Phone queries

“We are aware there is an ongoing issue with the GP practice phones and that patients are having difficulty getting through to the Practice. Please only call between 08.00am and 09.00am if you have an acute medical need in order to help those patients in most need get through to us.

This issue has been escalated to the highest level with the NHS IT department and we have been notified that we will be migrated to a new phone system on the 10th June 2021. This is less than a week away and our Receptionists are working hard to answer all calls as quickly as possible that are coming through so please be patient and bear with us whilst this is resolved and for non-acute medical needs avoid calling at our peak times and please do keep trying at other times as we want to ensure we help all our patients.

Covid testing update

Rapid testing for people without symptoms

Everyone in Blackburn with Darwen without symptoms of coronavirus can access free, regular, rapid coronavirus testing.

Rapid tests using lateral flow devices are available from the borough’s three testing hubs:

  • Ewood Park (Darwen End) open: 8am-3pm (Mon-Fri)
  • King George’s Hall, Blackburn open: 7.30am-3pm (Mon-Fri)
  • Work at Over Darwen House, BB3 2RG open: 7.30am-3pm (Mon-Fri)

You do not need to book and your test results will usually be available in half an hour. You will need a mobile number or email address to register when you arrive.

Following the Government’s announcement that everyone in England will be able to access twice-weekly free, regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing from April 9, people without symptoms can also get rapid testing kits in a number of extra ways too:

Please note that lateral flow testing is not required within 90 days of a positive result. Individuals and workplaces who choose to continue lateral flow testing within 90 days of a positive test can still access support from the Council’s Public Health and Outbreak Management teams (BWDCOVID19@blackburn.gov.uk)

Further information about rapid testing.

Testing for people with symptoms

If you are worried or have any doubts about any possible covid-19 symptoms you can also attend one of the borough’s other walk-in testing facilities or the permanent testing site outside the Royal Blackburn Hospital. Appointments for the site outside the hospital are available via the national system. You can register and book online or by calling 119. The registration process takes approximately 5 minutes to complete. This provides you with an appointment.

We also have two walk-in sites at the locations below. Please note that these sites do not offer SMART tests and therefore your results will taken longer to arrive. You can book an appointment on-line, or just attend the site.

  • Blackburn college car park open 08:00-20:00
  • Railway Road car park, Darwen open 08:00-20:00

Parking is not available on site. Free parking is available on Knott Street, Atlas Road or Darwen Market Roof Top.

Please maintain social distancing and wear a face covering when you attend for a test.

A home test kit is available by calling 119 or you can request a home kit to be posted out to you online. When you have done your test at home and are ready to post your kit back, you need to use a Royal Mail priority postbox. You can find your nearest priority postbox on the Royal Mail website.

Blackburn with Darwen residents are being urged to take a Covid test following a rise in cases of Covid-19.

The rise is linked, in part, to cases of the variant first identified in India.

Following the identification of cases of this Variant of Concern, mainly in Shear Brow & Corporation Park and the surrounding areas, Blackburn with Darwen Council has been working closely with Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace to develop a programme of additional PCR testing and enhanced contact tracing for these areas.

From Tuesday, 18 May, there will be enhanced COVID-19 testing – known as surge testing – for anyone living, working or going to school in these postcode areas:

  • BB1 6**
  • BB1 7**
  • BB1 8**
  • and BB2 6**

Positive samples will then be sent for analysis at a laboratory to find out if there are any more cases of the variant in the area.

The aim of the enhanced testing programme is to understand whether the variant first identified in India has spread further in the community.

People in these areas are encouraged to take a PCR test over the next two weeks starting from Tuesday 18 May.

Anyone who has symptoms of Coronavirus should stay at home and book a free test online or by phone, so they can be tested at a testing site or have a testing kit sent to their home.

Tests can be booked on this link: www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

People who do not have symptoms can collect PCR test kits by visiting one of the following community hubs from Tuesday 18 May:

  • Revidge Fold United Reform Church, Shear Brow BB1 8DS (Mon to Fri 8am–6.30pm and Sat & Sun 10am–4pm)
  • Corporation Park main entrance, Preston New Road BB2 6AH (Mon to Fri 8am–6.30pm and Sat & Sun 10am–4pm)
  • Bangor Street Community Centre, Norwich Street BB1 6NZ (Mon to Fri 8am–6.30pm and Sat & Sun 10am–4pm)

From these locations people can collect PCR tests for themselves and their household/neighbours, take them home, carry out the tests and then return them to the same place they collected them, for sending to the lab for testing.

People will only need to take one test each, and we urge those who test positive to self-isolate with everyone in their home to stop the spread of the virus.

Support is available to people who have to self-isolate due to Covid-19, including financial support. You can find out more at www.blackburn.gov.uk/coronavirus/support-residents

Council engagement teams will also be out and about encouraging people in the areas most affected by the Indian variant to get tested, and answering any questions about surge testing.

Staff will be on hand to speak with people about how to complete their test, explaining why surge testing is important, asking people for their help and support by encouraging their wider family and friendship networks to come forward and take tests too, and offering reassurance about the new variant.

As well as getting tested it is also vital that everyone in Blackburn with Darwen continues to follow the guidelines and the ‘Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air’ rules – as this is the most effective way to control the spread of all Covid-19 variants.

A number of cases of the Covid-19 variant first identified in India have been detected across the North West – in Blackburn with Darwen, Bolton and Sefton – as well as in London. It was classified as a ‘Variant of Concern’, however there is currently no evidence that it causes more severe illness, is more deadly or makes the current vaccines any less effective. Public Health England is currently working to understand this variant better, and surge testing in Blackburn with Darwen will support this.

The advice to everyone in Blackburn with Darwen is to be cautious of this rise in cases locally, and continue to follow the government guidance, particularly after moving to Step 3 of the government’s roadmap on Monday 17 May.

Everyone living in other parts of the borough is encouraged to take up the free rapid testing offer regularly.

The message is to ‘Test and Go’ before going out to work, visit the shops, hairdressers, hospitality and other businesses and services.

Test, trace, self-isolate | Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

IT phone issues

We are aware of the difficulties that some of our patients are experiencing in getting through to the practice on the telephone.

We do apologise and we are working hard to resolve this with our IT/telephone supplier. We are aware that during peak periods, for example, Monday mornings, phone lines tend to be by far the busiest. Practices in Pennine Lancashire are working with the supplier to migrate away from what was an old system to a new one and this work will conclude in early June.
This new system has additional capacity for practices when they are experiencing a high volume of calls.

We will keep patients up to date with this and in the meantime ask patients to bear with us,
particularly during peak periods.

NHS App

From your smartphone visit: www.mygp.io/app

Shielding Advice for Blackburn with Darwen

  1. I am classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ – what clinical advice should I be following now?

The shielding guidance published on 23rd June remains in place and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable in the Blackburn with Darwen area should continue to follow it for the foreseeable future. This means:  

  • you are strongly advised to stay at home as much as possible and keep visits outside to a minimum; 
  • you are advised to continue working from home;
  • if you wish to spend time outdoors this can be with members of your own household or you may choose to spend time outdoors with one person from another household if you live alone, ideally the same person each time. You should maintain social distancing and avoiding gatherings of any size; and
  • you are advised not to be part of a support bubble.

The relaxation of some shielding measures across England on 1 August will not apply to those living in the Blackburn with Darwen area.

The shielding guidance for Blackburn with Darwen will be reviewed on a regular basis and as part of the wider measures in place in the area. 

  • I am classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ and I’m worried about the infection rate, am I at greater risk now?

The government has always been clear that it will continually monitor the transmission of the virus in our communities and if rates rise too much, our advice to those who are shielding may change.  

The latest scientific evidence shows you are now more likely to come into contact with the virus in your local area than nationally. Therefore, the government is advising those shielding in Blackburn with Darwen to continue following the current shielding guidance and not follow the relaxations to guidance on 1 August, as is the case nationally. 

The shielding guidance for Blackburn with Darwen will be reviewed on a regular basis and as part of the wider measures in place in the area. 

  • What happens next? When will shielding end?

The shielding guidance for Blackburn with Darwen will be reviewed on a regular basis and as part of the wider measures in place in the area. 

The government has always been clear that it will continually monitor the transmission of the virus in our communities and if rates rise too much, our advice to those who are shielding may change.   

  • How will you communicate the different shielding advice for those living in Blackburn with Darwen?

We will send text messages and write to all those on the Shielded Patient List in the affected area to explain the specific guidance that they are advised to follow. The text messages should arrive on 27 July, with the letters arriving from 28 July.

  • Shielding advice for the rest of England is being relaxed on 1 August. If Blackburn with Darwen is still locked down at that time, will I still need to shield?

Yes. We will continue to those on the Shielded Patient List up to date with any changes in advice and will write out once we are able to indicate when advice to shield will be paused. The latest guidance will also be kept up to date in the Local Authority website (www.blackburn.gov.uk).

The shielding guidance for Blackburn with Darwen will be reviewed on a regular basis and as part of the wider measures in place in the area. 

  • What support is available while I continue to shield?

If you urgently need food or care, please contact Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council’s Help Hub by calling 01254 588111 (Monday to Friday between 09:00 and 17:00) or by visiting https://www.blackburn.gov.uk/helphub.

  •  Priority supermarket delivery slots provided by seven supermarkets will continue beyond the end of July for those already signed up for support.
  • Arrangements to have medicines delivered to people’s homes by local community pharmacies or their dispensing doctor will continue while advice to shield is in place.
  • You can also contact the NHS Volunteer Responder scheme for help collecting shopping, medicine or other essential supplies that you need delivered to your home, or for someone to check in with you if you would like a chat. You can call them for free on 0808 1963646.

Blackburn with Darwen Coronavirus Alert

Introducing new local measures to control virus spread

July 15, 2020

Blackburn with Darwen’s Director of Public Health has today announced new local measures to help control the spread of Coronavirus.

These measures, specific to Blackburn with Darwen, are aimed at helping avoid a local lockdown by getting a grip on the rise in cases of the virus.

For the next month, Dominic Harrison recommends everyone in the borough follows these five measures:

  1. A limit of two people from the same household allowed to visit another household

At the moment national guidance allows two families to meet indoors as long as they keep to social distancing guidance. We are asking residents to limit the numbers of people meeting indoors to people who live in the house plus only two members from a second household at any one time.

  1. Wearing cloth face coverings in all enclosed public spaces

All residents will be strongly recommended to wear a cloth face covering (or non-surgical mask) in all enclosed public spaces. This means in all shops, workplaces, libraries, museums, health centres, hair and beauty salons etc.

  1. Greeting and embracing

Rather than give handshakes or a hug, we’re asking people to only bump elbows with anyone outside of their immediate family. If we all do it, no one will be offended or think we’re being rude!

  1. Support for small shops

We are stepping up our Public Protection advice and support to small shops across the borough to ensure that measures such as wearing face coverings, social distancing, good hygiene practice and increased ventilation are being followed to help reduce the risk of virus spread in these businesses.

  1. Testing

We are doing more targeted testing this week, with the arrival of a mobile testing unit at Witton Park Academy in addition to the testing facility at Royal Blackburn Hospital. You don’t need to have symptoms to be tested – this will help us with case finding, identifying people who have no symptoms but who carry the virus.

Dominic Harrison commented:

“We know that people have been worried by the release of figures that show an increase in Coronavirus cases in Blackburn with Darwen, and don’t want a second lockdown to be introduced.

“The Council does not want the borough to be in that position either, which is why we are introducing these new measures to give everyone simple steps they can follow to do their bit to help keep the spread of the virus under control.

“These steps will help and we are appealing to everyone in Blackburn with Darwen to follow them to protect themselves and their loved ones. If we don’t, a local lockdown, like in Leicester, becomes a very real possibility.

“The council is working with the NHS and the wider community on this – it’s up to us all to help each other stick to the advice that’s been given. We can only avoid further lockdown measures if we work together.

“In the next week to 10 days, we will see a rise in the number of cases in the borough due to the increased targeted testing we are doing in communities most at risk, and because we have opened a Pillar 2 testing site next to the hospital last week.

“In another two weeks, if the rates are continuing to rise, we will have to consider reversing some of the national lockdown lifting measures locally one by one until we see a reversal in the current rising trend. It’s up to everyone to make sure we don’t have to do that.”

Blackburn with Darwen is in the top ten list of local authorities that have higher rates of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 than the national average. The borough is currently at a rate of 40 cases per 100,000, making us fourth highest.

The borough also has a higher positivity rate, which is currently 7% — this is the rate of confirmed cases per 100,000 as a percentage of all who take a test. The national average is 2–5%.

Mental Wellbeing Workshops

Health and Wellbeing Service

  BwD Help Hub supporting local people in need
Care Network and community organisations across Blackburn with Darwen are working with the Council to deliver coordinated support through a central hub to support residents during the Coronavirus outbreak. By providing food and essential items to people in need By helping arrange deliveries to people in isolation who have the means to buy their own food and essential items By having someone to talk on the phone while isolating at home. Anyone in Blackburn with Darwen who has no support they can call on through family, friends or neighbours can get in touch with the Help Hub: By filling in the online form here  By calling 01254 588111 – 9am – 5pm Mon to Fri, and 9am – 12pm Sat & Sun The BwD Help Hub can provide a range of support, from organising deliveries of food and essential supplies to people in need, and providing information and advice. Additionally, staff working through the Help Hub will make regular weekly telephone calls to help keep people’s spirits up during periods of isolation.     Care Network continues to provide…
Continuing to provide a responsive and effective service that meets customers’ needs is a priority for us. Information and signposting: We are working closely with partners to find out about current and changing local activity and can also provide information on national phone lines to support your health and wellbeing.  Safe Trader Scheme: We are now only passing on referrals for essential works and services. When customers contact the helpdesk, we will ascertain that the service/work is essential. Emergency works and services include, but are not limited to: repair of broken boilers, cookers, electrical repairs safety & security shopping & food delivery services any other services/work deemed essential/necessary e.g. leaks through the ceiling or burst pipe Healthy Homes: We’re doing all we can to provide advice over the phone and support any energy and fuel tariff enquiries. If you’re struggling practically or emotionally, or you know someone who is – get in touch with us – if we don’t know the current state of play of some services we’ll find out and get back to you.   Ways to get in touch with Care Network… If you need any services or support you can call us on 01254 507255 Message us, or fill out a self-referral form and we will get in touch with you. Click here to make an online referrals  Email enquiries: info@carenetwork.org.uk Follow us for helpful tips and information or message us on social media – Facebook www.facebook.com/Care.Network and Twitter https://twitter.com/CareNetworkUK   Call backs: if you or someone you know doesn’t have credit let us know via any of the means above and we can call you.   Our Care Network Hub Facebook page aims to keep you up to date with local services as well as helpful tips and resources that support will support your health, wellbeing, and independence at home.      Government and NHS guidance  To ensure the safety and wellbeing of yourselves and others, we ask that anyone showing the symptoms of coronavirus follows official advice www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ 

NHS coronavirus advice available in 34 languages https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/coronavirus-information/ 

Mental wellbeing from the NHS while staying at home https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others Take care and keep in touch.  .
With best wishes, 
All of us at Care Network