COVID-19 updates to health and wellbeing services
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak some of our local services have changed the way they are delivered and accessed, to prioritise the safety of staff and members of the public. Find out more by reading on.
Please note that this information is being kept under continuous review and is updated often.
The NHS is asking you to help it to help you – if you need them, GP surgeries and A&E departments are still open and should be accessed.
In the event of an emergency, call 999.
When your child is ill or injured, it can be difficult to decide what help they need. Barts Health NHS Trust and East London Health and Care Partnership have put together a helpful guide to help you decide which NHS service to use.
Every year, flu (influenza) hospitalises and kills thousands of people. As we all know, this is anything but an average year.
Having the flu vaccine won’t stop you getting COVID-19, but it will protect you against the flu and take pressure off the NHS, so it’s a good idea to book one in if you haven’t already.
Flu can cause severe complications, particularly for people in high-risk groups, including:
- pregnant women
- children aged two to 11 years old
- individuals who have been “shielding” and members of their household
- people aged 65 years old and above
- frontline health and social care workers
- people with long-term health condition(s), such as a heart problem, chest complaint, kidney disease, diabetes, lowered immunity, a learning disability, seriously overweight (BMI of 40+), a neurological condition, liver disease, etc.
Individuals who fall into any of the above categories qualify for a free flu vaccination on the NHS and should speak to their GP or pharmacist about arranging a flu vaccination as soon as possible.
If you, or someone you care for, is eligible for an NHS flu vaccination, but feels they may struggle to access a GP surgery or pharmacy because of their medical condition, please do mention this when speaking with your GP or pharmacy, as alternative arrangements may be available.
Keep up your guard against flu this winter and don’t delay in booking an appointment. Visit NHS Flu for more information.
The helpline is operating as usual and is open to all City of London Corporation residents who are in a mental health crisis. It can also be used to refer or self-refer anyone who needs urgent mental health support – call 0800 073 0006.
The team is still offering urgent/ emergency visits via the line. To find out more, visit the East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT).
Offers virtual counselling and psychotherapy sessions to residents and workers in and around the Square Mile, whatever their financial circumstances, improving access to treatments that are not available through the NHS.
Counselling and psychotherapy is available to individuals, couples and groups who are experiencing any range of emotional or psychological difficulties. The fee is based on individuals' income and particular financial circumstances.
The online services are available to workers with usual workplaces located in the postcodes EC1-EC5.
Find out more and book an online appointment by visiting the City Wellbeing Centre website.
City Advice is a free, impartial and confidential service available to anyone who lives, works or studies in the City of London, or who lives on a City of London Corporation Estate.
Its expert advisors can be contacted about a wide range of topics, such as housing, family, employment, debt, or any other concerns at all. This may also include assistance on how to apply for Government benefits to help with rent, council tax and other costs.
They can also see if you can get extra help from the City Corporation’s Emergency Support Scheme or access to other support.
If you or someone you know is having money worries, if you are struggling to buy essentials, like food, contact City Advice.
You can call City Advice Monday to Friday, 10am-5pm on 020 7392 2919 or you can email City Advice.
Speak with an advisor today to find out what help and support is available for you.
Adult residents of the City of London and Hackney who are struggling with addiction, and carers who are affected by substance misuse, can access non-judgemental and integrated support through the City and Hackney Recovery Service, provided by Turning Point.
The delivery of services is being adapted to COVID-19 alert levels and delivered via telephone and online interventions. Referrals can be made using the following pathways:
- Online referral form or through the Turning Point website
- Emailing Turning Point
- Self-referral, by visiting the main Hub at 102-110 Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 3SG
- Calling 0345 144 0050
Once a referral is made, an initial consultation where a brief assessment and ascertainment of treatment goals will take place. The individual referred will then be allocated a Recovery worker who will provide support throughout treatment.
City Corporation residents and City workers who want to kick the habit can access support through Boots:
- A free online consultation through Boots online clinics. If the treatment is deemed suitable for you, you’ll get access to a starter pack, including Champix
- Direction to NHS resources
- NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy)
If you usually pay for your prescriptions some of these services will come at a cost. You will be eligible for a free treatment plan/ starter pack if you don’t usually pay for your prescriptions.
Classes have been postponed for the time being. Updated information will be made available on this page.
Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest continues to provide a range of services to adult residents (aged 18+) of these three areas, who experience difficulties with their mental health. More information on each can be found on the services page of the MIND website. Referrals can also be made via the Mind website.
Currently the following services are open to new referrals:
- Digital Wellbeing Support Network
- Wellbeing Network (waiting list for face-to-face appointments)
- Universal Credit Advice Service (waiting list)
- IAPT therapy service (waiting list)
- IRIE Mind (for people of African or Caribbean heritage)
- Rainbow Mind (for LGBTQ+ people)
Referrals can be made by individuals themselves or on their behalf by either a professional or family member or friend. The best way to make a referral is to use the online form. If you don't have access to the internet, please call 0208 985 4239
Due to high demand, CELBS is not currently accepting new referrals.
The City and Hackney Bereavement Service remains fully operational.
St Joseph’s Hospice provides bereavement support and counselling for:
- bereaved family and friends, including children, of people who have been cared for by St Joseph’s, whether in the hospice, at home, or by other hospices.
- adults (18+) who live in City and Hackney or are registered with a City and Hackney GP, who have experienced a bereavement that was not connected to St Joseph’s or who are anticipating the death of a close friend or relative from an advanced, terminal illness.
St Joseph's Hospice is also offering support to children, young people and families who have lost a family member, care giver or other significant person due to COVID-19. This support is free and available to children and young people up to the age of 18 who either live in the City, or who are registered with a City of London or Hackney GP.
If you, or a child or young person you are aware of, could benefit from a chance to talk to someone about a death due to COVID-19, please contact the First Contact Team, who will take some initial information about who is being referred and the death that has occurred.
Face-to-face assessment and counselling can be offered in person and on-site in line with national exemptions for bereavement services but telephone and video contact is also available. Access to interpreters is available, if needed.
To self-refer or to find out more, contact the service via telephone: 0300 303 0400 or by emailing the City and Hackney Bereavement Service. Visit the City and Hackney Bereavement Service websitefor further information about the service.
Professionals are able to refer to all three elements of CAMHS on behalf of young people, parents and families, during working hours (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) and using a referral form. Self-referrals from young people and families are being accepted into First Steps Community CAMHS service.
Consultations are being offered virtually, as face-to-face work has had to be stopped in the lockdown period.
There is also a free phone crisis line open 24/7 for young people, families and professionals, where a mental health professional will be available to speak about your concerns. Call 0800 073 0006.
- First Steps Community CAMHS: 0207 014 7135
- CAMHS Disability: 0207 014 7071
- Specialist CAMHS: 0203 222 5600
- Off Centre (16-25): 020 8986 4016
- Children & Family Services Clinical Service: 0208 356 5000 (Out-of-hours: 0208 356 5000)
The City Connections Service continues to provide community support assessments for residents aged 18+ and young carers. Through these it aims to understand the client needs and to link them to the appropriate services.
The City Connections Carers' Service continues via a combination of focused one-to-one support and online group activities.
Free Healthy Start Vitamins are available for pregnant women, new mothers up to their child’s first birthday and children aged under four years old, living or registered with a GP in City/Hackney at the following City location:
- Chauhan S Chemist on 36 Goswell Road (Golden Lane Estate, EC1M 7AA) - 020 7253 9691
Updates due to COVID-19: Vitamins are in stock and can be collected during regular pharmacy hours.
- The City of London Child and Family Centre (St James Passage, Dukes Place, EC3A 5DE)
For those that qualify, Healthy Start also offers Healthy Start vouchers to spend on milk, fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables, and infant formula milk. For more information, call the Healthy Start helpline: 0345 607 6823.
Health Exercise and Nutrition for the Really Young (HENRY) provides a range of Family Support Services. Families who have not previously accessed the service are welcome, too.
If you are aged 24 or under, you can access free condoms through the confidential Come Correct service. While many of the pick-up points are currently closed, visit the Come Correct website to find out which locations are still open and operating.
The Free Condom Project
If you are aged 25 or over and live in the City, you can access free condoms from a range of locations across the City and Hackney. Visit the The Free Condom Project website to find out more, and to find your nearest outlet.
Due to COVID-19 safety measures, you must complete a telephone consultation first, before attending the clinic. Please call 020 7683 4103. Phone lines are open between 9.00am and 4.00pm. Visit the Homerton Sexual Health website for more information.
Please note that the sexual health clinic at 80 Leadenhall is temporarily closed. For more details on accessing local sexual and reproductive health services, please visit the Sexual Health page.
There is no referral process – the service is accessed via SHL’s website.
The online triage service is now also open to those experiencing mild symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection, as well as those who do not have any symptoms.
The service tests for STIs as an alternative to attending a clinic and can also provide some treatment remotely. City residents must be aged over 16 to access the service.
If, after registering, you need to speak so someone, the information on how to do that is provided within the Sexual Health London website.
Body & Soul
Body & Soul supports children, teenagers and families living with, or closely affected by, HIV, who live in the City of London.
It provides an array of support, including: peer support groups and information workshops for children, teenagers and adults; one-to-one counselling with mental health professionals; information and advocacy on issues, such as health and treatment, welfare, human rights and immigration; and much more.
They are currently accepting new referrals which can be done by completing their online referral form. Once complete, a member of staff will get in touch to arrange a time to register the person either being referred or referring themselves.
Positive East supports City residents who are living with, or who are affected by, HIV. They work to provide support and advice on HIV, as well as other areas, such as health and wellbeing, benefits advice, housing issues and more. They also offer free and confidential counselling and psychotherapy sessions.
Positive East is currently accepting new referrals. Referrals can be made through your hospital clinic or by calling 020 7791 2855. Proof of HIV status will be requested. For more information please call 020 7791 2855 or email Positive East.
Positive East provides a home-based HIV testing and sexual health screening service. To find out more information about HIV testing, visit Positive East’s website or call 020 7791 2855 (option 3).
The following process has been implemented in London to ensure patients with an urgent dental problem can access care during the pandemic period. All routine dental treatment is postponed until further notice:
If you are registered with a dentist:
- All NHS dental practices are expected to be providing urgent telephone advice and triage. Anyone with a regular dentist should, as a first step, call their practice. Do not visit the practice. Your dentist will assess your condition, give advice, and if needed, issue prescriptions for painkillers or antibiotics which can then be collected from, or delivered by a local pharmacy.
- If, following triage by your dentist, you are assessed as requiring an urgent face-to face treatment, you will be directed to ring 111 where you will be triaged by the Dental Triage service (see below).
If you are not registered with a dentist, or you cannot get in touch with your dentist:
- Call NHS 111 directly, where you will be referred to the Dental Triage Service.
- Following assessment by the Dental Triage Service, if you need an onward referral, this will be made to one of the Urgent Dental Care Hubs (UDCH)
- Following remote assessment by the UDCH, if felt clinically appropriate, you will be directed to attend for a face-to-face consultation.
Please do not visit A&E departments with dental problems.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, it’s important to inform the services of this when you speak to them.
Volunteer Centre Hackney has restarted their prescription delivery service. If you are supporting a City of London or Hackney resident who is unable to collect their prescription, and has no-one else who can do so on their behalf, please ask them to call their pharmacy in the first instance. Pharmacies are prioritising patients who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable to COVID-19, or who are self-isolating. If the pharmacy is not able to provide assistance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 073 0508 6348 (Monday-Wednesday) or 073 0508 6347 (Thursday-Friday).
Find the nearest open pharmacy to you by visiting the NHS website and searching by postcode.
COVID-19 means that we should stay at home as much as possible, but it’s still easy to get NHS help using a smartphone, tablet or computer.
If you need an NHS service, try to do it online first. This helps everyone to follow social distancing.
There is help available for you to:
- Order repeat prescriptions
- Contact your GP, access GP online services, or arrange a GP or hospital appointment from home
- Find out about urgent dental treatment
- Manage long-term physical or mental health conditions
- Manage your mental and physical wellbeing and take control of your health from home
Find out more by visiting the NHS Health at Home website. Unless you have been asked not to, you should continue to attend in-person appointments for ongoing treatment.
For urgent medical advice, the NHS 111 website will tell you when and where to get help, and can arrange for you to be contacted by a nurse if needed. Only call 111 if you are unable to get help online. In an emergency, call 999.
If you have a serious or life-threatening emergency or you feel very unwell, you should still go to hospital.