Helpline to support self-isolating
- Categories : Press Release
- 20 Nov 2020
Wales’ first regional helpline to support people in Merthyr Tydfil who are self-isolating has been launched in Cwm Taf Morgannwg (CTM).
The new seven day a week service has been set up in partnership by the CTM local authorities, County Voluntary Councils, the CTM Regional Partnership Board, CTM University Health Board and Public Health Wales.
People living in Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf or Bridgend can call the helpline with their worries and concerns if they are asked to self-isolate by NHS Wales’ Test, Trace and Protect (TTP) team.
The ‘CTM Self-Isolation helpline’ has been set up after feedback from the Test, Trace and Protect team in CTM showed people living in the region had many questions around self-isolation and the support available.
This is coupled with concerns from organisations across the UK that isolation may put disabled, vulnerable and older people at risk. This is in addition to having a negative impact on the general public’s mental and physical wellbeing.
A contact number for the ‘CTM Self-Isolation helpline’ will be sent by text, letter, or given out over the phone to anybody who is contact traced or tests positive for COVID-19.
When people call the phone number, a member of the friendly helpline team will talk to them to find out what support they need.
This could include advice around the latest COVID-19 guidance; links to relevant information or signposting to a relevant local support service.
For example, somebody from Merthyr Tydfil who is experiencing loneliness may be put in touch with a local befriending service to ensure they have somebody to talk to throughout their time at home.
While the helpline is a service for people who need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, there are many other support services available across Merthyr Tydfil for people who need support during the pandemic.
People are asked to contact Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council or Voluntary Action Merthyr Tydfil (VAMT) for more information.
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council Leader, Cllr Kevin O’Neill said:
"We understand that having a positive test result – and the prospect of having to self-isolate can be quite bewildering.
“This helpline is designed to provide answers for any questions people might have and to reassure them that they’re taking the right action. It’s also a support service for those feeling lonely and isolated.”
Sharon Richards, Chief Executive of Voluntary Action Merthyr Tydfil (VAMT) said:
“VAMT is pleased to be working with our statutory partners and colleagues to support individuals who may call the helpline. Our Community Coordinator will discuss what matters with individuals and bring forward appropriate services and support from local community organisations in order to meet their needs”.
Kelechi Nnoaham, Executive Director of Public Health at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board said:
“Limiting the spread of infection in our communities is of paramount importance if we are to save lives and protect the NHS.
“Lots of work and research has been done to develop better treatments and even a potential vaccine. However, at the moment, we are still in a position where cases of COVID-19 are still circulating widely, so if people test positive for the virus or they are a contact of somebody who has COVID-19, it’s absolutely vital they self-isolate.
“We know self-isolation isn’t straight forward for many people, particularly if they are worried about buying food, missing work or feeling lonely. The CTM Self-Isolation helpline provides people with direct access to a very friendly and accommodating team who are ready to help them with any support they need; whether that is questions around the latest guidance or access to a local service.
“This should reassure people that if they do need to self-isolate, they won’t be alone, and if they require additional help, the helpline will be there for them right the way through their self-isolation period.”