Dr Nick Cross, executive medical director of Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, writes for the Globe ...

I'M delighted to be hosting our chief executive's column this week.

I want to take this opportunity to talk to you about the Government’s announcement, confirming that it is no longer a legal requirement in England to wear a face covering in indoor settings.

Whilst restrictions have been lifted, cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 are increasing in Wirral.

The number of people testing positive locally is extremely high again.

New positive cases are being seen each day across our communities, in nearly all age groups.

Along with the rise in infections locally, we are also seeing an increase in hospital admissions.

If you haven't had your second or even first dose of the vaccine yet I urge you to visit one of the many vaccination walk-in clinics across Wirral.

The vaccine ensures you have maximum protection from serious illness and hospitalisation.

You can find your nearest walk-in clinic by visiting www.wirralccg.nhs.uk

As an NHS Trust we are continuing to do the right thing to ensure the safety of our staff, patients and service users.

All existing safety measures will remain in place across all our sites and I'm asking you to continue playing your part to help protect the people of Wirral - particularly those who may be more vulnerable to infections.

Our number one priority is to keep you and our staff safe and we want your visit to any of our services to be the best it can be - we want you to feel confident about accessing our clinics safely.

If you have an appointment at any of our clinics, continue to follow these steps: 

  • Wear a face covering when entering any of our clinic buildings.
  • Face coverings play an important role across the NHS - they help protect vulnerable patients, staff and visitors by limiting the spread of this deadly disease.
  • Sanitise your hands upon on arrival using the provided alcohol gel, and again on arrival in the clinic waiting room.
  • Keep a two-metre distance from other people in the building.
  • Come on your own (exceptions apply). If you feel vulnerable, have a carer or have anxieties about attending your appointment alone please speak to a member of our team in advance so that we can support you the best way we can. If the appointment is for your child, only one adult can attend with them.

The robust measures we have in place, both in our Trust and across the NHS, are vital to prevent the spread of any infection including COVID-19.

This ensures that people can have confidence to access NHS services safely.

This week also marks the start of the school summer holidays and lots of families will be looking forward to spending time with loved ones, planning days out and even trips away.

The younger generation have felt an enormous impact over the last 16 months and I'm sure they are looking forward to enjoying the long summer days, but please remember the risk of COVID-19 to our children and young people has not gone away.

As the largest group not yet vaccinated, our children and young people are at a higher risk from catching and passing on the disease.

If your child has any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, even if they're mild please get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if they have the virus as soon as possible - for testing information visit www.gov.uk.

You, your child and anyone else you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get the test result - only leave your home to have the test.

We are doing everything we can to reduce the risk of infection - let’s all continue to play our part to protect our loved ones, NHS staff and our communities.

If the idea of getting 'back to normal' is causing worry for you, there are lots of ways to make this time easier.

Visit the ‘Every Mind Matters COVID-19 Hub’ for simple tips and advice - www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters.

Remember, we are still in this together.