Friday, April 19th, 2024

Otford villagers advised on where vulnerable patients can get support during coronavirus pandemic

A Covid-19 update message from the Otford Medical Practice (OMP) Patient Participation Group (PPG)

Dear Patient

Please feel free to forward this update to others who may not have received it but please also be aware of a number of misleading articles circulating online. It is safest to get your information from the most up to date and reliable sources – the government site or NHS 111.

The Patient Participation Group (PPG) has received a number of questions about support for people most at risk of becoming infected by coronavirus. This update offers information about this group and links to further advice.

 People most at risk

People most at risk are sometimes called ‘shielded’ or ‘extremely vulnerable’ people. They are considered to be in Tier 1 (see table pictured below).

This includes about 1.5 million people who:

  • have had an organ transplant
  • are having certain types of cancer treatment
  • have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
  • have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
  • have a condition or are taking medicine that makes them much more likely to get infections
  • are pregnant and have a serious heart condition

Those most at risk should receive a letter from the NHS. Letters are being sent out and many OMP patients received them by 30 March 2020. If you have not received a letter:

  • Speak to your GP or specialist. Only your GP or specialist medical team can add you to the Shielded Patients List. However, the Practice is trying to cope with a very large workload with reduced numbers as staff are having to self-isolate.
  • If you cannot contact your doctor you can register yourself for extra help and support on the government website.
  • If you are vulnerable (or know of someone who is) and have an urgent need that cannot be met through existing support networks, you can contact the Kent Together helpline online or by calling 03000 419292. It is a 24-hour service.

Local support planned by Sevenoaks District Council is shown overleaf. Support for those most at risk is shown in Tier 1, that for people at increased risk (about 19 million) in Tier 2 and support for other people is shown in Tier 3.

Safe and Well is a friendly ‘phone service (03000 81005 – option 5) available for vulnerable and isolated people in Kent. They can offer you, or someone you know, daily or weekly calls.

Stay safe and stay at home but keep in touch

For further information about patient group activities, please contact:

The PPG now has a Facebook Page to keep patients up to date with current events, or to be kept informed of NHS changes. Follow us on Facebook @ ‘Otford Patient Participation Group’ for updates.

ROAD FRIENDS: Otford village now has 43 teams of Road Friends covering every road in the parish. On average each volunteer covers four houses so with 245 Road Friends looking out for their neighbours, they effectively cover the entire population of 3,200. Two or three new volunteers apply every day. The Road Friends initiative is being spearheaded by Rod Shelton and Simon Featherstone Email:

HIGH STREET RECRATION GROUND: A great deal of time and energy is donated to the village by the sports clubs that largely maintain the High Street Recreation Ground for the benefit of everybody. This facility is owned by the Parish Council but the Football and Cricket Clubs cut and maintain the pitches throughout the year, with the Council arranging mowing of the extremities as and when required.

Otford United Football Club encompasses both Junior and Senior Teams who play and train at the rec throughout the year. Otford United FC is an FA Charter Standard Club which means that it has a level one coach for every team. The FA Charter Standard is an accreditation scheme for grassroots clubs and leagues. Their latest report states: “Congratulations, Otford United is among the country’s best.” This is fantastic recognition for such a small Village. Its goal is to raise standards in grassroots football, support the development of clubs and leagues, recognising and rewarding them for their commitment and achievements. The Club also continues to support the FA’s Respect campaign both on and off the pitch.

The club has 15 teams with an average of 15 players per team.

The juniors play in the Crowborough and Ashford League and the senior first team plays in the Premier Division of the Kent County Football League.

The vision for the future is to establish strong sponsorship for the club to allow growth, particularly in the seniors, given their strong position in their respective leagues. If the first team gains promotion the club would need funds to sustain the league’s facility requirements.

Details of the club can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and they are now using ‘Spond’ as their main communication tool within the club with ‘WhatApp’ as a back-up. Or visit

In future columns there will be details of the other village clubs that use the High Street Recreation Ground facility including, Otford Tennis Club, Cricket Cub and Petanque.

The Otford village news is compiled by Kay Drake. If you have any news or events you would like her to consider for the My Sevenoaks Community village column you can email her at:

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