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Coronavirus Special Briefing Information - 14 May 2020
Revised details about coronavirus testing in Surrey – where to find information
People in Surrey who are eligible for a coronavirus test can find answers to their essential questions by visiting Surrey County Council

A revised, bespoke page on the Surrey County Council website clearly sets out who is now eligible for a test, how to book, information about the different types of tests available, and useful videos explaining how testing is carried out.

Under new guidance, in addition to key workers, testing is now available to anyone over the age of 65 with symptoms, anyone with symptoms who cannot work from home, and care home staff and residents.

All keyworkers in Surrey who have symptoms can book a test by registering on the Surrey testing hub. A member of the testing team will then be in contact to book the appointment.

New virtual wellbeing and mental health interactive hub launches
A new online wellbeing hub has recently been launched to enable Surrey residents to access a range of mental health and emotional wellbeing sessions virtually from the comfort of their own home.

Surrey Virtual Wellbeing is designed to become a one-stop-shop where those who require mental health or emotional wellbeing support can view, register and access online activities including virtual coffee mornings, group chat sessions and tailored exercise classes – all sessions that ordinarily would have been held face to face prior to the current lock-down measures.

Residents can access the hub by visiting Healthy Surrey. People can self-refer or be referred by someone else.

Those who are unable to access the online service, can access emotional wellbeing support through a free, 24-hour confidential helpline:

Telephone: 0808 802 5000 (in high demand periods an answerphone system may be in place)  SMS Text: 07537 432411 (staffed Monday to Friday 9am-2pm)

Healthwatch Surrey is asking residents to share their experiences during the pandemic
Healthwatch Surrey is supporting the NHS and social care in helping them to understand what has been working well and not so well for local people in health and social care services during the COVID-19 pandemic. They would like to hear about all health and care experiences during this time, whether it’s COVID-19 related or non-related.

Experiences can be shared by completing Healthwatch Surrey’s survey (it can also be completed on someone’s behalf).

To request a paper copy of the survey or the survey in an alternative format, contact Healthwatch Surrey: Telephone: 0303 303 0023 Text: 07952 787 533 Email:

Please share this information widely, as Healthwatch Surrey would like to hear from a diverse range of people.

Further information is available on Healthwatch Surrey.

Carers across Surrey set to receive a helping hand through online sessions
Three hundred unpaid carers across Surrey are set to receive access to free online awareness sessions to help support them and their vulnerable loved ones throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Surrey County Council working in collaboration with Surrey Heath CCG and North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG have joined forces with not-for-profit community interest company, Community Practitioner Alliance (CPA), to roll out free, digitally-supported one-to-one carer awareness sessions across the county.

The project, titled ‘SUCH’ (Supporting Unpaid Carers at Home), will help unpaid carers gain awareness of some of the steps they need to take to create a hygienically safer environment during the pandemic, with the aim of reducing infection rates.

Carers can access the sessions by requesting a referral by way of a Surrey Carers Prescription from any health or social care professional. Alternatively, they can contact Action for Carers Surrey: Telephone: 0303 040 1234 SMS:07714 075993 Email:

Eye care services open for urgent or emergency appointments
Routine eye care is currently suspended in all opticians. This means that regular eye tests are not currently taking place. Optometrists are currently providing urgent or emergency and essential eye care services only.

However, if you have any concerns about your eyes or the people you support, vision or glasses, you should phone your usual optical practice or the nearest one for their advice.

This includes:

  • changes to your vision
  • a painful or red eye
  • broken or lost glasses where you need a replacement pair to function
  • a problem with contact lenses.

If you are advised to go to the opticians and you think you have any coronavirus symptoms, tell your practice, but do not visit them.

For more information, please visit The College of Optometrists.

The Brigitte Trust is providing emotional support to local residents
The Brigitte Trust is a registered charity based in Dorking and has been providing emotional support to people with serious illness for over 35 years. The Brigitte Trust has over 100 trained and DBS checked volunteers. 

During these difficult times, The Brigitte Trust has extended their offer of emotional support to anyone in Surrey who may benefit from someone to talk to on the telephone. This type of regular support is particularly important now and especially for those who are alone and isolated, in low mood, bereaved, a carer or anyone who needs a chat.

To request a telephone call from one of The Brigitte Trust’s experienced volunteers, please contact Sarah Pattenden (Service Co-ordinator): Telephone: 07469 932192

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service to support ambulance service amid COVID-19 response
Surrey firefighters are assisting their blue light partners, South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb), in the battle against COVID-19.

Five staff members have completed training delivered by SECAmb in preparation for their new temporary roles as Ambulance Assistants. They have been upskilling their clinical care knowledge as well as some additional driving training so that they can work closely alongside paramedics, if required, crewing frontline ambulances.

The team of five are all operational firefighters from Godstone, Guildford, Camberley and Reigate fire stations. More information is available from Surrey News.

Action for Carers is running support groups by video link
After a successful trial, Action for Carers will be running their general support groups for carers, by video (using the ‘Zoom’ app). Carers can join using a computer, tablet or mobile.

The groups called ‘Coffee, Chat and Support’ start from 12 May and will be held every other week. Please note that booking is essential. Once registered, joining instructions, a brief guide to using Zoom and a password for the chosen group will be sent.

Register by:

  • Leaving a voicemail: 0303 040 1234 option 1
  • Emailing:
  • Visiting: Action for Carers

For further information, please visit Action for Carers.

Co-op introduces gift card scheme for vulnerable customers
The Co-op supermarket group has launched a gift card scheme for those shielding or self-isolating and reliant on others to do their shopping or who are volunteering to help someone they know, including as part of a local support group. 

By calling a dedicated Co-op phone line on 0800 029 4592, they can purchase a gift card which can be shared with friends, neighbours or volunteers to pay for shopping in their local Co-op store. If a volunteer group wishes to buy multiple cards to support vulnerable people, they can do this by emailing their requirements to

Please do promote the gift card to vulnerable people in your community that it would benefit.

Additionally the Co-op Health app connects people in England securely to their GP so they can automatically view and order the medications they need, from their mobile phone. Home delivery is at no extra cost to them or the NHS.

Mencap launches new online channel – Mencap TV
Mencap TV has been co-created with people with a learning disability in response to the current coronavirus outbreak. It is a collection of fun and instructional short videos released daily.

Sight for Surrey’s Deaf Services offers accessible coronavirus information
Sight for Surrey’s Deaf Services Team has been very busy since lockdown, translating many coronavirus announcements into British Sign Language (BSL) and making them available via Facebook.

If you or the person you support is a BSL user, then please follow Sight for Surrey on social media: Facebook: @SightforSurrey and @deafservicesteam Twitter: @SightforSurrey

Instagram: @sightforsurrey

Sunnybank Trust’s services currently available for people with learning disabilities
Throughout the pandemic, The Sunnybank Trust is providing the following key services:

  • Sunny Sessions: A twice weekly radio show for people with learning disabilities on Mondays and Thursdays (11.00am - 12.00pm).
  • Sunnybank at home activity packs: These are emailed and posted weekly and provide activities and ideas whilst in lockdown. Videos of the craft activities are available on YouTube.
  • Stay in touch friends: A weekly, bi-weekly or daily call from a volunteer to chat and check if any help is needed. Additional support or supplies or help with staying in touch will then be offered.
  • Zoom social groups including: Coffee and chat, drama, pub night and others.
  • Advocacy support: For anyone with a learning disability either on a specific issue or long term is available. Please note there is no charge for this service.

For more information, please visit The Sunnybank Trust or contact:

Headway Surrey brain injury charity is still open for business
Headway Surrey is still providing a lifeline for vulnerable adults with a brain injury during the COVID-19 pandemic through new, remote support services.  

Virtual classrooms, teaching memory and fatigue skills, education on brain injury, art classes and online quizzes to welfare calls and a helpline (01483 454433) are all available.

New clients can self-refer to be assessed via video calls and then can select from a range of virtual support sessions. Professionals can seek advice and information for potential clients.

Do you know anyone worried about their energy supply or who needs advice to keep their bills down? Surrey Community Action’s Warmth Matters project can provide advice on:

  • Topping up a pre-pay meter
  • Switching energy suppliers during disruption caused by coronavirus
  • The Priority Service Register
  • The Warm Home Discount Scheme
  • Financial support from energy and water companies.

For email and telephone advice, or more information, please contact Surrey Community Action: Telephone: 07521 503 696 Email:

Trading Standards’ No Cold Calling packs
Trading Standards’ No Cold Calling packs have been delivered to vulnerable residents in Surrey. If you would like to request a pack for yourself, a family member or friend, please email:

Stay Alive App
The Stay Alive app is a suicide prevention resource for the UK, packed full of useful information and tools to help a person stay safe in crisis. It can be used by anyone having thoughts of suicide or if concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide.

The app also includes a safety plan and links directly to local and national crisis resources. For further information, please visit Grassroots.

Coronavirus Special Briefing Information correct as of 29 May 2020
Spreading the Word Survey

We’d like to understand the full extent of our readership for this regular briefing and would be grateful if you could answer two very quick questions on Surrey Says please. Thank you.

Latest coronavirus information in Surrey
Please continue to visit the central The coronavirus web pages which have Surrey related information, including how to get help, advice and support, information on council services available, schools, testing, mental health and wellbeing, how businesses can get involved and much more.

10 tips to help if worried about coronavirus
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means that life has changed for all of us and some people may feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, bored, lonely or frustrated. It's important to remember it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently.

The Every Mind Matters website has 10 ways people can help improve their mental health and wellbeing if they are worried or anxious about the coronavirus outbreak.

Find specific tips and advice for maintaining mental wellbeing while staying at home onEvery Mind Matters.

Virtual coffee mornings for people living with cancer
The Macmillan Integrated Cancer Care Team is hosting virtual coffee mornings to help Surrey residents who are living with cancer to share, connect and learn.

For more information: Telephone: 07813 997 004 Email:

There are also links to chair-based exercises and strength exercises. Professionals and information providers please share the video with local residents.

Updated information from the National Shielding Programme
The National Shielding Programme has provided information about individuals who need to shield as well as those who no longer need to shield and gives information on:

  • How individuals are identified as needing shielding
  • What role the GPs and hospital clinicians provide
  • How a patient is told they no longer need to shield.

Guidance on shielding can be found on GOV.UK.

Citizens Advice Elmbridge (West) still offering advice

Twenty advisers from Citizens Advice Elmbridge (West) who offer advice to clients living or working in Walton, Hersham and Weybridge are offering a telephone and email service for people who need help and advice.

Their current top queries include:

  • How to claim benefits due to job loss or self isolation
  • Explaining the Government’s income replacement schemes and who can access them
  • How to get help from local foodbanks.

Telephone: 0300 330 1179 Email:

There is also useful up-to-date information on the nationalCitizens Advice website.

Safe Havens are still open
Safe Havens remain open for people experiencing a mental health crisis and can offer peer support in a welcoming setting, an appropriate alternative to A&E for those experiencing mental health problems and their carers, and professional staff, including mental health practitioners who are able to carry out mental health assessments if needed.

The Safe Havens are available in Guildford, Woking, Aldershot, Redhill and Epsom.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is offering employment support for customers
The DWP is still offering employment support with the most vulnerable customers being given a care call to check on their wellbeing and check if they are being given community support.

Customers who are looking for work are being contacted by telephone and if appropriate offered future telephone calls or digital contacts to assist them in finding employment.

The DWP is currently looking at alternate ways of operating some of their services, e.g. Job Clubs or Jobs Fairs virtually via Skype etc.

The new Job Help website offers information on what types of roles are good to apply for right now, whether people are looking for permanent, temporary, full or part time work, and the Employment Advisers in each Jobcentre are also getting in touch with local employers to see they can help with their vacancies.

Age UK Surrey offering help to get online
The importance of being online and able to manage with communication tools like email, Skype and Zoom has been heightened recently. Age UK Surrey computer drop-in volunteers are offering a free telephone digital help service, which is arranged at a time and day that’s mutually convenient, and aims to help residents get online.

The charity is also offering some of their classes virtually including Men in Sheds, Haslemere Lunch Club and the Falls Prevention Class. The Information and Advice Session will continue to take place virtually every Thursday at 2pm for anyone over 50 years of age, and carers.

Government guidance for trustees managing financial difficulties
The Government has set out some guidance for trustees, especially smaller charities, who may need help facing difficult situations or decisions because of the COVID-19 crisis. The guidance covers the considerations and practical steps to take when a charity faces serious financial difficulties.

65+ Stay in, work out
Active Surrey has information on keeping active at home which can help people stay healthy and happy, as well as maintaining strength and balance during the lockdown.

The site has links to useful organisations and services which can provide exercise information including the NHS, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, the Green Goddess and Joe Wicks.

Active Surrey also has exercise information for people who have a chronic health condition or disability including links to the British Heart Foundation, British Blind Sport, Cerebral Palsy and Adaptive Yoga.

Welfare benefit changes during coronavirus pandemic
Surrey Welfare Rights Unit has the latest Government information regarding welfare benefits including:

  • Extension of the Job Retention Scheme
  • Further details on how to access the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme and when this is paid
  • Six month automatic extension to Personal Independence Payment for certain claimants.

Age Concern Epsom & Ewell’s support for older residents
Age Concern Epsom & Ewell is offering older residents aged 65+ who are isolated from family, friends and neighbours in the borough essential assistance in the form of shopping, prescription deliveries and telephone befriending services, which aims to bridge the gap whilst residents are isolated from their daily support network.

Telephone: 01372 732 456 (Monday to Friday 9am-4pm)

Mental health and emotional wellbeing support for staff /volunteers
As part of the county’s response to the coronavirus crisis, staff and volunteers are working on the front line, and behind the scenes, as well as dealing with emotions, personal situations, and adapting to new ways of working. This can heighten stress, anxiety and isolation.

To help look after mental health and emotional wellbeing, a range of information, support and resources specifically for staff and volunteers are now available on the Healthy Surrey website which includes:

  • Practical guidance on eating well, sleeping well, getting exercise, staying safe, staying well, financial issues, occupational health and physical needs.
  • Practical information, tools, training or applications to build emotional resilience and wellbeing for individuals and teams or dealing with specific work-related issues and bereavement.
  • Specific support for psychological or emotional support including helplines, counselling, first aid and more.
  • How to access more advanced support and ongoing therapy.

Outline offering telephone help
Outline can help people who are struggling with their sexuality or gender identity and want to access support or talk it through with someone else and are still offering telephone support through their helpline.

The telephone helpline is open Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 7.30pm-10pm.

Text message support: (SMS) via 07451 289261 Telephone: 01483 727667

Outline on FacebookOutline on Twitter Post: Outline, PO Box 21, Woking, GU21 6ZH

Wide pavements and new cycle paths could help unlock Surrey
Surrey County Council is working to help pedestrians and cyclists so that they can stay safe and social distance while they are out and about and taking exercise.

The Government has given councils emergency measures during the coronavirus pandemic to temporarily create wider pavements and new cycle paths to ensure people can keep a two metre distance from people outside their households and continue to use alternative ways to travel. Plans are progressing in Farnham, Godalming and Reigate.

Next steps for specialist emergency care hospital consultation
Improving Healthcare Together 2020 to 2030 (IHT) has published the findings of the consultation which was held between 8 January and 1 April 2020.

The report is an independent analysis of all consultation feedback on the proposals to address the challenges facing Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust and will be used as one of the pieces of evidence, alongside other evidence to inform South West London and Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Groups’ decision making process.

Next steps will be to consider all the feedback, which showed broad support for the proposed clinical model and importantly to undertake further work to explore some of the key themes raised before any final decisions are made.

For further information email:

Samaritans Self Help app can help you keep track of how you are feeling and more
The Samaritans Self Help app can help track people’s mood, create a safety plan to keep people safe in a crisis, keep track of things that make people feel better and practice techniques to help people challenge and cope with difficult feelings.

Samaritans Self-Help app is a web application that can be used online in a browser or installed on a computer or smartphone. It's not monitored by Samaritans volunteers, and Samaritans can't see what is written in it.

Surrey GP Carers Registration Survey Report published
The gives details on the findings of the annual survey which was circulated to all GP practices in Surrey in January 2020, with a closing date of the end of March 2020. The response rate to the survey this year was low undoubtedly due to coronavirus.

Key findings of the report include the following:

 The overall number of carers in Surrey registered with their GP has risen to 28,667 – an increase of 3.96% on the previous year’s total of 27,575.

  • The number of Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) carer numbers increased to 2,086 from the previous year’s total of 1,442. This represents an increase of 30.87%. Although a welcome improvement this only represents 11% of the overall BAME carer population (Surrey BAME population 16.5%)

 Local digital shared care record for health and care professionals

The Surrey Care Record, which is managed by the Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Group is a local digital shared care record for health and care professionals across Surrey Heartlands. This goes live on 1 June 2020.

Surrey Care Record allows the secured sharing of health and care data between authorised health and care professionals in order to deliver safer, quicker, more personalised and more co-ordinated local health and care services.

Improved sharing of information includes tests and results, medication and knowledge of allergies. It will also ensure that staff with appropriate authorisation have access to people’s information, that care details are kept up-to-date and accurate, and reduces the risk of errors and delays to people’s care.

Free mental health and debt guide from The Money Saving Expert
44 page booklet has been produced which is supported by Mind, Rethink, CAPUK and others for people with mental health problems and those caring for them.

The booklet covers how to handle debts when unwell, how to work with banks, where to find free debt counselling as well as specific tips for bipolar disorder and depression sufferers.

Contact SCAN

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