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Former New Milton surgery boss joins plea for public to follow rules as Hampshire prepares for 'most difficult' few weeks

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The letter was signed by 17 health bosses across the county (picture: Andrew Matthews-PA)
The letter was signed by 17 health bosses across the county (picture: Andrew Matthews-PA)

A SENIOR doctor who formerly headed New Milton’s Arnewood Practice has joined Hampshire health leaders pleading for residents to follow lockdown rules as the next few weeks “will be the most difficult we have ever faced”.

In an open letter, Dr Nigel Watson MBE, chief executive of Wessex Local Medical Committees – which represents more than 3,000 GPs across the south of England – has called on people to follow the government’s “Hands-Space-Face” advice and encourage family and friends to the same.

“With the development of vaccines we now know we can beat this virus, but we cannot let our guard down,” the letter states.

“These next few weeks will be the most difficult we have ever faced. The colder weather makes things all the more challenging for us. That is why we are asking for your help.”

Dr Nigel Watson MBE
Dr Nigel Watson MBE

It has been signed by 17 leaders representing 11 organisations in the area.

Other signatories include Paula Hull, director of Nursing and Allied Health Professionals at the Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust – which runs Lymington New Forest Hospital – and Maggie MacIsaac, chief executive of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System.

The letter adds NHS services are still supporting people. Advice can be found on the 111 site online or from GPs by phone, pharmacies remain open and those needing urgent medical help can call 111 or 999 if it is life-threatening.

It adds: “We feel so proud to work in health and care, and we want to support you during these most challenging of times. With your help this winter, we will continue to deliver the best possible care for you and your family.

“Thank you for all of your support. Thank you to all of our staff working to make a difference, whether in hospitals, in the community, in mental health, supporting Covid testing or delivering the vaccine.

“Everything you do is helping to build a better year ahead Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.”

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