April 2020

Dear [firstname]


Welcome to the sixth edition of Oxleas Engage.


In these extremely difficult times, we want to tell you what Oxleas is doing in response to the Coronavirus COVID-19.


There's an important message from your local GPs, and also information to help you keep yourself active at home and look after your health. There's information about how you can volunteer, if you wish, to support the COVID-19 crisis in your borough, or who to contact if you need help yourself due to self-isolation. Lastly, there's some helpful information and advice on dealing with bereavement during these sad times from our colleagues at Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice.


Earlier this year, you were invited to participate in our service user and carer survey. This was part of Our Next Step, a programme of work to develop a new 5 year strategy for the trust. We received over 500 responses - thank you so much for your feedback. All of your responses are being collated and we will be looking at emerging key themes to help inform our strategy. Unfortunately, the current situation has slowed down our strategy work, but we will let you know how your feedback is informing the strategy in due course.


I hope you keep safe and well.


Jo Mant

Head of Stakeholder Engagement

email: jo.mant@nhs.net / t: 02038 715617

Twitter: @JoMant2


General membership enquiries: oxl-tr.foundationtrust@nhs.net / t: 0300 123 1541

Latest news

Oxleas Chief Executive to help run new NHS Nightingale Hospital


As part of the efforts for everyone across the NHS to pull together to deal with COVID-19, our Chief Executive, Matthew Trainer, has been seconded to help run the NHS Nightingale Hospital. You can read more here. Dr Ify Okocha is Acting Chief Executive until Matthew returns to Oxleas.


Our response to Covid-19

In response to COVID-19, we are working hard to provide care for those most in need. We are working closely with colleagues in acute hospitals, primary care and the voluntary sector so that local people are supported whether in hospital or at home. Some of our services have been disrupted unfortunately but we are continuing to provide care using video and phone links wherever possible. We are focusing our resources on our acute, crisis and services caring for the most vulnerable members of society and continue to undertake assessments and provide care as needed. If you do require medical attention, do seek treatment and contact the emergency services if it is an emergency.


Information for patients

  • If you are a parent and you have concerns about your child’s mental health, please contact 0203 319 7666 Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. Please contact the SLP crisis line on 020 3228 5980 Monday to Friday 5pm-9pm and Saturday to Sunday 1pm-9pm. For all other times please contact the Oxleas Urgent Advice line on 0800 330 8590. Please also note that support is available via Kooth at www.kooth.com.  
  • If you are a patient of our mental health services and are experiencing a crisis, please do not go to Accident and Emergency departments but contact your care co-ordinator or our crisis line on 0800 330 8590.  
  • If you are expecting an appointment at home or at one of our team bases, you will be contacted by a member of our staff to explain how this contact will be conducted. Please do not call or visit one of our sites, we will update you.  

    Visitors to wards

    Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, our wards are now closed to visitors.


    We realise that this will be difficult for many people, however it is something we have had to do in order to protect patients, staff and visitors alike. We will keep this decision under constant review and as soon as we are able, we will reopen the wards. In the meantime, we are supporting patients to stay in touch with family and friends through phone and video calls.


    For the most up to date information on COVID-19, please visit the NHS Coronavirus (COVID-19) website

    Important message from GPs in Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich

    Doctors are asking patients not to put off contacting their GP surgery if they need to consult a doctor or nurse.


    Fewer patients have been consulting their doctor or nurse for their usual health issues or new physical or mental health problems during this pandemic and this is concerning doctors as there may be people out there who need medical advice and whose conditions may worsen if they don’t get it.


    Contact your surgery if you feel unwell - please do not ignore your symptoms particularly if you have a long term condition or other health problem gets worse. It is also really important that parents of babies and young children get in touch with their practice to arrange for their routine immunisations and that women who are pregnant or new mothers contact their surgery if they are worried about their own or their baby or child’s health.


    During this COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all heard the message to stay at home as much as possible and it’s great that people are doing this. GPs are still here for you though and it is important that you contact your surgery for advice or to make an appointment when you need to. So, if you need medical advice about something other than Coronavirus don’t be afraid to contact your surgery online or by telephone and they will advise you on whether you need to see a doctor or nurse.


    Although the COVID-19 pandemic means that patients are asked to contact their surgery online or by phone rather than go in person, doctors are still able to see patients via video conferencing or telephone consultation.


    Doctors and nurses can also still see and examine patients in person if this is necessary. This may or may not be at your regular practice because, working together, surgeries in your borough have made arrangements to try and ensure that they assess people with symptoms of COVID-19 separately from other patients.


    It is important to follow any guidance your practice has in place to keep you safe and continue to follow the government’s guidance to prevent the virus spreading. The NHS has also published information about how to access health advice at home.


    Stay safe and get the help you need when you need it.

    Look after your health and wellbeing

    Looking after your mental health - please visit our Looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak page.

    Public Health England   has expanded its range of resources to help you look after your and your family’s wellbeing.

    Every Mind Matters provides simple tips and advice to start taking better care of your mental health.

    You can access free easy ten minute work outs from Public Health England.

    NHS Fitness Studio has exercises you can do at home.

    Sport England also has tips for keeping active at home.

    The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep.

    Visit the NHS mental health and wellbeing advice website for self-assessment, audio guides and practical tools, if you are experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety or low mood.

    Kooth is free, safe and anonymous online support for young people.

    London’s digital wellbeing service, Good Thinking , provides a number of free NHS-approved apps and other resources to support you if you feel anxious, sleep deprived, stressed or sad. Good Thinking has published specific resources to support the mental health and wellbeing of Londoners during COVID-19.


    If you like WhatsApp you might like a new Government Coronavirus Information Service. The chatbot provides trustworthy information about coronavirus. To join the service send ‘hi’ to 07860 064422 on WhatsApp. It will allow the government to send messages through WhatsApp to users and for users to find trusted answers to common questions. The service will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and mythbusting.

    National advice and guidance

  • Guidance on staying at home and away from others (social distancing) - the latest information following the Government’s announcement on 23 March about staying at home as much as possible.  
  • Mencap have produced this easy read guidance .  
  • Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection - available in easy read and Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu and Welsh  
  • Guidance on social distancing – including protecting vulnerable people - available in Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Gujarati, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu and Welsh  
  • Guidance on protecting extremely vulnerable people (shielding) - available in Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Mandarin, French, Gujarati, Polish, Portugese, Punjabi, Urdu and Welsh

  • Dealing with bereavement

    Sadly, some of us may lose people around us - family, friends, neighbours, colleagues due to COVID-19. Our colleagues at Greenwich and Bexley Community Hospice have very kindly provided the following advice to help us understand and deal with our feelings due to a bereavement.


    Eight tips for coping with bereavement

    The death of someone close can sometimes seem like the most painful thing that has ever happened to you. It can feel bewildering and perhaps frightening. Grief is a natural reaction to loss. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Most people will experience similar feelings – initial shock and disbelief, perhaps numbness, through to periods of utter confusion, intense pain and questioning. There may be anger, regrets, searching for the person who has died and feeling very alone. Sometimes you may feel very overwhelmed and at other times more in control and able to get on with day to day activities. Grieving is not usually a smooth process; it takes time to adjust gradually to life without the person who has died.


    1. Give yourself permission to cry or be emotional – it is ok to show your feelings.


    2. Include the person in some way – perhaps light a candle or raise a toast.


    3. Give people permission to talk about your loved one. They may be frightened of upsetting you or saying the wrong thing, so let them know it is ok to share memories, perhaps by starting a conversation or recalling a memory.


    4. If you are feeling lonely whilst in isolation, reach out to someone. Pick up the phone, send an email, or start a video chat. The power of a friendly face, voice or words will help relieve some of that loneliness.


    5. Let loved ones know how you are feeling. We all grieve in different ways and you may need to let others know about your feelings and worries. They may not know what to say otherwise.


    6. Take advantage of a daily walk or run. Exercise will help the mind relax and, as long as you comply with the coronavirus regulations, it will do you good to have a change of scenery once a day.


    7. Sometimes it is easier to talk to people who aren’t family or friends, but who understand how difficult a bereavement can be.


    8. Remember, there are no right or wrong ways of living with and going through grief and also, no time limits – just be kind to yourself and know that all emotions and responses are normal and expected.

    COVID-19 local responses

    How to volunteer or request help if you're having to self-isolate

    Click on the links below if you would like to volunteer or you need help from a volunteer due to self-isolating

  • Bexley  
  • Bromley  
  • Greenwich  

    Update from Mind  


    Bromley, Lewisham & Greenwich Mind

    For the lastest news about the affect of COVID-19 on Mind services in Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich, please click here.


    Mind in Bexley

    For the latest news about the affect of COVID-19 on Mind services in Bexley, please click here.

    Update from Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT)

    CACT has some key plans in the pipeline to work with the Royal Borough of Greenwich (RBG) and a range of voluntary sector organisations to support a significant number of vulnerable residents following the COVID-19 outbreak. To find out more click here.


    Various programmes have adapted and moved to telephone or online-based services during this period, including the crime reduction mentoring CACT delivers and the counselling service in partnership with RBG and METRO GAVS. Other departments are adapting with online challenges and education resources via our social media accounts: @cafctrust on Twitter and Instagram.


    Lewisham, Greenwich and Southwark

    Bexley and Dartford

    Bromley and Orpington


    Call 116 123 free from any phone

    Our websites and social media


    To find out more about us and what we do, please visit our websites, follow us on Twitter @OxleasNHS and Facebook and check out our YouTube channel.


    Our websites:

    Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust

    Bromley Health Visiting Service

    Greenwich 0-19 Service

    Headscape Bexley

    HeadScape Greenwich

    Young Carers

    Queen Mary's, Sidcup

    Oxleas' Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)


    Got a problem or need advice about our services? Call PALS on 0800 917 7159 (freephone) or email oxl-tr.pals@nhs.net


    PALS can give you information about our services and the choices available to you, your family, visitors and carers. PALS will listen to your comments, compliments or concerns about our services and help you to resolve any problems you have as quickly as possible. PALS can give you information about our formal complaints process and independent advocacy services

    Don't miss out on Oxleas' news!


    Oxleas Exchange , our membership magazine - view past and present editions here .  

    Oxleas Engage   - view past editions here .  

    Contact us

    Anne Marie Hudson (governors) , Jo Mant, Nikki Sandhu (membership)


    We look after our members and Council of Governors.


    You can contact us or call 0300 123 1541 about membership issues.


    Want to contact a governor? Email oxl-tr.governors@nhs.net


    If you want to find out more about becoming a governor please contact Jo.

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