AN OPEN letter has been issued to people of Dorset urging them to stay home to ease pressure on the NHS.

Sent by Dorset CCG, the letter states the most important action people can take is staying home.

It has been signed by a number of medical professionals, including Sam Crowe, director of Public Health Dorset, Dr Alyson O’Donnell, chief medical officer at the University Hospitals Dorset Trust and Dr Forbes Watson, chair of Dorset CCG.

It comes as figures yesterday revealed 204 people were admitted to Dorset hospitals with coronavirus between December 28 and January 3.

As of January 5, 272 people were in hospital with the virus, 20 of which required mechanical ventilation.

The letter says:

Dear Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole,

We need your continued help, now.

As set out in the Prime Minister’s announcement our NHS services are under great pressure.

The new Covid-19 variant is spreading fast. We all need to play our part to stop the spread. The single most important actions we can all take now are to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. We are urging all Dorset residents to play their part and please stay at home. If we all follow the measures set out by the government, we will reduce transmission, and protect the most vulnerable in our communities, and our local NHS.

Please help us to help you. We all have a role to play, whether looking after our own health or accessing services wisely and safely. It’s important to remember that your local pharmacists, GPs, Urgent Treatment Centres and Minor Injuries Units are still here for you if you need them. Minor Injuries Units/Urgent Treatment Centre in Weymouth, Bridport, Swanage, Shaftesbury and Wimborne can be reached direct by calling their dedicated phone number:  If you require urgent mental health support call the 24/7 Connection helpline on 0800 652 0190, or NHS 111, and you will be signposted to the right service for the support you need.

Please continue to attend NHS services for your booked appointment or procedure unless you are notified by us. If you cannot attend because you are self-isolating or do not want to attend, please contact the number on your appointment letter.

The health and care system in Dorset has been working extremely hard to deliver the Covid-19 vaccination programme to local people. We are delivering the vaccine in line with the national guidance which means those people who are most at risk will be invited first. The NHS will get in touch when it’s your turn to be vaccinated, please don’t contact us to seek a vaccine.

While the roll-out of the vaccine in Dorset is great news we must make sure all other measures are still being followed such as regularly washing hands, wearing face coverings and keeping a safe distance from people not in our household.

Stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

Thank you for your continued support.