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Open letter to everyone in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire

We want to share a big thank you for continuing to do everything you can to protect yourselves and your loved ones from Covid-19. This is even more important as we respond to the new threat of the Omicron variant. We know it’s an unsettling time, but please be assured there is much we can do as a community to stay safe and well. Vaccines remain our first and best line of defence. We are urging you to:

  • Get boosted now. The booster is shown to offer excellent protection against Omicron. We are extending opening hours at our sites and adding new booster appointments every day. Go to to book. You can also find out more about vaccine volunteering opportunities.
  • Take up your first vaccination if you haven’t yet. It’s never too late to take up your vaccination, which significantly reduces the likelihood of severe illness and death from Covid-19. Find out more about safety, side effects and booking at

All our services are incredibly busy right now, and rising rates of Omicron will add further strain in the coming weeks. In response to these extraordinary times, we are taking a number of steps to reduce the pressure and ensure safe and effective care for everyone:

  • Bolstering the local NHS 111 service to offer more clinical assessment over the phone and online – helping you get to the right care first time.
  • Opening a temporary care facility at a Bristol hotel for people who are medically well enough to leave hospital. 24/7 support and a welcoming atmosphere will be provided for those who need further care before they return home. This will ensure our hospital beds are available for those who really need them and help to improve ambulance response times.
  • Expanding the Covid-19 booster programme with 170,000 vaccination appointments taking place in GP practices alone. Practice teams will still be there for urgent needs, including symptoms of cancer, but you may need to wait until the New Year for routine appointments.

We are asking for your help this festive season, as our dedicated staff continue to provide round-the-clock care for everyone who needs it, and with Omicron rates rising:

  • Only call 999 in the event of a serious or life-threatening emergency.
  • Think 111 if you need urgent medical help, rather than travelling to busy hospitals and minor injuries units. Our expanded 111 team will get you to the most appropriate place.

Thank you for continuing to help us help you. We wish you all a healthy and happy festive break. You can find details of the health and wellbeing resources available to you over the page.  

Yours sincerely,

Healthier Together Chief Executive Officers


Thank you for all you’ve done so far. Here’s how to continue helping us, to help you:

  • Get boosted now. Go to to book your vaccination appointment.
  • Take up your first vaccination if you haven’t yet. It’s never too late to take up your vaccination. Find out more about benefits, safety, side-effects and booking at
  • Only dial 999 or visit A&E if it's a genuine, life-threatening emergency.
  • Do not attend A&E with minor injuries – visit a local Minor Injury Unit or call NHS 111.
  • Help get your loved ones home for Christmas by being ready to support hospital discharges when we call. A few hours can make all the difference.
  • Utilise your local community pharmacist who can help with a range of minor health issues including colds and earaches
  • Order your repeat prescriptions ahead of Christmas bank holidays.
  • Download the NHS app for routine health issues, such as repeat prescriptions. You can order repeat prescriptions on here without the need to call your GP.
  • Look after yourselves and your family. Make sure you have a well-stocked medicine cupboard at home; take physical, outside activity; sleep well; and wear masks in busy, indoor areas and public transport. Remember to keep washing your hands to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.
  • Be patient and kind to health and care staff. If you are treated by health and care staff, please do not be abusive or be aggressive. Everyone is working extremely hard in very difficult circumstances. We have a zero-tolerance approach to staff abuse of any kind across all health and social care.

Your mental health and wellbeing is important, and there is support available for you locally:

  • The VITA 24/7 helpline can help you with emotional support. The line connects you with a mental health counsellor and relevant groups in your local area. Call 0800 012 6549 (textphone users should dial 18001 followed by 0800 0126549). Translators are available.
  • The AWP Mental Health 24/7 response line is there for adults under the care of AWP who are worried about their own or someone else’s mental health: 0800 9531919
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services emergency helpline provides help and support for health and care professionals, young people, families and carers 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. Highly trained clinicians provide urgent advice and guidance to support young people in crisis, who may need to attend hospital. The emergency helpline is contactable on 0800 9539599. Non-urgent calls will be redirected to the CAMHS Getting Advice Team, who are available Monday to Friday 9am-4.30pm at
  • Off the Record provides free, confidential and self-referral support for young people. Access is free and available through self-referral on the website for Bristol and South Gloucestershire and North Somerset Off The Record will be closed from the evening of Wednesday 22 December and will re-open on Tuesday 4 January 2022.
  • Kooth is an online mental wellbeing community which provides access to real-time, online support for young people aged 11-18, allowing you to talk to a trained counsellor via webchat. Access to Kooth is free and is available through self-referral on the website
  • The Sanctuary, based at Southmead Hospital, is a non-clinical service that offers face-to-face and virtual support for those aged 16 years and above who are in emotional distress. The service operates Thursday - Monday, 5pm - 11pm. To access a same day session at the Sanctuary, phone 07709 295 661 (phone lines open from 4pm on opening days). Please note to ensure we keep everyone as safe as possible sessions must be booked in advance.
  • Safe Haven Crisis Centre is based in the centre of Weston-Super-Mare and is a non-clinical service that offers face-to-face and virtual support for those aged 16 years and above who are in emotional distress. The centre is open seven days a week, between 6pm and midnight. To access the service please contact 01934 313480 (Please note to ensure we keep everyone as safe as possible sessions must be booked in advance).
  • Bump2baby wellbeing helps you find the right support during pregnancy, birth and beyond:  
  • SilverCloud is a free online platform offering valuable mental health and wellbeing support:

If you are caring for a loved one, and need help, advice, or are concerned about the person you are caring for, there is support available to you locally: