Update from Westminster and Northumberland
This week's email touches on a few recent announcements, including some that may have passed you by.
As ever, please pass this on to whoever you like, and if you have any questions, please direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please avoid posting letters to me at the moment - they are taking some time to reach my local offices and Parliament from where they are re-directed. The fastest way to reach me is by email. If you send a physical letter, it should reach me eventually, but I would not recommend it for urgent matters.
As of yesterday (10th February) over 13million vaccines have been delivered. This is thanks to the incredible hard work of everyone involved: the scientists, those manufacturing the vaccine, those responsible for the logistics of supply and delivery, the admin support teams, the GPs, nurses, medical students, healthcare assistants, and the countless volunteers who are making this possible. THANK YOU.
I have now spoken to all three of our GP hubs (Berwick, Alnwick and Amble) and all have confirmed to me they have enough vaccine supply to complete those top 4 cohorts by Monday. However, if you are over 70 or clinically extremely vulnerable and you have not yet had your appointment confirmed and you are able to travel to Newcastle, you can book in yourself HERE to attend the large regional hub at the Centre for Life. You can find out your NHS number which is needed for the booking process HERE.
If you cannot travel, please do not call your GP surgery, they will call you, they are working very hard to call everyone registered with them.
If you are a key worker you can book in for a rapid lateral flow test, even if you are asymptomatic. Around 1 in 3 people with covid-19 display no symptoms, but can pass it on to those who are vulnerable to the disease. Regularly testing people who have no symptoms is helping to contain spread of the disease. You can find out more about how to get tested HERE.
Northumberland-based contractor Merit has been awarded the contract to build the new £30million hospital for Berwick. This is an ambitious project which has involved the community in each stage of the design process and will be such a benefit to the town and surrounding area. You can read more about the news HERE.
This week, MPs were updated on the testing of therapeutic treatments for covid-19, which are important in our strategy to control this virus.
In the UK there are currently three nationally prioritised Phase III trial platforms that are testing, in large patient numbers, the efficacy of multiple drugs that already have a safety record in humans. One of these trials, the Oxford University PRINCIPLE trial (for those with a recently confirmed case of COVID-19 who have not been hospitalised), is critical for identifying treatments that stop mild COVID-19 infection from progressing, thus reducing the risk of hospitalisation and minimising associated pressures on the NHS.
If you are aged over 65 (or over 50 but with an underlying health condition) and developed covid symptoms within the past 14 days, you may be eligible to take part. The trial is remote and does not involve you leaving your home. Find out more HERE.
The wonderful Maxine, who runs Northumberland Zoo, has launched a new initiative providing free animal and wildlife education classes online. They are a fun way of promoting learning about different species and their habitats at a time when we cannot see these wonderful animals for ourselves. They are a great resource for parents and available each Monday on the Zoo's YouTube channel.