Useful information updated 18th September 2020

New information:


Important update on testing in Oxfordshire


Vale of White Horse District Council has been made aware of a worrying trend of people turning up at our hospitals in Oxfordshire, asking to be tested for Covid-19. This is possibly as a result of the national issue with testing capacity, where people have struggled to book a test online.  They are therefore supporting our NHS and Public Health colleagues in pushing out the extremely important message that people with symptoms must NOT go to a hospital.  Testing does not take place in hospital settings and by turning up people are putting extra strain on resources by having to turn people away and also potentially putting vulnerable people at risk.

If anyone is struggling to book a test online the advice is to keep trying as it’s only possible to book a slot when one becomes available. Slots become available throughout the day so it may take a few attempts at different times of the day.

The other key message is to only book a test if you’re displaying symptoms.  You can book a test by calling 119 or by registering online via


Some Covid-19 news from the Local Government Association

The Government has recently announced that the NHS COVID-19 app that is currently being trialled will be launched on Thursday 24 September in England and Wales, following trials in Newham and on the Isle of Wight.

As the app will include the ability to check into venues through a QR code, we are encouraging businesses to ensure they have the NHS QR code posters displayed in a prominent place ahead of the launch. The app will allow contact tracers to track down customers in order to provide public health advice in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak. Businesses who are already using their own QR system are being encouraged to switch to the NHS Test and Trace QR code.

Venues must also have an alternative check-in method in place to collect the details of any visitors or customers without the app, for example a handwritten register.


Help for residents struggling financially from Covid-19

The government has given Vale of White Horse District Council some emergency assistance funding to support any local residents who are struggling financially as a result of the pandemic.

The District Council is working closely with local information and advice centres to help identify residents who might be in this situation and to help provide support.

If you become aware of anyone in this situation, please signpost them to one of the following:

  • Citizens Advice – 0300 3309042
  • Wantage Independent Advice Centre – 01235 765348

There is strict criteria that residents must meet to receive support, and it’s important residents are aware that any support they receive is emergency support while the District Council works with them along with other relevant agencies to put in place an ongoing package of help.

It is also worth noting that these are limited funds, which the District Council is expected to spend by 31 October 2020 at the latest.


Previous reports:

Oxford residents urged to follow social distancing to avoid local control measures

For more information, click here.


People urged to wear face coverings and stay alert

Residents are reminded to continue taking steps to keep themselves, and others safe as non-essential shops and services start reopen for the first time since March.

Per government guidance, any resident using public transport, or in an enclosed public space where social distancing isn’t possible, must wear a non-surgical face covering to help reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.

For more information, click here.


Oxfordshire County Council:

Bus gates, school streets, 20mph zones and more space for cyclists on the agenda as county plans long-term transformation:
Click here for an article and opportunity for residents to give feedback


Shielding guidance relaxed

As you’ll no doubt be aware the government’s shielding has now been “paused” and the guidelines for those shielding has now changed.

The Vale of White Horse District Council’s Community Hub service is however still available for residents needing urgent help. The hours have changed due to a reduction in demand to now reflect their standard office hours – Monday to Thursday 8.30am-5pm and Fridays 8.30am-4.30pm.

The community hub contact details are 01235 422600 and


Oxfordshire County Council is working with our friends and associates at Oxford University Hospitals, NHS Oxford Health and Oxford Clinical Commissioning group to share these stories about health and well-being services across the county.  From Oxfordshire County Council media team




Oxfordshire Libraries – Digital Update


Mental Health Advice

24/7 mental health helpline

If you or people you live with don’t have coronavirus symptoms and you think you need advice for a physical or mental health concern:

We have launched a new service to provide people with mental health advice during the coronavirus pandemic covering a range of conditions and symptoms including anxiety, low mood, stress, worry,  difficulty with relationships. You can find out more here

Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire

Adults 01865 904997; Children 01865 904998.

The helpline adds to the range of ways people can get support locally including Safe Havens which continue to offer an alternative to A&E for mental health care in the evenings and at weekends during the outbreak.

Banbury Safe Haven: To self-refer  ring 01295 270004 or 07851246546.

Oxford Safe Haven: To self-refer ring 01865 903037 (Fri-Mon)

People who already use mental health services should contact services directly using the numbers in their care plan.


Coronavirus Carer ID scheme during lockdown


Cancer consultations available via telephone and video

Doctors in Oxfordshire are urging people to get medical advice if they are worried about symptoms of cancer.

A recent national survey suggests getting coronavirus or giving it to their family were among the top reasons that people would not come forward when they have cancer symptoms, along with fears that they could be a burden to the health service.

But NHS staff have worked hard to make sure people can get cancer checks and treatment safely, so there is no need to delay.

Dr Kiren Collison, GP and Clinical Chair of Oxfordshire CCG, said: “We strongly encourage anyone with concerns or worries about their health to contact their GP for advice. If you are worried about any new symptoms, then please get in touch with your surgery.

“We will be able to reassure you or if necessary get you to see a specialist quickly and safely. It is important to remember that the sooner cancer symptoms are picked up and treated, the better.”

Initial telephone consultations or via video mean people do not necessarily need to go to GP surgeries for check-ups, and if they do need to be seen in person then there will be measures in place to keep patients safe. Waiting to get help could have serious consequences for patients and put a greater burden on the NHS in the future.

Dr Shelley Hayles, GP and Planned Care and Cancer Clinical Lead at OCCG, said: “NHS staff here in Oxfordshire have made huge efforts to deal with coronavirus but we are also working hard to ensure patients can get essential services such as cancer checks and urgent surgery safely.

“We are doing all we can to make sure patients receive the life-saving care they need.

“The wishes of patients and their families will always come first, and we have to make sure that people feel safe coming to GP practices and hospitals, but our message is clear: people should seek help as they always would.

“We know that finding cancer early gives us the best chance to cure it, and ignoring potential problems can have serious consequences now or in the future.”

Oxfordshire’s cancer diagnostics and treatment centres are based at the Churchill Hospital, which is a regional centre of excellence, as well as other specialist services in the John Radcliffe and Horton General Hospitals.

Nick Maynard, Cancer Lead at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have been working incredibly hard at our Trust to make sure that we can still provide urgent cancer care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Patient safety is at the heart of everything we do, and we have made every effort to make sure that cancer treatment at our Trust is supported by robust shielding and screening procedures to protect our patients against COVID-19.”

A major public information campaign launched last week to persuade people to contact their GP or 111 if they have urgent care needs and to attend hospital if they are told they should.

Cancers are detected earlier and lives are saved if more people are referred for investigation for checks.


Oxfordshire County Council (OCC)



Vale of White Horse Covid 19 Council Tax Support




Oxfordshire residents have been warned to be on their guard against criminals and scammers exploiting the coronavirus situation.

Some scammers are claiming to be charity workers, offering assistance with shopping, or requesting donations.

Here are some tips from our Trading Standards team on how to check charity workers are genuine (graphic attached for social media and websites):

How to check if they are genuine:

  • Check the charity’s name and registration number at Most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered.
  • Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information – it’s ok to decide not to give on the spot. Be wary of unsolicited emails from charities you have never heard of and be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them.
  • Exercise the same caution as with any other internet transaction, for example, to donate online. Visit the charity’s own website and always type the website address into the browser yourself.
  • Contact or find out more online about the charity that you’re seeking to donate to or work with, to find out more about their spending. Ask a trusted friend, neighbour or relative if you are unable to research this or need a second opinion.
  • Ignore requests to donate through a money transfer company.

Full details and advice from our Trading Standards team here:

Oxfordshire businesses warned to protect against COVID19 scams



Vale of White Horse advice and support for businesses





Thames Water article during Covid 19



Domestic Abuse:

How and where to get help and support:

  • Anyone in immediate danger should phone 999.
  • Or if in danger and unable to talk on the phone, dial 999 and then press 55. This will transfer the call to police, who will assist without the caller having to speak.
  • Oxfordshire Domestic Abuse Services offers free advice: 0800 731 0055 (Mon-Fri 10am-7pm). Email
  • Alternatively, call the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247.


New coronavirus clinics to help patients across Oxfordshire:


New hotline for diabetes patients during COVID-19


Other resources:

Free Adult Education & Training Courses

Citizens Advice Information