New regional helpline supports those in self-isolation

Wales’ first regional helpline to support people in Bridgend county borough 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 county borough 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 Bridgend County Borough Council who will seek local support for them. For example, somebody from Bridgend 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 Bridgend for people who need local support during the pandemic.

People are asked to contact Bridgend County Borough Council on 01656 643643 for more information during normal working hours Monday to Friday and between 10am-4pm on weekends.

The Leader, Cllr Huw David, said: “We want all those who are told to self-isolate and may be worried about how they will manage to know there is a network of support in place to help them.

“The regional helpline is there to coordinate the support with the local authority providing further information for people in need.

“Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the council has worked in partnership with the Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations (BAVO) to ensure local residents get the help they need, as quickly and seamlessly as possible.”

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.”