The Meningitis Now helpline is still very much open

18th April 2020

Our Helpline and Information Manager, Claire Donovan, explains how are services are running at this time

The Meningitis Now helpline is open and here to offer advice

"As a nurse, I have experienced many difficult shifts working in the NHS, however I really cannot imagine what is must be like for our colleagues on the front line at the moment. I would like to say a massive thank you to all NHS staff, carers and key workers who are making a real difference at this time.

"Despite the pandemic, cases of meningitis are still occurring and those whose lives have been impacted by meningitis continue to require our support.  Many have been through the pain of losing a loved one from an infectious disease, others have been left with life-changing after-effects. It is understandable that during this pandemic, many will experience increased levels of anxiety and stress, perhaps bringing back vivid memories of their experience, or the fear of contracting another infectious disease. This is why we feel it is so important to ensure our nurse-led helpline remains available during this time.

Is there any difference to the helpline service during lockdown?

"No, our experienced nurses remain on hand to answer enquires and provide information. As we follow the #stayathome advice, it is possible that you may hear some extra background noise during a call; dogs barking, children playing or lawn mowers are all providing an extra challenge! However, rest assured we are all set up to ensure calls are confidential and that we can take the time to listen to your concerns and answer your questions.

What sort of enquires are we getting?

"As well as the more common enquiries about meningitis and its after-effects, we have seen an increase in questions about coronavirus and what it may mean to individual situations.

We are also getting questions from parents who are worried about taking their children for routine vaccines. Ensuring vaccines are given on time is vital to ensure protection. This also helps to protect the NHS, after all the last thing we need at the moment is an outbreak of a vaccine preventable disease. 

"Another concern, is those who are worried that someone may have meningitis. Concerns include not wishing to bother the NHS unnecessarily or the fear of contracting COVID if there is a need to attend hospital or the GP surgery. However, meningitis is a life-threatening disease requiring urgent medical attention and the NHS remains open for anyone who needs it. 

"Whatever the nature of your enquiry, whether you just need to talk to someone about your experience, or have questions to ask, we are here to listen, provide information and direct you to the appropriate service if required. 

How can you contact our helpline?

You can contact our helpline by calling 0808 80 10 388 (Freephone) between 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday. We can also answer your enquiries by email: helpline@meningitisnow.org or via social media.

On behalf of our helpline nurses, we are here for you. Keep safe."

Claire Donovan, Helpline and Information Manager.

  • Glen awarded grant from Meningitis Now Rebuilding Futures Fund

    Rebuilding the future for Glen

    A contribution from our new Rebuilding Futures Fund has helped one of our supporters hang on to his independence

  • Meningitis Now support event - Family Day Bristol Zoo

    We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo

    Corporate Fundraiser Matt wrote about meeting our supporters, chatting with some of our families – and having his face painted as some sort of whiskered animal

  • Mark Jefferies Meningitis Now Remembrance Garden blog

    Hosting in the Garden

    The occasion, just like the garden itself, was a constellation of grief, optimism and every emotion in between, but what was perhaps most striking was the feeling that this was a safe and secure place

  • Chester Zoo dream night for meningitis families

    A night at the zoo

    Ten of our families in the North West who are living with the impact of meningitis were treated to a special private “dream night” at Chester Zoo