Covid-19 in Liverpool – Some very reassuring answers to our questions

I’ve had some great answers to questions that the Lib Dem Councillors in the City have been asked

A few days ago, I asked the Council and NHS for the answers to some frequently asked questions that we have received from members of the public in Liverpool. I asked the questions on behalf of the Lib Dem Group not because I expected a poor response but we believe that getting the right information out to people is a vital part of keeping people safe. People are rightly concerned about themselves, their families and neighbours and we think that these responses to our questions will provide vital reassurance.

They give clear information on how the volunteer schemes are going; PPE advice; Reporting of deaths; Do not resuscitate advice;   GP care and activities; hospital capacity; the use of the Manchester Nightingale Hospital                                 

Thanks Dr Fiona Lemmens at the CCG and Martin Farran the Council’s Director of Adult Services and Health for getting these clear and concise answers to us:

Volunteer programme/community support:
The city council is delighted to have a 1,300-strong database of volunteers, with the council’s main role being to work with LCVS and match those volunteers to residents in the city who need help.

The food hub continues its successful operation, with a 60 strong team of redeployed staff, as well as 20 newly trained delivery drivers from the volunteer pool, who will be delivering goods to those most in need in Liverpool – as of 5pm yesterday (15 April) 2,034 food parcels have been delivered. We expect demand on this service to increase and will be calling on the database of volunteers to support with essential services.

Around 900 volunteers have put themselves forward to work in the Respite Hub which will care for patients from across Merseyside who have low-level needs and are ready for discharge from hospital, but can’t yet return home, including those without Covid-19. This is an evolving issue and although the city council is playing a vital role, LCVS and other voluntary organisations across the city are at the heart of the response.  

A prescription collection support service has also been successfully established within the last two weeks. Thanks to a partnership with Mersey Fire and Rescue, as of close of play yesterday (15 April) 246 prescriptions have been delivered to people across the region who desperately need medication but had no way of accessing it. Again, we expect demand to rise for this service as time goes on.

PPE advice:
PPE advice and support has been provided to the whole sector, but in particular residential homes and Domiciliary Care. We have supported providers to access PPE when requested and on occasions provided it directly. As you will have seen in today’s media, the Merseyside Resilience Forum is to procure a considerable volume of PPE kit, which we expect to be distributed across the region from next week.

Reporting of deaths:

The city has a central record of deaths and numbers of residents and staff with Covid-19 symptoms. However, there has been no testing in the community to date, therefore it is unlikely that death will have been recorded as directly due to Covid-19.

Do not resuscitate advice:
The fact that a patient has a long-term condition that is mild or well controlled definitely would not mean that they would automatically not be supported if they contracted Covid-19. GPs make all decisions regarding resuscitation status on a case by case basis and always with the patient, taking into account their wishes.

How are GPs dealing with people with low-level problems – and what advice can we get out to such people?

GP services remain open to deal with Covid-19 and other medical needs. The majority of consultations are currently being conducted virtually. Where people need a face-to-face consultation, this is still taking place. GPs continue to proactively manage care for people with long-term conditions.

In addition to the 11,000 people identified as being extremely at risk and asked to shield for 12 weeks, the CCG identified a further 36,000 people also at risk. The first cohort are already receiving support and data relating to the larger cohort is currently being uploaded nationally, enabling those people to register for support. In the meantime, if they have an urgent non-medical need now and relatives/friends can’t help, they have been advised to contact the council on 0151 233 3066.

How close are our hospitals to capacity?

Hospital capacity for Covid-19 and all other care is updated daily. The city’s hospitals have prepared for the anticipated surge in Covid-19 cases. Critical care capacity has been expanded to release over one thousand acute beds to treat Covid-19 patients. All our local hospitals are collaborating and flexing capacity to meet the needs of our population.

Liverpool University Hospitals (Aintree and Royal sites) is the main receiver of COVID-19 patients in need of hospital care. As of 15th April there were 369 Covid-19 positive patients being cared for by the Trust across the two sites. Bed occupancy across the trust was at 55%, with critical care at 67%.

The Walton Centre is also treating Covid-19 patients. Alder Hey Hospital is treating children and young adults up to the age of 25 with Covid-19. Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital has been designated as a regional centre, providing cardiac and Covid-19 care to patients from Liverpool as well as other parts of Merseyside and Cheshire.

Liverpool has not got a Nightingale Hospital so what will happen here if capacity is breeched?

The Nightingale Hospital in Manchester will provide care for patients with Covid-19 from Cheshire and Merseyside, Greater Manchester, and Lancashire and South Cumbria. The North West is judged to have enough of the highest-level critical care beds within the hospital system, so the Nightingale hospital will provide additional capacity for lower-level care, so if needed, acute trusts throughout the region can discharge patients from their critical care units swiftly and safely, if needed.

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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