on the image below to read the full details.


Healthwatch West Berkshire in Newbury Weekly News

The impact of coronavirus on Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) groups in West Berkshire should not be lost in protests.

Click the image below to read the details.

What your dental service is doing to help keep you safe

Click the image above to read the details.

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust have updated the visitor guidance for staff and their patient’s family and friends

“PLEASE DO NOT VISIT if you have any symptoms of the virus (high temperature, new continuous cough, loss of taste and smell).

All visitors must wear a face covering/mask inside the hospital buildings – please bring your own if you have one. Do not bring any other unnecessary belongings with you.

We understand that this is difficult for lots of people, but it’s very important that we follow the guidelines.

Please follow social distancing rules and wash your hands before entering and leaving the building, and use the alcohol hand gel frequently inside the building.”

Click the image above or here to read the details.


Dental Update

Click here or the image above to read the full update.


Reading & West Berkshire Carers Hub activities during covid-19 outbreak

Click here or the image above to access the full diary for Carers Week 2020


Nearly 10,000 more died of coronavirus than previously reported

Read the details by clicking here or on the image above.

Plan dropped for all primary pupils back in school 

The plan for all primary school years in England to go back to school before the end of term is to be dropped by the government.

There had been an aim for all primary pupils to spend four weeks in school before the summer break.

But it is no longer thought to be feasible and instead schools will be given “flexibility” over whether or not to admit more pupils.

“The real problem seems to be the social distancing guidelines and these ‘bubbles’ of 15 pupils. So instead of having a class of 30 you could have a maximum of 15, and one teacher for every 15 pupils, and that is very difficult for schools.”

“They now need to double the number of classes, they need to stagger arrivals, breaks and lunch times, and that seemingly is too difficult with just the six weeks left to the term.”

Click here or the image above to read the details.

Carers Week 2020 research report

Carers Week carried out polling with YouGov to revisit how many people are caring in the UK today, the challenges they face and what the public’s worries would be if they became an unpaid carer. They also looked at public awareness of unpaid caring, whether the public thought unpaid carers were valued and whether the Government had provided sufficient support.

Click here or on the images above and below to read the report.

Coronavirus: Care home residents face steep hike in fees

Click here or the image above to read the details

A plan of action to improve mental health crisis pathways in Berkshire West, making them more readily available and easier to access, has been drawn up following input from service users and key stakeholders

Click here or on the image above to read the press release.


Sending all children back to school – and freeing parents to go back to work – could trigger a second wave of coronavirus, warn researchers.

UCL and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine team said testing and tracing contacts of those with the virus might help prevent this.

Click here or on the image above to read further details.

NHS trusts were not consulted before the government announced changes to the use of face coverings and visitor policy in English hospitals, the chief executive of NHS Providers has said.”

Click here or on the image above to read the details.


The number of people infected with coronavirus in homes in England has fallen to 5,600 a day, from 8,000 last week, statisticians suggest

The estimate is based on swab tests of 19,000 people in 9,000 households by the Office For National Statistics

Click the image below or here to read the details.


We are on page 6 in this weeks Newbury Weekly News discussing the local response to Covid-19

Page 6 of this weeks Newbury Weekly News highlights events that transpired at the West Berkshire Health and Wellbeing Board in relation to Covid-19.

Our Chief Officer praised the community response and efforts of council staff, key workers and the voluntary sector, but also highlighted some of the difficulties the board is facing saying “One of the things we can’t get away from is we have some tough questions to ask and some tough questions that the board have got to think about”

“The Covid death rate in West Berkshire is higher than in Australia”

Click the image below to read the details.

Downward trend in confirmed Covid-19 cases in West Berkshire

We continue to see a downward trend in the number of lab confirmed cases across West Berkshire. Important that we keep these numbers low by maintaining social distancing and regularly washing hands. The virus has not gone away!

Update from Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust via Twitter

For the safety of our staff, patients and wider community, visiting restrictions remain in place across our hospitals. Contact information for all our wards can be found at… Thank you for your support in helping prevent the spread of coronavirus”


Coronavirus: UK authorises anti-viral drug remdesivir

A drug treatment called remdesivir that appears to shorten recovery time for people with coronavirus is being made available on the NHS.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was probably the biggest step forward in the treatment of coronavirus since the crisis began.

Remdesivir is an anti-viral medicine that has been used against Ebola.

Click here or the image above to read the full story.

What to do if you have coronavirus Symptoms

Click here or the image above to book a test


CQC publishes data on deaths of people with a learning disability

chart showing the number of deaths of people with a learning disability, comparing deaths in 2019 with deaths in 2020, dividing the 2020 deaths between those not related to COVID-19 and suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases

“This analysis looked at all deaths notified to CQC between 10 April and 15 May from providers registered with CQC who provide care to people with a learning disability and/or autism (including providers of adult social care, independent hospitals and in the community), and where the person who died was indicated to have a learning disability on the death notification form.

“This data shows that between 10 April and 15 May this year, 386 people with a learning disability, some of whom may also be autistic, died who were receiving care from services which provide support for people with a learning disability and/or autism. For the same period last year 165 people with a learning disability, some of whom may also be autistic, died who were receiving care from services which provide support for people with a learning disability and/or autism. This is a 134% increase in the number of death notifications this year. This new data should be considered when decisions are being made about the prioritisation of testing at a national and local level.

Of the 386 people who have died this year, 206 were as a result of suspected and/or confirmed COVID-19 as notified by the provider and 180 were not related to COVID-19.

184 people were receiving care from community based adult social care services and 195 from residential social care settings. In other settings* where we were notified of deaths the number in each setting was less than five people and cannot be reported for confidentiality reasons”

Click here or on the image above to read further details.


Coronavirus: Ethnic minority risk report is published.

Public Health England has released its report looking at why people from ethnic minority backgrounds are “disproportionately” dying with coronavirus.

It shows age remains the biggest risk factor. Being male is another.

But if you strip out age and sex, people of Bangladeshi ethnicity have twice the risk of death than people of white British ethnicity.

The risk is higher for other Asian, Caribbean and black ethnicities too.

But it remains unclear why.

The analysis on ethnicity and risk did not consider a person’s occupation or obesity, even though both are known risk factors for getting seriously ill with coronavirus.

It acknowledges that more work is needed to understand and advise people about the risk.

Click the image above or here to read further details. Or click here to read the report.

Although most of us welcome the summer sun, high temperatures can be harmful to your health. The heat can affect anyone, but some people run a greater risk of serious harm. Many of those who are at risk of harm from heat are also at greater risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 and may need to spend more time at home than they would usually. Others may need to stay at home because they are self-isolating or recovering from the infection.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, its especially important that you know what actions to take to keep yourself and others safe from high temperatures.

Click here or on the image above to read how you can stay safe and keep your home cool during hot weather.


Government pledges to make 6,000 homes available for rough sleepers

The announcement is the latest reveal of the government’s plan to stop people returning to the streets following the Covid-19 crisis.

Click here, the image above, or here to read the details.

Coronavirus: Dental practices to reopen from 8 June

Click here or on the image above to read the details.

You can also click here or the image below to read the letter from Sara Hurley (Chief Dental Officer) and Matt Neligan (Director of Primary Care and System Transformation) where they ask all dental practices to commence opening from Monday 8 June for all face to face care.

Maternity support during COVID-19

Read about how coronavirus could affect you, your baby and your pregnancy care by clicking here or on the image below.

Woman holding a newborn baby

Testing Now Available

Click the links below to book a test.

People can apply for drive-through and home testing here if they are an essential worker.
For people that aren’t essential workers, they can apply for a test here, with further details found here.
Details about care home coronavirus testing can be found here.

How to use the at home coronvirus testing kits:

Dr Amir Khan shows you how to self-administer a swab test for coronavirus. It’s a simple nasal and throat swab (this is different to the nasopharyngeal swab test). This is for the self-test kits in the UK – exact models may vary. Please always follow the written instructions provided with your kit. If you’re at home, please register your kit online per the instructions in your kit – otherwise you will not get your results. The Coronavirus Testing Call Centre can be contacted on 0300 303 2713 between the hours of 0700 – 2300. This service can be accessed by people with hearing or speech difficulties by calling 18001 0300 303 2713.

Click here or the image below to watch the video.

UK suffers highest death rate from coronavirus:

The UK has suffered the highest rate of deaths from the coronavirus pandemic among countries that produce comparable data, according to excess mortality figures.

The UK has registered 59,537 more deaths than usual since the week ending March 20, indicating that the virus has directly or indirectly killed 891 people per million.

Please click here or the image below to read the full article.


Parents: Reducing stress, neglect and non-accidental injuries during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic:

Click here or on the image below to read the details.


Coronavirus deaths over 10,000 higher than Government figures

Yesterday, the Department of Health (DoH) put the UK’s coronavirus death toll at 36,914, with 261,184 confirmed cases. But according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics, the number of deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK has actually passed 47,000.

Click here or on the image below to learn more.

coronavirus cases in west berkshire

Coronavirus: Crisis a chance to ‘end rough sleeping’


Covid-19 statistics in West Berkshire Being highlighted at West Berkshire Health and Wellbeing Board

Deaths, new confirmed cases and number and proportion of care homes reporting an outbreak in WestBerks being compared to other regions.

As of April 17th “Hungerford has recorded the highest number of deaths” in West Berkshire, Compton and Chieveley hadn’t recorded any.

Our Chief Officer Andrew Sharp speaking at the West Berkshire Health and Wellbeing Board Meeting, highlighting some of the challenges and actions the Board need to take in relation to covid-19 while also going over some of the positive messages.

We also submitted 4 questions to the board in relation to covid-19 and care homes

What level of scrutiny/ transparency is happening in relation to Care Homes and Covid infection in West Berkshire, their levels of PPE, and numbers of staff trained to use PPE adequately?”

“How many care homes are on the ‘place with caution’ list currently due to Covid?”

How many care homes currently have a death or multiple deaths from Covid?”

Are Covid positive patients being discharged from Hospital to care homes in West Berkshire?”

Find out what the response was in the video below.

West Berkshire Health and Wellbeing Board Meeting

The West Berkshire Health and Wellbeing Board Meeting was livestreamed on West Berkshire Councils Youtube channel at 9:30am on Thursday 21st May.

You can watch the full meeting below.


NEW West Berkshire Youth Hub Launched

Click here or the image below to access the new hub information.

Coping with COVID-19 in Pregnancy Webinar

This webinar is open to all pregnant women who are receiving / plan to receive their maternity care under the SHIP (Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth) NHS Trusts.

Click here or the image below to access all the information.

What you can and cant do

Here’s a useful summary of some of the government changes that came in from last Wednesday.


More than 44,000 coronavirus-related deaths in UK

The figures put out by the ONS are around one-third higher than those announced by the government.

This is because the ONS figures include all mentions of Covid-19 on a death certificate, including suspected coronavirus, and are based on the date that deaths occurred.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health figures are based on when deaths were reported, and are for deaths where a person has tested positive for Covid-19.

As of 5pm on Sunday, 34,796 people in the UK had died after testing positive for Covid-19, according to the Department of Health.

Of the 44,000 coronavirus-related deaths across the UK, ONS figures show that 39,071 occurred in England and Wales up to May 8.

Click HERE or on the image below to read further details.

Mental Health Awareness Week Message during coronavirus lockdown from Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Prince William and Kate were joined by England captain Harry Kane, singer-songwriter Dua Lipa, actor David Tennant and two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, to delver a joint message broadcast across all radio stations in the UK at 10:59am on Monday 18th May  encouraging Britons to reach out to their friends.

Watch the video below.

Coronavirus symptoms: UK adds loss of smell and taste to list

“Do not go to a pharmacy, ask someone to go for you if you can.” and “stay at home if you have a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, it could be coronavirus.” –   This is the new information added to following the news that loss of smell or taste is a coronavirus symptom.

You can click here or the image below to read the details, or click here to go to the NHS website and see updated guidance related to loss of smell and taste.


Coronavirus involved in quarter of care home residents’ deaths in England and Wales

Data from the Office for National Statistics reveals that in the period from 2 March to 1 May 2020, there were 45,899 registered deaths of care home residents , 12,526 (27.3%) of which involved the virus.

The research found there had been a sharp increase in both deaths involving Covid-19 among care home residents and deaths not involving it. Between 28 December and 1 May, there were 73,180 care home deaths, 23,136 more than the same period last year.

The figures support the findings of a study from the London School of Economics published earlier this week which said the number of deaths among care home residents caused directly and indirectly by the pandemic was around 22,000, much higher than previously thought. The ONS said it was “looking into” the excess of non-Covid-19 deaths in care homes and would report its findings soon.

Click here or on the image below to learn more details.


Healthwatch England Chair Sir Robert Francis on BBC Newsnight

Chair of Healthwatch Engalnd Sir Robert Francis on BBC Newsnight saying that intimidating treatment some NHS staff have experienced after speaking up about PPE supplies is “a disgrace” – “It doesn’t need many to be treated in that way for many more people to be deterred from speaking up.

BBC Radio 4 – The Inquiry – Why are so many ethnic minorities dying in the UK and US?

“In news reports and newspapers, pictures of British healthcare workers who have lost their lives to Covid-19 sit side by side. if you look at those faces one thing stands out clearly. Of the 119 cases of NHS deaths more than two thirds are black or an ethnic minority – yet they only make up 20% of the workforce. Figures from the National Health Service in England show a disproportionate number of Covid-19 deaths are among these group.”

So what’s going on? Listen to the audio below if you would like to find out.

A&E admissions fall to record low in England amid coronavirus fears

A&E attendances in England have fallen to their lowest figure on record as people stay away from hospitals in the face of coronavirus, new figures suggest.

NHS England data shows 0.9 million attendances were recorded in April 2020, down 57 per cent from 2.1 million in April 2019.

It is the lowest for any calendar month since records began in August 2010.

Click here or on the image below to learn more details.

Community pharmacies accept unwanted/out-of-date medicines for disposal from patients, as this is an NHS contractual requirement.

It is important to note that this service has not been suspended during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Click here or the image below to read the full guidance.


Anyone who has been advised to shield by the NHS or their GP should continue to do this until at least the end of June.

Click here or the image below to read the do’s and don’ts from NHS England.


Healthwatch West Berkshire help change ONS COVID-19 Reporting for Learning Disabilities & Autism Deaths.

Click here or on the images below to read the full conversation.

Click here to access the latest ONS Figures.

For the first time, people in England are being advised to wear face coverings in some enclosed spaces.

The government for England says people should “aim to wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet”. That would include, for example, on public transport and in some shops.

They do not need to be worn outdoors, while exercising, in schools, in workplaces such as offices, and retail, or by those who may find them difficult to wear, such as children under two or primary aged children who cannot use them without assistance, or those who may have problems breathing whilst wearing a face covering.

Click here or the image below to read the full story.


Coronavirus: What are the new travel quarantine rules?

Click here or below to read the details

BBC News – Call for public inquiry into BAME death risk

Click here or on the image below to learn more details.


Black Britons almost twice as likely to die from coronavirus than white counterparts.

Black men and women are almost twice as likely to die from coronavirus when compared to white people, a new analysis by the Office for National Statistics has found.

The study, published today, shows that after accounting for age, wealth and factors such as disability, the risk of death for black men and women who contract Covid-19 was 1.9 times more likely than white men and women.

Click here or the image below to read the story.


‘The UK has had more deaths from coronavirus than any other country in Europe’


Coronavirus: UK hospital trials new treatment drug

Click here or the image below to read the details

The Duchess of Cambridge in conversation with midwives, parents and leading sector experts

Duchess of Cambridge speaking with health professionals during Maternal Mental Health Matters Week about the impact COVID19 is having on new & expectant mothers


The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

“When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government has introduced three new measures.

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  2. Closing certain businesses and venues
  3. Stopping gatherings of more than two people in public

“Following these measures will help limit the spread of coronavirus, reduce the impact on the NHS and save lives. Key parts of the measures are underpinned by law, which sets out clearly what you must and must not do – every person in the country must comply with this. The relevant authorities, including the police, have been given the powers to enforce the law – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.”

Click here or the image above to read further details, including the full guidance.

Black African deaths three times higher than White Britons

Coronavirus patients from black African backgrounds in England and Wales are dying at more than triple the rate of white Britons, a study suggests.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said a higher proportion of people from ethnic minority backgrounds live in areas hit harder by Covid-19.

However, they tend to be younger on average, so should be less vulnerable.

But the report found various black, Asian and minority ethnic groups were experiencing higher per capita deaths.

Click here or the image below to read the full story.

Statement by the Children’s Commissioner for England.

“On Friday 24th April the ‘Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020’ came into force, and are not due to expire until 25th September. These regulations make significant temporary changes to the protections given in law to some of the most vulnerable children in the country – those living in care.

“I do not believe that the changes made in these regulations are necessary– except perhaps for some clarifications (in guidance) about contact with children taking place remotely during the lockdown. Children in care are already vulnerable, and this crisis is placing additional strain on them – as most are not in school, less able to have direct  contact with family and other trusted professionals, and facing the challenges of lockdown and anxiety about illness – all on top of the trauma they have already experienced. If anything, I would expect to see increased protections to ensure their needs are met during this period.”

Click here or the image below to read the full statement.


NHS England issues plan to restart urgent non-covid care.

NHS England has set out a six-week action plan and priority areas for the health service as it seeks to restart a raft of non-coronavirus services. Click here or the image below to read the letter in full.

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has agreed to manufacture and distribute a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford.

The company’s chief executive, Pascal Soriot, said that “the need for a vaccine to defeat the virus is urgent”.

The first human trial in Europe of a vaccine began in Oxford last week.

Click here or the image above to read the full story.


Doctors leaders in Berkshire West have stepped up a campaign to remind non coronavirus patients that surgeries are still open and need to see people who have any serious health concerns.

Dr Abid Irfan, Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Clinical Lead, said: “There’s been a lot of publicity advising people about coronavirus symptoms and the need to contact NHS 111 and self isolate.

 “Our concern is that in the midst of all this, people who don’t have coronavirus symptoms, but are obviously very unwell, are not getting in touch with their GPs.

Click here or the image below to read the full story.

Coronavirus West Berkshire: Latest number of deaths involving Covid-19


Coronavirus: Care home deaths up as hospital cases fall

A third of all coronavirus deaths in England and Wales are now happening in care homes, figures show. Office for National Statistics data showed there were 2,000 coronavirus care home deaths in the week ending 17 April – double the previous week. Projections for the following week – up to last Friday – suggested the numbers have since continued to rise. It comes as coronavirus hospital deaths have started falling after peaking on 8 April.

Click here or the image below to read the full story.

Royal Berkshire Hospital launches pioneering COVID-19 Scheme


Sir Simon Stevens urging the public to use the NHS

Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens has launched a major new drive to urge the public to seek care and treatment when they need it, saying ‘We are here for non-coronavirus patients too.

Find out more about how the NHS is encouraging people to use vital services by clicking HERE.

Daily Coronavirus updates from Sign Health

SignHealth regularly post daily coronavirus updates on their Youtube channel. Their video posted on Sunday 26th April can be found below. If you are interested in this content, then be sure to take a look at the SignHealth website.  

west berkshire coronavirus cases


Covid19 update via Great Western Hospital Stakeholder breifing.

Read the details by clicking here or the image below.

Tell the NHS about your current experience of coronavirus

By answering some quick questions, you can help the NHS plan its response to coronavirus.

This survey will help the NHS understand more about how and where coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting people now.

The NHS especially wants to hear from you if you have symptoms, no matter how mild. But it also helps if you let us know if you’re feeling OK.

You can fill in this survey for yourself or for someone else, like a child or an elderly relative. If the person is aged 13 and over, check that they are happy for you to complete the survey for them.

Click HERE or on the image below to participate in the survey.

Up to 10 million key workers and their households can now book a coronavirus test online or through their employer, however as of 1:00pm on Friday 24th April “the online website for key workers to book coronavirus tests has temporarily closed following ‘significant demand’ the Department of Health has said

Click here or below to learn more, and to keep updated with the latest details.


Coronavirus Guidance during Ramadan

As Muslims begin to prepare for the month of Ramadan, the NHS has issued a reminder to those who observe the Islamic holy month to avoid social gatherings because of the risk of coronavirus. Click here or the image below to read this advice from NHS England.

The Muslim Council of Britain have also put together guidance for keeping safe during Ramadan 2020. Click here or on the image below to read the guidance.

Hospital joins major Covid study

The Royal Berkshire Hospital has joined the world’s largest clinical trial of drug therapy for patients with Covid-19 – the RECOVERY Study.

Patients with suspected or proven Covid-19 who are admitted to the hospital will be offered the chance to participate in the research, which is taking place at hospitals across the UK and currently has 6,000 patients recruited from 169 different sites. Click here or the image below to read the full press release.


New updates to occupational advice for employers and expectant mums from The Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists and Faculty of Occupational Medicine

Click here or the image below to read the full advice.

Royal Berkshire Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) is still a safe option for medical care

Steve McManus, Chief Executive of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said today: “We’re keen to reassure people that our ‘cold’ ED is open for businesses and should be the first port of call for anyone who becomes very ill with things like stroke, heart or serious breathing problems.

Please don’t worry about catching coronavirus or being a burden on our staff.  We are all still here for people who need our help. The same goes for parents and carers who are worried about a child who is very unwell and needs quick medical assessment,” he said.

Click here or the image above to read the full story.

West Berkshire council have put a leaflet together to give advice to people who are seeking extra support.

Please click here to read the full advice or the image below.

Urgent Dental Care in the South East stakeholder briefing

ONS weekly death data statistics

Office for National Statistics (ONS) weekly deaths data show that – of all deaths in England and Wales that occurred up to 10 April (registered up to 18 April), 13,121 involved COVID-19 – Comparatively Department for Health and Social Care figures show that 9,288 deaths occurred by 10 April.


A new guide offering support to families struggling during the covid 19 lockdown has been produced by a group of leading local health and social care organisations.

Please click here or the image below to read more.

Lasting Power of Attorney Update

A lasting power of attorney is a document that protects you when you can’t speak for yourself.  Guidance on what you can and can’t do when making one during the COVID-19 outbreak has been created.

Please click the image below to read the full guidance .


Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust have made changes to some of the services that they offer due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Click here or the images below to take a look.

Emergency Dental Update from Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust


Sir Robert Francis BBC Radio 4

Sir Robert Francis, chair of Healthwatch England was on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday 15th April discussing the NHS, Coronavirus and the social care sector. Listen to the audio clip below.

Sir Simon Stevens on patients with urgent needs accessing NHS

Sir Simon Stevens on Sky news, saying that there is capacity to look after patients without Coronavirus. Patients with urgent or emergency needs should use the NHS.

Coronavirus cases in West Berkshire

Confirmed number of Coronavirus cases in West Berkshire have increased by 32 over the past day and are at 180.

Coronavirus cases west berkshire 1th april

Meals on wheels team are trained and ready to support you

We are delighted to have helped Fairclose make this happen, they and the partners have done an amazing job. Anyone who thinks they know someone who would benefit from the hot food/ sandwich pack delivery service should get in touch on 01635 40488. Click image below to read the full article.

West Berkshire Council leaflet

West Berkshire Councils leaflet, which gives information to help keep you safe during the coronavirus pandemic and tells you about help available from West Berkshire Council, is now available in Hindi, Urdu and Portuguese.


BHFT Mental Health Update

Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust (BHFT) have provided an update for people suffering with mental health. Click on the image below or click here to read the full guidance.

ONS death figures

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) have published figures for deaths registered in the week ending 3 April 2020 (week 14). The provisional number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 3 April 2020 was 16,387. Click on the image below for more information.

Update from Autism Berkshire during COVID-19 Outbreak 

Please click here or the image below for an update on support that Autism Berkshire is providing at the moment, including some new online autism advice workshops and support groups, plus an online Teen Life course for parents and carers of autistic young people in West Berkshire.


Coronavirus west berkshire 13th April 2020


Racecourse gallops in to help meals on wheels

We were delighted to have helped Fairclose make this happen, they and the partners have done an amazing job. Anyone who thinks they know someone who would benefit from the hot food/ sandwich pack delivery service should get in touch

Easter Openings for GP Surgeries from the Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group

Click here or below to learn more info.

What is the difference between Social Distancing ,Self Isolation & Shielding?

Click the image below to read the details


Coronavirus cases west berkshire

Chris Boulton and David Dean discuss Pharmacies

Chris Boulton (Lead Greenham Trust) talking to David Dean (Pharmacy Thames Valley) about the work members in the pharmacies in West Berkshire are doing, supporting the community during Coronavirus.

Listen to the audio clip from Kennet Radio below.

An important message about safeguarding

Liz Steadman, Head of Safeguarding Children NHS Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group has shared an important message surrounding safeguarding. Click the image to watch the video:

An appeal from Steve McManus CEO of Royal Berkshire Hospital:

Picture of Steve McManus Chief Executive of Royal Berkshire Hospital outside main entrance of the hospital


Coronavirus Update from Sign Health

Updated Coronavirus Guidelines now translated into 43 different languages

The complete list: English, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Bengali, Bulgarian, Czech, Dari, Estonian, Farsi, French, German. Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Kiswahili, Krio, Kurdish Sorani, Lithuanian, Oromo, Malayalam, Pashto, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Sindhi, Slovak, Spanish, Somali, Tamil, Tigrinya, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese, Wolof, Yiddish.

Please click on the image below for more information


Two Primary Care Hubs being set up in Berkshire West

The new Hubs are being organised by health officials from the Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in partnership with local GPs. They will ease the burden on other healthcare facilities and free up hospital doctors to deal with more urgent coronavirus cases.

Downland Pharmacy Opening Hours Update

Coronavirus: How do you care for someone at home?


Queens speech on Coronavirus


Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – Changes to haematology and oncology services



Our Chief Officer Andrew Sharp appeared in the Newbury Weekly news, urging people to follow self isolation advice while talking about the NHS, the Coronavirus, and the support that is available to help.

See/click the image below to have a read.

Coronavirus domestic abuse West Berkshire Support and Guidance

West Berkshire Council have created some support and guidance for those that are experiencing domestic abuse during the pandemic.

For a full version of this guidance including links to support services, please click the image below.

Click HERE for older Coronavirus News in March/February 2020