Lowering of NHS COVID-19 incident level and transition to Stage III of response

Lowering of NHS COVID-19 incident level and transition to Stage III of response

Following the reduction in the national COVID-19 alert to Level 3 in June, the NHS has now reduced its own response from a Level 4 Incident, which was declared on 30 January 2020, to a Level 3 Incident, with a corresponding change in the way the NHS responds to the pandemic.

This shift to Phase III of our actions is outlined in a letter sent to CCGs on 31 July 2020 from NHS Chief Executive in England Sir Simon Stevens and Amanda Pritchard, Chief Operating Officer for NHS England and NHS Improvement. The focus for the NHS from this month will be accelerating the return to near-normal levels of health services and preparing for winter demand, doing both in a way that takes account of lessons learned during the first COVID-19 peak.

The Mid and South Essex CCGs explained how we have responded so far to the COVID-19 pandemic in our virtual Board meetings held in public via Microsoft Teams last week (see below for more details). We are updating our Primary Care Networks’ Clinical Directors and other system partners on actions as well.


Update about people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19


The Government is advising that people in England who have been taking extra precautions (“shielding”) to address their extreme vulnerability to COVID-19 do not need to do so at present.

Rates of COVID-19 transmission in the community have fallen to a point the Government has advised that people who have been shielding:

  • do not need to follow previous shielding advice
  • can go to work as long as the workplace is COVID-secure
  • can go outside but should still try to keep overall social interactions low
  • can visit businesses such as supermarkets, pubs and shops while keeping “one metre plus” social distancing
  • should continue to wash hands carefully and more frequently than usual
  • maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace
  • will no longer receive food parcels, medicine deliveries and care from the National Shielding Service

This guidance is not mandatory and it is a personal choice whether to follow it.

Support for people who wish to continue shielding remains available for people living in Essex through the new Essex Wellbeing Service. People can request help for themselves, refer someone else or volunteer to help through the website or by calling 0300 303 9988. Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Thurrock Council list services available to their residents on their websites. (The Better Care Together Thurrock offer has also been shortlisted for “System or Commissioner Led Service Redesign Initiative” at the HSJ Value Awards 2020.)

Clinically extremely vulnerable children can go to school in line with the wider guidance on reopening of mainstream and special schools and other specialist settings.