Health services are open over Easter

The NHS is reminding people that healthcare services, including GP practices, minor injuries units and walk-in centres, will continue to support patients who are NOT showing symptoms of coronavirus this Easter.

Patients who want advice from their GP or an appointment this Good Friday or Bank Holiday Monday are asked to inquire online or to call first. Do not attend your GP practice without checking. Some surgeries are working together and subsequently if asked to attend a surgery it may not be at your usual location. Please contact your registered practice who will advise the best consultation process. For non-urgent queries please access first.

For minor injuries and illnesses, people are being advised to treat themselves at home using a well-stocked first aid kit containing antiseptic cream, plasters and painkillers.

A wide range of healthcare advice on minor illnesses, infections, headaches, emergency contraception and coughs and colds, is also available from pharmacies, many of which are open over the weekend. A full list of pharmacies open can be found on the CCG website.

If it is urgent but not an emergency, you can access NHS 111 online. Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the freephone number is manned by trained advisors who can offer advice or arrange for you to see a doctor or nurse if appropriate.

The NHS Walk-In Centre at Rouen House on Rouen Road, Norwich, is open between 7am and 9pm every day. The Nurse-led centre can help with a range of minor illness and injuries, including minor cuts and wounds, strains and sprains, skin complaints etc. You will be triaged at the front door and signposted elsewhere or treated accordingly.

The Minor Injuries Unit based at Mill Road in Cromer is also open seven days a week, from 8am to 7.45pm. Patients can receive treatment for minor injuries such as minor wounds, burns or simple fractures. The unit are able to advise over the phone if your injury is suitable for the MIU, please can 01603 646230.

Dr Anoop Dhesi, chairman of NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG said: “The coronavirus is presenting an unprecedented challenge to the health service, but local NHS services will remain available if you need them over the Easter weekend.  We do, however, urge people to use their common sense at this time, particularly if they or a member of their household has experienced coronavirus symptoms recently. Most GP practices currently require you contact them by telephone or online initially, and they need to limit face to face contact to those patients for whom it is absolutely essential. We must not forget about regular medication too and ask that you request and collect any repeat prescriptions ahead of the weekend.”

For a list of pharmacies in Norfolk and Waveney which will be open over the Easter weekend please visit .

The NHS says it is important to stress that if you, or any member of your household displays any coronavirus symptoms please do not visit any of the above facilities.

Most people with coronavirus do not need to see a doctor. They should follow NHS advice to self-isolate and treat symptoms with rest and sleep, drinking plenty of water and taking paracetamol to lower your temperature.

Do not leave your home if you have a high temperature or a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours – and use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do or if symptoms worsen.

Hospital opens second emergency department

A second Emergency Department has opened at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

As a result of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the Arthur South Day Procedure Unit has been turned into an extra ED to treat patients with confirmed or suspected covid-19.

This has resulted in some changes to the out-patients side of the hospital with the rerouting of buses and access to public vehicles will be restricted to allow emergency ambulances to park outside and to bring patients through the DPU entrance.

The existing Emergency Department area will be for non-covid-19 related illnesses and injuries and patients will be directed to the appropriate area for their condition at the DPU entrance.

The hospital is being split into yellow zoned areas for patients with positive and suspected covis-19 symptoms and green zoned areas are parts of the hospital are treating patients without the virus.

Chris Cobb, NNUH chief operating officer, said: “As we move towards the peak of this outbreak, we have created yellow and green zoned Emergency Departments to establish clear and separate areas of the hospital for patients who potentially need hospital admission for coronavirus symptoms. Thanks to the hard work of the ED and surgical division teams this expansion of our emergency care capacity will be in place prior to the peak of the infection.”

Further changes to the hospital site have begun with the start of work on a 10-bed isolation unit. It is anticipated that the new construction will open to its first patients this summer, which will be located where the Level 1 East Atrium drop-off area is.

Therefore, the drop-off area outside of the East Atrium, Level 1 (Car Park L) will be permanently closed to all vehicular access, although a pedestrian entrance will be maintained.

Praise for our special constables

Norfolk’s special constables have been praised for the work they have been doing recently, giving more than 1000 hours of their time over the past week to provide vital support to communities.

A total of 65 special constables contributed 134 shifts and 1005 hours of deployment between Sunday, March 29, and Sunday, April 5, as part of Norfolk police’s effort to protect communities and manage the demands of covid-19. Additional specials also volunteered their time carrying out essential roles from police stations across Norfolk, including supporting vulnerable people.

Over the past week, they have been working alongside their regular police colleagues responding to ongoing incidents, as well as engaging, explaining, encouraging and, if necessary, enforcing the government’s measures restricting people’s movements.

Special Chief Officer Darren Taylor said: “Our officers are well trained, developed and supported as an integral element of the Norfolk police family. They are unpaid volunteers who are passionate about serving their communities, and I’ve been humbled by their response to the current situation. I’d like to extend my personal gratitude to each and every one of my team who has stepped forward to support and protect the NHS and save lives.

“Volunteering in any capacity requires a balance of family and work life, and none more so than now. Many of our special constables are in fulltime employment and like many other people are affected by furlough or reduced hours. It’s testament to their commitment that they are using this additional time for the benefit of others.

“I am also extremely grateful to a number of local employers who have allowed our officers flexibility, and in some cases paid leave, to enable them to provide a frontline role in policing. It will take a combined effort of all of us across the community, helping neighbours, caring for the vulnerable in any capacity to allow the key workers to focus on the priorities over the coming period.”

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Julie Wvendth, who is leading Norfolk Constabulary’s response to covid-19, said: “We’re very fortunate in Norfolk that so many talented and dedicated people who, without hesitation, have put themselves forward to help and support their communities and the county.  Special constables are valued members of our constabulary and are performing a crucial role in frontline policing, protecting the most vulnerable and managing the unprecedented demands of Covid-19. I thank them and their employers for their continued commitment and support, and I’m so grateful that we can count on them in these challenging times.”

Norfolk has a team of 200 special constables working different shift patterns in a phased approach to supporting frontline policing and the constabulary’s response to covid-19. They provide a range of skills, including supporting vulnerable people, logistics and planning, as well as working as operational officers deployed around the county. Special constables have the same powers as regular police officers but serve as volunteers.

For more information on the role of special constables, visit You can also follow them on Twitter @CODarrenTaylor @NorfolkSpecials

Log on and sing up…

Just because you can’t go out, it doesn’t mean you can’t try new things or join together with others – and an Online People’s Choir has launched to keep people singing in these troubled times.

The online sessions originally began for current members of North Walsham People’s Choir to fill the gap before normal sessions started up again and they are now available for anyone to take part.

Lyrics and helpful notes can be downloaded in advance of the sessions, which can be watched live at 7pm every Tuesday and they will stay online so they can be viewed at other too.

Sessions are relaxed and taught by ear so no experience is necessary and you don’t need to be able to read music. Songs choices range from pop, to rock and musicals and song suggestions are always welcome.

The 30 minute sessions are led by Joseph Ballard, director of New Stages who also runs North Walsham People’s Choir.

Joseph Ballard will be leading the sessions.

He said: “At times like this, it’s good to still feel, and be, connected with one another. Personally, I find singing is a release. It’s a joyful experience where I’m in tune with my mind, body and soul – and hopefully with the music! I hope people will join in to come together to sing and be part of something which is so meaningful. Here’s to singing and here’s to creativity and our wellbeing.”

To take part, go to: The sessions can also be viewed from the New Stages website or the New Stages Facebook page.

Please help new team to protect frontline workers

When one Aylsham company heard a plea for help keeping frontline staff supplied with personal protective equipment, they knew they could play their part. And now they hope the community can rally round and help them in their efforts.

Well used to dealing with car upholstery, Moore’s Classic Car Interiors immediately realised their skills could easily be transferred to sewing scrubs and washable masks. And within a day of starting the operation, they have had orders for more than 200 masks, 100 scrubs and face shields.

“We were watching the news and I said to Paul, ‘we could do that’,” said Katherine Moore, who immediately swung into action, getting hold of patterns and setting up the Aylsham PPE Response Team. The team will be the local hub for Norfolk Scrubs – a network of businesses and volunteers who are turning their hand to PPE production.

A quick ring around local community organisations revealed a major need in the area, and to make sure that the production line can keep on meeting the demands from care homes, delivery companies, service providers, charities and the many other organisations asking for protection, a funding campaign has been launched.

“It’s just to cover the costs of production and delivery,” said Katherine. “We will be gifting the masks and scrubs so that people who are working on the frontline, risking their lives, can have the protection they need and not have to pay for it.”

She said they had plenty of the material and parts needed for the masks and scrubs, but they would be interested to hear from anyone with acetate plates for the face shields and plain pillowcases and duvets. These will be used to make washing bags for used scrubs and masks so they can be taken off and kept separate before going in the washing machine at 60C.

A prototype of the facemasks and a washing bag which are already being used by Aylsham Town Council staff.

“It’s taken off already and it’s only been going since this morning,” said Katherine. “There are lots of people out there working without the protection they need. If everyone could just give a little bit… we’re just asking people to put their hands in their pockets. The more we get, the more we can make.”

Email  if you can help and click here for the Just Giving link to find out how you can donate.

Firefighters join paramedics

Starting today, Norfolk firefighters will be working on the frontline alongside East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) paramedics.

All of the 62 staff involved are employed as on-call firefighters across the county, and they responded to a plea by Chief Fire Officer Stuart Ruff to support the NHS during the current covid-19 pandemic.

The firefighters are already blue-light trained emergency fire appliance drivers (EFAD) with C1 category licences and will drive frontline emergency NHS ambulances alongside EEAST paramedics.

Two of Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service’s driving instructors are already using one of the service’s non-operational lorries to move NHS supplies around the county to ensure PPE equipment and ventilators are in the right places to support NHS colleagues in their duties.

The move to the frontline work follows a national agreement to use firefighters across the country to support the work of the NHS.

CFO Ruff said: “We were asked to support EEAST and have been in discussions to find out what their needs are and how we can support them, without compromising our own emergency response on the frontline. I was pleased to see so many of our staff volunteer their services to our blue light colleagues. We have considered all the offers and at this stage we are able to release 62 of our on-call staff.

“Whilst all of this activity is occurring, we also continue to maintain our core functionality for firefighting and rescue to the public and this will not be compromised. 

Marcus Bailey, Chief Operating Officer with EEAST, said: “We are very grateful to our blue-light colleagues in the Fire and Rescue Service for their kind offer and look forward to working closely with them to keep our patients, staff, volunteers and the wider public safe during this pandemic.

“Covid 19 represents an unprecedented challenge for all of us and we truly appreciate the fantastic support we have received from the fire service, the public, businesses, and our other partners.

“We would urge people to continue to play their part in helping the NHS by taking extra care of themselves, only going out for essential items, observing advice about hand-washing and maintaining social distancing.”

Norfolk firefighters are adding their help to the paramedics and ambulance service.

Enjoy this Easter parade

The children from John of Gaunt Infant school and John Bear’s Nursery, in Aylsham, love their Easter bonnet parade. But with no school, and no big events this Easter, they had to improvise – taking the parade online.

Nursery teacher Sue Atthill said the youngsters, aged between three and seven, were challenged to make an Easter bonnet with whatever they had at home “which has obviously been more of a challenge this year under lockdown conditions! We normally then parade them at school on the least day of term but this year they are in our ‘virtual parade’ on our Facebook pages.”

And you can also have a sneak peek of some of them here – we think they really brighten things up!

Hero’s welcome humbles paramedic

An act of kindness in a Cromer supermarket has left a paramedic “humbled and emotional” as thousands of people have shared his story online.

David Tillyer, who lives in Aylsham, but works in Cromer, was queueing to do some shopping at Lidl at the end of a 12-hour night shift.

Fellow-shoppers ushered him to the front of the queue “with applause and thank-yous” – and then a stranger paid for his shopping, brushing away any protestations.

David Tillyer was humbled by the acts of kindness by shoppers in Lidl, Cromer.

In a post on Facebook, David said: “I finished my night shift this morning and joined the line of shoppers waiting to enter Lidl in Cromer. One by one they all let me ahead of them followed by a round of applause and thank-yous.

“Once I’d done my round of shopping inside, a lady I’d been chatting to in the queue ran up and swiped her card on the reader to pay for my shopping. I tried to say: ‘that’s kind, but you musn’t’ but she said with a smile: ‘not much you can do to stop me now’.

“Thank you to the lady that did that and thank you to all the shoppers that made me feel special after a tough run of shifts.”

This post has been shared 87,000 times with 124,000 Likes.

David told told Just Regional: “This is a wonderful thing, and so many of my colleagues are touched by the kindness.”

And he has asked anyone who wants to support frontline staff to donate to NARS (the Norfolk Accident Rescue Service) on

“Without your help they simply can’t keep doing what they do,” he said.