“We are fully prepared for Coronavirus” – top NHS doctor reassures Cambridge and Peterborough

PUBLISHED: 12:02 04 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:52 04 March 2020

“We are fully prepared for Coronavirus” – Dr Gary Howsam reassures Cambridge and Peterborough

“We are fully prepared for Coronavirus” – Dr Gary Howsam reassures Cambridge and Peterborough

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group

The people of Cambridge and Peterborough have been reassured that the NHS is fully prepared for the coronavirus, should an epidemic occur.

Coronavirus isolation pods set up at Doddington Hospital near March, Cambs.Coronavirus isolation pods set up at Doddington Hospital near March, Cambs.

Dr Gary Howsam, GB Clinical Chair and Chief Clinical Officer of the NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "In the media over the past couple of days and especially after the COBRA meeting (Monday), we've heard the Prime Minister talking about plans that are taking place at a national level.

"Today (Tuesday), we've had publication of a government 28-page document on COVID-19, that I've had the opportunity to read through and which outlines responsibilities for us more locally.

"While I think it is very important that people keep a good sense of perspective, it is a new virus - we're still trying to understand what it means for people and how it is likely to spread.

"However, I want to tell the people of Cambridgeshire and reassure them that within the NHS and within the CCG, with our partner organisations we spend a lot of time planning for exactly this sort of event.

"We've got some very well worked up plans and we do rehearse those plans over the years."

Dr Howsam was speaking at Tuesday evening's Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body Meeting.

He added: "Obviously, as a front-line General Practitioner I'm more than aware of the increased pressure that this might put on general practices that are already under a huge amount of strain.

"But we know that when General Practitioners and their teams work closely with their patients, that we're able to rise to most challenges that get thrown at us in the health arena."

Dr Howsam had three KEY messages that he wanted to pass on to the general public who may concerned about the CORVID-19 or 'Coronavirus' spreading:

- The absolute importance of very simple and basic hand hygiene - the washing of the hands very frequently with soap and water;

- If people have visited the areas that have been outlined as 'risk' or 'high risk' by the Department of Health and they start to feel unwell, then they should go home and self-isolate and call 'NHS 111' where people will be able to provide access to the appropriate tests and advice;

- If you do feel unwell - the most important advice is DO NOT go to your local GP Surgery or Hospital Accident and Emergency Department - INSTEAD, go home, self-isolate and call 'NHS 111' immediately

As of the end of Tuesday where Dr Howsam was chairing a meeting of the Board of Governors of the CCG, no known cases of Coronavirus had been reported in Cambridgeshire.

"This is changing by the hour as you can imagine, but as far as I am aware, we have no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Cambridgeshire.

"I know that we've tested a number of people locally, but nobody has tested positive… yet.

"I'm happy to reassure the people of Cambridgeshire that yes, we are very busy, but we will be able to cope and prioritise.

"We have the ability to flex our resources to see that our existing patients and the population of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are kept as safe from this COVID-19 virus, as we can possibly ensure."

If you require more general information on the symptoms of, or advice about the COVID-19 'Coronavirus', then use the NHS111 website: www.111.nhs.uk

There is also an enormous amount of information on the government website: www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response


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