Dear residents of Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

Easy read letter

Thank you for your continued support for your local NHS. Your support means so much to everyone in the NHS.

Thanks to the tireless work of everyone – from vaccinators to volunteers – the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out is on a clear upward trajectory, with more than 200,000 doses delivered locally and rising every day.

However, all hospitals remain extremely busy. There are many seriously ill patients, and COVID-19 cases remain very high. 1 in 3 people who have the virus have shown no symptoms, so individuals could be spreading it without knowing it.

Therefore, it’s really very important not to be complacent and undo all the collective hard work and your personal sacrifices.

For this reason, whilst recognising the personal economic impact of lengthy lockdowns, we strongly support the continuation of Government restrictions to protect our local communities. Any early relaxation would pose a very high risk to health.

Every single member of the public can help support our key workers and the national effort by following the rules to try to contain the virus and remembering hands, face, space, at all times.

If you have coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, new continuous cough or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, don’t delay, get tested immediately.

And remember, your NHS is still here for you. Just speak to your GP if you have a health worry.

Please:

• Stay at home – you risk being infected every time you leave your house
• Get vaccinated – take up the offer of the vaccine when it is offered to you
• Follow national restrictions – act like you have COVID-19, even after your vaccine
• Choose the right service – if you need advice and you are not sure where to go, visit NHS 111 or call 111

Together, we can continue to protect our families, colleagues and others around us, and our local communities.

Thank you from your local NHS in Dorset.

Signed by:

Professor Alastair Hutchison

Chief Medical Director, Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Nicky Lucey

Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Infection Prevention & Control, Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Forbes Watson

Chair, NHS Dorset CCG

Dr Karen Kirkham

Assistant Clinical Chair, NHS Dorset CCG

Vanessa Read

Director of Nursing & Quality, NHS Dorset CCG

Professor Paula Shobbrook

Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Infection Prevention and Control, University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Alyson O’Donnell

Medical Director, The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Dawn Dawson

Director of Nursing, Therapies and Quality, Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Faisil Sethi

Medical Director, Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust

Sam Crowe

Director of Public Health for Dorset and BCP Councils