LEADERS across the NHS in Hampshire and Isle of Wight have called on the public to support the NHS by staying safe and using the right service.

Seventeen leaders representing eleven organisations in the area have jointly signed an open letter to residents. 

The letter calls on the public to do the right thing, by following the Hands – Space – Face advice and by encouraging family and friends to the same.

In the letter, local NHS leaders say:“With the development of vaccines we now know we can beat this virus, but we cannot let our guard down.  These next few weeks will be the most difficult we have ever faced.  The colder weather makes things all the more challenging for us.  That is why we are asking for your help”.

They also explain there are a range of NHS services here to support the public, such as 111 Online, local community pharmacies, and urgent treatment centres.

The letter continues: "NHS staff are working flat out, at the most difficult of times. Frontline teams and support staff are doing everything they can, not only to treat people with COVID-19, but also to provide cancer care, screening, operations, care in the community, mental health services, and all of the non-urgent, urgent and life-saving treatments that people need, every day, in addition to delivering the biggest vaccination programme ever seen in England.

"Everyone – you, your family, your friends – can play a part in the effort to keep Hampshire and Isle of Wight safe and to support the NHS.

"You must stay at home, except in those circumstances where you have a legitimate reason to go out.

"All of us in health and care services across Hampshire and Isle of Wight know only too well what the impact of this pandemic has been on your physical and mental health. Don’t forget there are a range of NHS services here to support you."

The letter ends by stating: "Everything you do is helping to build a better year ahead.We feel so proud to work in health and care, and we want to support you during these most challenging of times.

"With your help this winter, we will continue to deliver the best possible care for you and your family. Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives."

  • Visit 111 online for advice. It’s easy to use – visit www.111.nhs.uk.
  • Your local community pharmacy can also give help and advice.
  • If you need urgent medical help, call 111 first, who can also book you in to be seen at your local A&E, urgent treatment centre or minor injuries unit.
  • Contact your GP practice for advice – check their website for their opening times and out of hours services.
  • If it’s a life threatening emergency, please call 999 immediately.