Access to Healthcare during COVID-19

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Don’t delay seeking medical help because of coronavirus

People living in Wiltshire are being advised not to let worries about coronavirus stop them asking for medical help for themselves or their children if they become ill, have a serious accident or have a concern about their health. 

They are also being warned that not seeking medical help for symptoms that could be the early warning signs of serious conditions such as cancer could be putting lives at risk.

The warning comes as new data shows a considerable drop in the number of people coming forward to ask their GP for help and advice during the coronavirus outbreak.

Recent statistics show that, in Bath alone, the total number of weekly referrals from GPs to the Royal United Hospital have fallen from around 2,000 at the beginning of March to 300 at the end of April.

In Swindon, the average number of patients being sent by their GP to the Great Western Hospital for further investigations into symptoms that suggest cancer each week has dropped by more than 200 to 80.

Dr Ruth Grabham, Medical Director at BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG, said the statistics made for worrying reading because the drop in numbers  “is not because people are not experiencing symptoms.”

“While it may seem that coronavirus has put a stop to most aspects of everyday life, the one thing it hasn’t stopped is what’s going on inside our bodies,” she says. “Now more than ever, we need to pay attention to anything that isn’t normal and seek help early on.

“For example, if you notice blood when going to the toilet, or if you’ve found a lump that wasn’t there previously, or if you’ve just noticed something odd that is causing you to worry, you need to speak to your GP.

“Should the symptom be the early warning sign of something serious like cancer, that delay in seeking help could have serious implications for how successful possible treatments may be.”

Although GP practices across the region have adopted new ways of working, such as establishing isolated clinics for potential coronavirus patients, the practices themselves are still open to offer care, treatment, advice and peace-of-mind.

The same also goes for emergency departments at the three hospitals in Bath, Swindon and Salisbury, all of which continue to be open 24 hours a day for people with a genuine and life-threatening health concern.

Additionally, all healthcare facilities in the region, as well as those elsewhere in the country, have put in place stringent infection control measures to ensure that the risk of contracting coronavirus while visiting a hospital or GP surgery remains low.

Dom Hall

Communications & Engagement Specialist – Strategic Projects
NHS Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group
M: 07500 121720  |

Chargeable Garden Waste Collection Service Renewal Process

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COVID-19 Community Groups Newsletter

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17 April 2020

This newsletter is for community groups that are coordinating efforts to support those in self isolation and people in need, with tailored information, advice, hints and tips.

Wiltshire Council support

The Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub

We have set up a dedicated hub to support the most vulnerable residents during the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The hub is available to anyone who is struggling during this difficult time, such as people who are shielding or self-isolating and don’t have a support network around them or know where to get help.

People can get in touch with the hub via email at or by calling 0300 003 4576. It’s available from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday.

Community Group Directory and Volunteer Group Information Pack

We have created a communities group directory and an information pack for volunteer groups to help them support their communities during the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The information pack includes top tips on setting up a volunteer group, advice on supporting those in self-isolation, a range of template forms and useful signposting to other resources. Both are available on the Wiltshire Council website.

Please email with any amendments, deletions or additions to the community directory.

Online active communities resources

With people stuck at home for the foreseeable future, we’ve compiled a list of resources across a wide range of subjects to try and provide something of interest for everyone.The resources have been broken down into categories: Keep active; Mental Health; Read and rhyme!; Creativity, culture and heritage; Digital learning; Home schooling. View the online resources.

Safeguarding, DBS, and Data Protection advice

We have produced a guide for community groups in Wiltshire who are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, regarding safeguarding, DBS checks and data protection.

This is to support groups in their work to protect vulnerable people from potentially unscrupulous people and to support volunteers to feel confident the work they are doing is safe and appropriate for all.View the Safeguarding guidance for volunteer groups

Wessex Community Action list of VCSE organisations and Befriending Guidance

Wessex Community Action logo. Supporting Community and Voluntary Activity

Wessex Community Action’s dedicated Covid-19 page for the VCSE organisations in Wiltshire. They will aim to make it as practical and as comprehensive as possible so you have a one stop shop for resources and information. They are working with the councils for voluntary services across the country and sharing resources. They are very grateful to be working with these partners and being able to sharing our resources collectively. At the bottom of their page make sure you are signed up to receive the Wessex Community Action newsletters to keep automatically updated with local and national news.

Befriending Guidance for Covid-19 Groups Supporting Isolated Residents

Many volunteers in your community maybe offering to call isolated residents to reduce their sense of isolation and loneliness. This Befriending Guidance can be used as a template to share with your volunteers.

More on Wessex Community Action

Mental health support and advice

Here are a few local and national initiatives and organisations that can help:Every Mind Matters.The Every Mind Matters website has been updated to reflect how to look after your health and wellbeing during COVID-19 including how to look after your body.NHS mental health and wellbeing advice website. For self-assessment, audio guides and practical tools, if you are experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety or low mood.Mental Health Foundation. Looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak.MIND. Have an excellent resource for managing your wellbeing at this time.Domestic Abuse supportTurn2me. A lifeline online. There is free access to online support groups, great resources including podcasts on a wide range of subjects.Young Minds. Tips on how to cope with mental health challenges during the current crisis.The Help Hub. Supporting those in isolation.Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership. Telephone 24/7 response line 0300 3031320.Teen Talk Young Melksham. A hotline for 11 to 25 year olds for the whole of Wiltshire.Re-engage. Charity offering befriending and a listening ear for older people.Wiltshire Treehouse. Are using phone and online support to help those in need, at a time when face to face help is not possible. Kath Brownlee, Bereavement Service Lead says “We anticipate that deaths from the coronavirus will present some unique challenges for families and their children. Social distancing means that saying goodbye to loved ones can be difficult, and some deaths will be sudden and unexpected. We can provide young people with an outlet for their feelings, whilst assisting parents to better understand how to help their grieving child.” 

Richmond Fellowship telephone service for wellbeing support

Richmond Fellowship logo of three figures blue, red and yellow

Richmond Fellowship are now offering telephone advice and support across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire to help people struggling with anxiety or other mental health concerns in the current situation.

Please contact them if you want to find out more about the resources available to you on-line or in the community to help you cope during these challenging times.

Please leave a voice message or email using the contact details – clearly stating your full name, your telephone number and a brief summary of your inquiry – and they will get back to you within 24hrs Monday to Friday during office hours. 

Telephone: 01380 724833 


Age UK telephone calls for older people

Age UK Wiltshire logo

Are you or someone you know self-isolating and not having regular social contact?   

Age UK are offering ‘reassurance’ social telephone calls to older people from one of their friendly volunteers for a temporary period. If you would like to receive a call or you know someone who would benefit, please get in touch with them.

 Telephone: 0808 196 2424


RSPCA help during COVID-19

Photo of man walking dog on a lead, along a track through woodlands.
The RSPCA has produced guidance to make sure people with animals are prepared.

Ensuring pet owners are prepared: 

The RSPCA has produced a poster that can be downloaded and filled in by members of the public who have pets/animals. The aim being they will approach family/friends/neighbours who can care for their pets if they are hospitalised. This poster should be displayed in a visible place, for example on the fridge, etc so that the emergency services can see plans have already been made for the animals. Please do share this with the public in your community to try and help ease the pressure on the Adult Social Care teams in finding boarding spaces for animals. 

Dog walking:

Guidance has been produced on dog walking and we would strongly urge you to share this widely so that dog owners and all dog walkers are aware of it. It sets out sensible measures to ensure dogs can still be exercised with precautions taken for them and people. For example, all walkers should keep dogs on leads at this time – to help ensure social distancing, and avoid owners coming into contact with one another should they have to go and retrieve their dog or in the event of an incident as well as potential veterinary visit. Importantly it outlines information for those wishing to support key workers or those who are self-isolating or shielding by taking their pets out for a walk.More about RSPCA advice for pet owners

Wiltshire Community Foundation lists funding opportunities

Wiltshire Community Foundation has compiled a list of funding opportunities as well as organisations offering support and advice at this challenging time. This list is regularly updated and do let the community fund know if you are aware of any other opportunities.

The Wiltshire Community Foundation have also launched their own Coronavirus Response Grants programme to distribute funds raised through their own appeal and Wiltshire and Swindon’s share of the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal fund.Find out more about funding opportunities

Persimmon’s Charitable Foundation funding

Building Futures scheme

Persimmon’s Charitable Foundation has committed to relaunching its Building Futures scheme for 2020. As part of its sponsorship of Team GB, Persimmon will donate more than £1 million to support children in sport, health and education.

They are calling on local groups which support children to apply.

Community Champions Initiative

Persimmon’s Community Champions initiative has run since 2015 and gives away £64,000 every month in single donations up to the value of £1,000. So far over £3.5million has been donated in the UK.

Persimmon has decided that from April 2020 all Community Champions funding will go directly to groups supporting the over 70s.How to apply for Persimmon’s Charitable Foundation funding

Warm and Safe Wiltshire advice service

The Warm and Safe Wiltshire advice service is still busy helping people who are struggling to keep warm and to manage their fuel bills. We know that the current situation is particularly challenging for vulnerable people and that domestic energy costs have risen as households are obliged to stay at home.

A reminder of the work they do:

They help people access fuel vouchers through their energy supplier, various schemes or our project resources. They also act as an advocate in helping people seek postponement of payments and discretionary fuel credit through their suppliers.They help people connect with Foodbanks and food parcel services in their area and sign up for extra support from the government.They support households in a no heat situation by providing new oil filled radiators to eligible households in the short term, and referrals to installers and schemes for heating repair or upgrades in the long term.

 Through close working relationships with organisations in the area, they can refer onto numerous helpful third parties.

 They offer in-depth caseworker support to make homes warmer, save money on fuel bills, seek out grants and discounts and make energy saving improvements to homes.If you have a patient or service user that you feel could do with their support please refer to them.Find out more about Warm and Safe Wiltshire advice

Keeping safe when helping others

The government has published guidance that focuses on how people can help friends, family and neighbours in isolation safely.

This guide is to inform those who are well and not at risk, of the things that they can do to help support their friends and neighbours who need to stay at home because of Coronavirus.More on how to help others safely

Grass Cutting and Grounds Maintenance

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Wiltshire Council have confirmed that non essential grass cutting and maintenance works are suspended due to COVID-19.Important visibility splays for road junctions etc. plus maintenance along footpaths will continue, the latter so that our community can take its hour long exercise.
The Parish Council will therefore, in the interim, seek to undertake some of the grass cutting where appropriate such as outside the village hall to keep our environment looking good (maintaining social distancing and the correct procedures in place).  Also we would like to say a big “Thank You” to those of you who are safely cutting their verges in front of their houses.

Thank you for your patience and understanding with this.

Tilshead Parish Council

Gillian Tatum

Clerk to Tilshead Parish Council

Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust

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COVID-19 Update

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Dear All

Hope you are well and keeping safe.

I thought I would update you on some of the things happening and the new services set up by Wiltshire Council to help us over this time. Some of this information will already have been sent out to the Parish Clerks so please forgive me if you already have this. Please feel free to send this out to your members and constituents. Sorry there is quite a bit.

If you wish this to be also sent to whomever is heading up your Covid 19 support groups then please let me have their contact details.

First an overview:

Wiltshire Council declared a Major incident when the seriousness of this became known, the council is the first line of defence and after the NHS is responsible for the co-ordinated response all over Wiltshire.

All committee meeting are cancelled where possible, others are held by Skype, and the day to day running delegated to the officers so our response to circumstances can be immediate. The leader Philip Whitehead and the Deputy Leader Richard Clewer are the only councillors effectively working at this time. There are currently approximately 4,500 staff working from home. The IT logistics to set this up have been immense.


The council has set up a dedicated hub to support the most vulnerable residents during the ongoing COVID-19 situation based at Five Rivers leisure centre in Salisbury

Over the weekend a group of our amazing community-minded colleagues volunteered to help by contacting over 840 of our most vulnerable residents. They checked in to see if they needed food boxes or essential supplies and the 107 people who did require urgent food parcels have all now received them.

The Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub is available to anyone who is struggling during this difficult time, such as people who are shielding or self-isolating and don’t have a support network around them or know where to get help. The team can help provide support but also signpost them to where additional help is available in their local area, via the community groups that you have set-up across the area providing invaluable assistance.  

People can get in touch with the hub via email at or by calling 0300 003 4576.  It’s available from 8am-8pm Monday-Friday and 10am-4pm Saturday and Sunday.

The hubs open in Trowbridge, Chippenham and Salisbury will continue to be open for the following essential face-to-face services:

  • Support for the homeless

  • Adult social care

  • Children’s social care

  • Support for vulnerable people

The Customer Service Team will continue to support the communities on all other matters through the customer services number 0300 456 0100 (lines open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday) and via social media channels. (Probably the best bet)

Information pack to support volunteer groups:

I know most of you will have had this information but I thought it was worth including.

The council has published a ‘COVID-19 Volunteer Pack’ to help volunteer groups support their communities during the ongoing COVID-19 situation. 

Many groups have shared their way of working and this pack brings together a lot of their best practise in setting up an effective response, including top tips on setting up a volunteer group, advice on supporting those in self-isolation, and a range of template forms and useful signposting to other resources.

The ‘COVID-19 Volunteer Pack’ can be downloaded at and can be used in conjunction with the Community Groups Directory which lists all the volunteer groups the council has been informed are providing support in their community.  This directory will be updated as much as possible. Please make sure your group  is registered so people contacting the wellbeing Hub can be put in contact with you.

Council Tax and Business Rate Payments:

To support people as much as possible during the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the council has confirmed that no resident or business in Wiltshire will have to pay council tax or business rates until June 2020 if they are struggling.

Any resident wishing to defer paying their council tax in April and May 2020 can contact the council and this will be arranged. Those payments will then be taken in February and March 2021 instead, as council tax is normally only collected over the first ten months of the financial year.

Similarly, businesses who also wish to defer business rates payments for two months, and not pay in April and May, can also arrange that by contacting the council. For anyone wishing to do this, the council will freeze direct debit payments, so people do not need to contact their bank to arrange.

People should call 0300 456 0109 or email to request the deferral – these will be taken at face value and there will be no vetting of anyone wishing to defer payments for April and May 2020.

For those who choose to defer, payments will resume in June 2020 and will be taken over the 10 months from June 2020 to March 2021. For those that pay annually, they can still do so at Those that make manual payments can also continue to do this if they wish, but they will need to contact the council if they want the April and May payment break.

Working age residents who benefit from the current Council Tax Support Scheme will receive an additional reduction to their bill in line with the government’s hardship fund criteria. Those households eligible for this reduction will automatically be re-billed.

Business support:

We are committed to supporting all of our businesses through these unprecedented times and will continue to work closely with Swindon and Wiltshire Growth Hub to ensure we deliver information and support to businesses as quickly as possible.

The first of our COVID-19 Business newsletters was published this week (Click here) and we continue to provide updates on our website and through social media channels.

This week the council has issued a letter to 10,000 businesses who we believe may be eligible for either the Small Business Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund. The letter requests businesses to provide information on eligibility so please encourage any relevant businesses in your area to return this to us as quickly as possible so that we can release the grants to help support them.  The council has received the money from the government and could be distributing it as early as the end of this week depending on businesses response. If businesses have any questions about the letter they can email for further assistance.

The Chancellor announced the introduction of a Self Employment Income Support Scheme

which will:

  • pay a taxable grant worth 80% of their profits up to a total of £2,500 per month. This scheme will be open for at least three months and grants can be claimed from June 2020

  • be open to businesses with average trading profits of up to £50,000 over the last three years. Only those who are already self-employed and have a tax return for 2019 will be able to apply. HMRC will contact these businesses directly

  • allow an extra four weeks from today for businesses to submit their tax return for those who missed the deadline

  • provide eligible businesses access to Universal Credit with an advance payment available almost immediately after the claim has been submitted

FAQs relating to the scheme can be found here . An overview of other government support for businesses can be found at


I urge you all to be patient at this time, the sheer volume of people seeking assistance is immense.

Rubbish collections – Our contactor is under pressure with 20% staff isolating and the problem of keeping apart a 4 man crew in the front of a cab so please understand if your collections go slightly awry.

Grass cutting –  the council is only cutting areas that are a key or a safety issue. Verges will not be cut unless it is a safety sightline. It is probable that as government guidance becomes ever more stringent, we will be able to maintain less and less grass, for example in open spaces and cemeteries. We are having to scale back our operations to essential services only.

Garden Waste – The Council has postponed the renewal process for garden waste collection until 15 June, due to the pressure on council services because of COVID-19. Garden waste collections will continue, provided the council’s contractor has sufficient staff to maintain service delivery. Customers who have already paid for the garden waste collection service will continue to have their garden waste collected until 30 June 2020. Residents should continue to place their garden waste bins out with their red stickers as usual.  The council will contact you in due course with details of the renewal process. Collections will continue from 1 July.

Finally, please keep up the good work. Your contribution and hard work in defending our communities has been immense.

I will keep you updated as and when. In the meantime keep safe.



Kevin Daley

Wiltshire Councillor for Till and Wylye Valley

Tel: 07775 508148

COVID19 Town and parish council update 19/03/2020 – on behalf of Cllr Philip Whitehead

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Good morning,

This is the first of a regular message to give you the latest information on COVID 19.

  • For up-to-date information about council services, health advice, and information to support your communities, please see our COVID-19 page, and encourage your communities to access information and council services through this page.

  • You can also sign up for our email newsletter to get the latest information direct to your inbox.

  • Please directed any queries to the info hub Please do not contact officers directly as all COVID-19 queries need to be overseen and dealt with by the info hub.

Service updates

Democratic meeting cancellations

  • All Area Board meetings taking place over the next 3 weeks have been cancelled, other meetings are currently being reviewed and only essential decision-making meetings will take place, residents are encouraged to regularly check the council’s calendar here for updates as the situation is changing day by day.  Those wishing to attend meetings that are going ahead are asked to inform Democratic Services via, although residents are encouraged to submit representations in writing to via this email address in advance of the meetings if they do not wish to attend in person due to coronavirus precautions. Residents can access meetings that are streamed online (such as Cabinet) here.

  • All JNSA meetings have been cancelled until further notice

  • Our upcoming Our Community Matters events are supported by the Public Health team, and their involvement and input is integral to their preparation and delivery. Due to the quickly-developing COVID-19 situation we feel holding the meetings at this time would not be the best use of their resources, time and focus and, therefore with regret, we have postponed all of the events. Regardless of this, we will work hard to ensure we still get community input into setting our future priorities. There’s lots that can be done with social media and online resources and we are exploring all the options available to us.

Waste and recycling collections

All services are running. However, we are aware of some delays to mixed dry recycling collections, following the introduction of new services. If your blue-lidded bin or black box has not been emptied on your new scheduled collection day, please leave your containers out and our contractors will visit as soon as they can.

Waste tissues produced by someone who has or suspects they have COVID-19 should be placed in a plastic bag which should be tied when full. Disposable cloths or wipes used to clean hard surfaces such as kitchen worktops and bathrooms should also be placed in the same bag. This plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag, which should also be tied when full. The bags should be kept in a secure place until the individual’s test results are known. The bags should not be put out for collection or placed in communal waste areas until negative test results are known or the waste has been stored for at least 72 hours (three days). After being stored for at least 72 hours (three days), please place these in your normal wheeled bin. If you don’t receive a wheeled bin collection, please make sure a council-issued bag label is placed on the outside of the double-bagged waste.

Council tenants – resident engagement events and trips

All planned events and trips are postponed until further notice.

Housing options service

As a precaution, our drop in service has been temporarily suspended until further notice.

We have taken this decision to minimise the risk to clients, staff and visitors, particularly those with pre-existing health conditions and those aged over 70.

For the time being, we will be operating a telephone and email service to respond to advice enquiries. Extra advisers are being deployed to operate the telephone helpline during this time. Contact details for the temporary service are as follows:

  • WEST
    01225 718005, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

    01249 706666, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

    01722 434233, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm

You can also contact the service on

Leisure Centres

At the instruction of TidNBul Garrison, Aspire Defence Services Limited have closed the leisure facilities at Tidworth Leisure Centre until further notice. All Wiltshire Council-owned leisure centres remain open at this time but this is under regular review. Other on-site facilities are currently unaffected: the library, Caterpilla’s Under 5s pre-school and all on-site businesses remain open.

City Hall

Following the latest government advice on COVID-19, the promoters of a number of events scheduled to take place at City Hall unfortunately had to cancel the bookings. Therefore, there are currently no events scheduled to take place at the venue until 6 May at the earliest. We are working with the promoters to reschedule the events where possible.


Our libraries remain open at this time, but due to the ongoing coronavirus situation all scheduled events and activities taking place at them will be cancelled until the end of April at the earliest. We will keep this decision under review. We are working to deliver online/virtual alternatives and will provide further details as soon as we are able to.

The Communities team are busy scoping what support local communities are offering their fellow residents who may be self-isolating to see what extra support the council can provide

School Update

We are working closely with schools to ensure they are supported as they share latest government advice with their staff and pupils. As schools have had to partially close or close completely over the last few days we have been providing advice and support.

The Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson has announced that all schools will close to the majority of pupils by close of play on Friday 20 March however they will remain open for key workers and most vulnerable children.  It was also announced exams would not be taking place this year. We will continue to support the schools as they assess the news and work out how to plan going forward.

We will continue to provide regular updates around the ongoing situation


Cllr Philip Whitehead

Wiltshire Council Statement

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Dear all

Sadly we can confirm a man who had been cared for at Salisbury Hospital and passed away on 11 March 2020 has been confirmed as the first person to pass away due to COVID-19 in Wiltshire. The patient in his 50s had underlying health conditions.

Please find attached a copy of the statement issue to the press and posted to the Wiltshire Council website this afternoon.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.

Tracy Daszkiewicz

Director of Public Health

Wiltshire Council


Message from Tilshead Parish Council regarding Novel Coronavirus

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Wiltshire Council Coronavirus Update

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