Service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

You can find out how local services in Suffolk have changed due to coronavirus (COVID-19), and how that might affect you.

Changes to Suffolk services

Last updated: 6 October 2020 (reviewed daily)

We're experiencing high demand for care services and advice, which is understandable given these uncertain times.

However, it’s important that we keep council lines free for vulnerable customers. Please only contact us regarding services where there is an urgent need to do so. Contact details are available on our Customer First contact page.

We're also making some changes to how care is being provided. This will allow us to provide the essential care that is needed in Suffolk. You can read more about these changes to care services.

Each April, Suffolk County Council carries out an annual financial assessment review for those with care packages. This year, (2020) in light of the current Coronavirus pandemic, a decision has been made to postpone the financial review until further notice.

Suffolk Virtual Care Response Service

The Suffolk Virtual Care Response Service is a free service for people who are vulnerable or isolated due to the coronavirus pandemic, and have little or no technological ability. Find out more here.

Parking using an expired Blue Badge during COVID-19 crisis

You can continue using a Blue Badge with an expiry date of 1 January 2020 onwards without receiving a penalty charge notice.

This relaxation of enforcement has been agreed by government and local authority associations and should continue initially until 30 September 2020.

Please note that this applies to local authority parking and not private car parks such as supermarkets.

The Suffolk Coroner’s Service is closely monitoring central government advice, and considering any impact COVID-19 might have on the Coroner’s court.

The Ministry of Justice may take the view that all courts should cease hearing cases. If this is the situation, then we will endeavour to contact those involved as soon as is operationally possible and look to reschedule for a future date. However this may not be for six to nine months.

At this time our focus as a service is to prioritise the new referrals to the Coroner. This is in order to enable funerals to be held at the earliest opportunity. We politely request your understanding and patience during this challenging time.

All Suffolk County Council offices are closed until further notice.

How to contact us

Visit our contact us page to find services including:

  • Customer Service (Suffolk Highways)
  • Customer First (Adult Social Care and Children's Social Care)
  • School Admissions
  • Suffolk Trading Standards

All courses are currently suspended.

Further information can be found at suffolkroadsafe.com.

Food banks across Suffolk are being given a share of £60,000 to keep their supplies well stocked during the Coronavirus pandemic.

This money has been donated by Suffolk County Council and will allow the food banks to restock directly with the supermarkets and wholesalers.

Who is getting the funding?

The funding will be added to the Suffolk Emergency response fund held by Suffolk Community Foundation. Suffolk Community Foundation are working with all partners in Suffolk to maximise the amount of funding made available by central government, Health and District and Borough Councils to support the COVID-19 community response.

How has that been decided?

The Collaborative Communities Board is working with the voluntary sector and the network of food banks across Suffolk and ensuring they have access to funds as needed for the direct provision of food and supplies for vulnerable people in Suffolk.

When are they getting it?

Small amounts of funding will be allocated as requested by food banks and other organisations involved in the individual relief of hardship.

Where is the funding coming from?

From Suffolk County Council’s leadership group. Read about the share of £60,000 being donated.

Libraries in Suffolk have now reopened and the mobile library service is now running again.

Browsing in libraries and the Home Library Service are both being reintroduced in September with events and activities being reintroduced from November onwards.

Visit suffolklibraries.co.uk/coronavirus for more information.

The Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing Hub provides a helpline and referral service for those concerned about the mental health of a child or young person aged 0-25.

If your child or young person are in need of mental health support, please contact our helpline on 0345 600 2090, and leave a message and we will contact you.

If you live in Lowestoft and Waveney, you should contact the Point-1 Service for mental health support.

A helpline has been launched to help parents if their usual school is:

  • not open
  • unable to make alternate arrangements for pupils.

The helpline is for parents who are classed as a key worker or have a child that is classed as vulnerable. Suffolk County Council will liaise with schools to find them a place.

The helpline number is: 01473 263985.

Download statement of community involvement (PDF, 202KB) - temporary changes. In respect of publicity of planning policy documents and planning applications during COVID-19 pandemic.

Find further information on submitting a planning application.

Public transport is to operate on a reduced scale throughout Suffolk. New timetables are in place for most public transport services, including buses, trains and community transport until further notice.

The changes reflect less people are not using public transport by staying at home. There's also less staff available as more need to self isolate. Visit suffolkonboard.com for more information.

Phased re-opening of Recycling Centres

Recycling Centres in Suffolk have re-opened following closure due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

You need to book a time slot online to visit your local Recycling Centre as part of this phased re-opening.

Find out more about booking a Recycling Centre time slot

School Crossing Patrols is suspended in the interest of their safety, and the safety of others.

We will consider a request from schools for assistance in getting children of key workers to school safely, if they deem necessary. For further visit suffolkroadsafe.com on follow on Twitter @suffolkroadsafe

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, changes have been made to the delivery of core sexual and reproductive health services in Suffolk.

Some services will be temporarily suspended as our staff work to support the wider Coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

Urgent information will be communicated through the Suffolk Sexual Health Network distribution list. To receive these updates, contact Matthew.Bury@suffolk.gov.uk or telephone 01473 260942.

iCaSH (integrated Contraception and Sexual Health)

iCaSH is asking all service users to stay at home and not visit the service if they display symptoms of the coronavirus. You should follow Government guidance on staying at home if you display symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

The three iCaSH sexual health hubs in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft remain open, but only for specific visits. They have changed the way they are operating:

  • suspension of sit and wait clinics
  • offering telephone consultations (with follow up face to face appointments where clinically appropriate) for the following service users:
    • those receiving/requiring PEP
      (a treatment for 28 days to prevent HIV infection after risky sex)
    • those who need emergency contraception
    • those who have symptoms of an STI
    • telephone consultations for people living with HIV aged over 70 (including agreeing arrangements for delivery of medication)
    • access to screening and testing for sexually transmitted infections
      • please use the Express Test home testing kit which can be ordered online, if you have no symptoms of an STI

People who are HIV positive

There is currently no evidence that people living with HIV are at any greater risk than the general public of either getting coronavirus or becoming unwell due to coronavirus. You do not need to attend the clinic for additional blood tests to check your CD4 count. Please follow the NHS guidance about how best to protect yourselves and others from coronavirus.

Please be reassured that maintaining a seamless supply of anti-retroviral medication to you will be prioritised even if you are unable to attend the clinic.

We will update this advice if Public Health guidance changes.

Terrence Higgins Trust service

The Suffolk THT office will be closed until further notice.

  • Chlamydia and gonorrhoea samples are still being tested and results will still be sent out as normal. Patients who have not received their results after two weeks of sending their sample are advised to email suffolkchlamydia@tht.org.uk for their results
  • Chlamydia testing kits should be ordered at www.youngandfree.org.uk
  • For professionals attempting to order c-card supplies, orders will not be processed until staff are permitted to work from the office again. When the office re-opens, a further communication will be circulated
  • All training sessions run by THT Suffolk for the next two months have been cancelled, this includes in house training. Delegates signed up to multi-agency training (Eventbrite or Suffolk CPD) will be emailed separately. The health promotion specialist for your area will be in touch soon if you have in house training organised.
  • All sessional shifts have been cancelled until further notice

Pharmacy provision of sexual and reproductive health services

In order to deal with increased demand for medical supplies, pharmacies may reduce their opening hours. Many will be open 10am to 12pm / 2pm to 4pm (or 6pm for the late opening 100 hour pharmacies).

Before visiting for sexual health services, patients are advised to call the pharmacy first. Find your nearest pharmacy on the NHS website.

Online HIV self-sampling service position

The online HIV self-sampling service will continue to be available to residents of Suffolk over the age of 16. SH:24 will remain committed to maintaining quick turn around times for the delivery and processing of testing kits, however external factors may make it difficult to achieve this 100% of the time. Testing kits can be accessed online.

The Ferns (sexual assault referral centre – SARC)

The Ferns are working to ensure they are able to continue to support both new and existing service users:

  • The 0300 123 5058 helpline will continue to be manned as normal
  • Assessment of clients will take place virtually, prior to attending any examination
  • Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVA) will continue to support individuals via telephone, email, Skype and Zoom.

The Archaeological Service’s offices are closed to visitors due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Read more about Suffolk Archaeological Service.

All branches of Suffolk Archives (Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Lowestoft) are closed until further notice.

We'll endeavour to maintain a telephone and email enquiry service during the closure period. This will be kept under review and may be subject to change. Wherever possible staff will continue to work daily at home.

During the closure, users can still browse the website and search the catalogue, as well as purchase and download digital images. Subject to staff being based in branch, it may also be possible to order copies online.

Visit www.suffolkarchives.co.uk/using-the-website for more information.

Suffolk Archive events

All Suffolk Archives events planned up until 30 June 2020 are cancelled or postponed. This includes the summer programme of talks and workshops at Bury Archives, which was scheduled to run until mid-July.

We will be contacting anyone who has an existing booking. Dates and details for all Suffolk Archives events will be kept under constant review.

The Hold, Ipswich

At present construction work is continuing at The Hold but this is subject to daily review. Preparations for the move are on going. Plans for the opening of the building are under discussion and more information will be provided when available.

We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by the above changes.

We have made these difficult decisions with the health and well-being of all archives users, staff and volunteers in mind. We will keep the situation under constant review and provide updates as soon as is appropriate and possible.

We're monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation so that we can keep our staff safe and continue to protect our communities. 

We'll continue to respond to emergency 999 calls.

We have stopped some work to minimise risks, including:

  • cancelling some home visits
  • cancelling some firefighter training
  • closing stations to community meetings and events

But we are adapting our operations to continue to protect the most vulnerable members of society. We continue to follow:

  • government guidelines
  • operational guidelines set out by the National Fire Chiefs Council
  • our own business continuity plan

You can read further updates relating to COVID-19 on the Suffolk Fire and Rescue pages.

Read:

The fitting of Trucall devices into people's homes has been suspended and some businesses have already cancelled routine inspections. The work done by our Imports Team at the Port of Felixstowe is essential and has been prioritised.

Appropriate procedures and measures are in place to enable officers to safely carry out physical exams of consignments to prevent dangerous and unsafe items entering the UK market.