Since the outbreak of COVID-19 the practice is continuing to deliver a service to our patients but has implemented some changes to help keep patients and staff safe.
We have reduced our face to face appointments by using other methods such as Video consultations and increasing the number of telephone calls. We have continued to see patients where necessary and continue to offer on the day urgent triage calls with our GPs.
As I am sure you can appreciate we are experiencing absences of staff due to the illness and self isolating where appropriate. We continue to monitor our resources on a daily basis and are making adjustments where needed.
The practice has decided that with effect from Monday 6th April 2020 we will not be providing face to face consultations with patients at Wainscott or Cliffe.
Cliffe Woods will continue to provide urgent GP and Nurse appointments and Higham will continue to provide face to face urgent GP appointments only. We expect this change to help the practice maximise our resources and reduce the risk of infection to patients and staff.
Cliffe Woods will remain open on Wednesday afternoon and Higham on Thursday afternoons and we will not have an afternoon closure.
Please note that Cliffe will continue to provide a dispensing service to patients in the local area however the opening times for collection of medication will be reduced to 0900-1400hrs Monday to Friday.
We will also continue to provide home visits where necessary.
Medication requests are to continue as they previously have by using patient online services or by submitting a written request to any of our four locations. For those who are struggling with these methods please seek support from relatives, friends or the local community. Alternatively the reception staff may also be able to provide further advice.
Phone lines have not changed so patients who need medical assistance should contact the practice as normal.
We appreciate your understanding and support.
The Partners and Staff would also like to remind patients that:-
1 - We cannot provide early or extra 'just in case' prescriptions, this will only cause shortages of medicines and inhalers, and pharmacies will be like the supermarkets.
2 - We cannot give prescriptions for paracetamol if you do not normally receive it on prescription, even if you cannot find it in the shops, someone somewhere will have some.
3 - We won't give out inhalers on a 'just in case basis'. Especially if you haven't had an inhaler for years. This again will lead to shortages for those who really need inhaled medication. If you feel you are symptomatic, please request a telephone consultation.
4- If your appointment is postponed or moved to telephone consultation, please do not abuse us, these are national guidelines, in place to protect you and to protect us. We are still triaging, talking to, assessing and seeing patients face to face if needed. If you need us, we will see you. We are also wearing PPE, masks and aprons, don’t be alarmed, it’s a precaution only.
5 - Please do not ask for a "rescue pack" if you have asthma or COPD unless you already have this service. There has been fake and false information about rescue packs circulating on social media. These are not an entitlement for all, they are part of a very specific plan of care for patients who have unstable conditions. If you are symptomatic, let us know.
6 - Patients seeking sick notes for their employers (MED3 certificates) can now generate these themselves by clicking onto the following website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice
Then click on "Get Isolation Note" - which is half way down the page highlighted in green. This will take you to the NHS111 page where patients will be asked to answer a few questions. On completion a reference number will be emailed to you which is the sick note.
7 - Please do not ask us about the letters being sent directly from NHS England to all vulnerable patients. The practice is not able to look at individual cases as to whether a patient should or should not be receiving one of these letters. Please adhere to the .Gov COVID-19 guidelines which change regularly - sometimes daily.
8 - Please do not ask us for occupational guidance, we cannot make those decisions or give you advice, this will be between you and your employer. All you need to know is on the .gov website, you have the same access to this guidance as we do.
9 - Please do not expect a pneumococcal vaccination unless you fit the recommended criteria to receive one. Pneumococcal vaccination is in short supply, it is for certain groups of patients only who are classed as vulnerable and it is not a protection for Covid-19.
10 - Please keep up to date with your children's vaccinations, we cannot risk any other outbreaks of childhood diseases on top of everything else. Please don't bring other children along to vaccination appointments and only one adult who is able to consent (Mum-Dad) to accompany the child to surgery.
11 - And please remember:-
- Not come to the practice if you, or anyone in your household, have symptoms associated with coronavirus including a new continuous cough or a high temperature.
- If you have symptoms associated with coronavirus including a new continuous cough and a high temperature, you are advised to stay at home for 7 days. If you live with other people, they should also stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.
- If your symptoms are serious, or get worse, NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need further medical help and advise you what to do.
- Only call 111 direct if you are advised to do so by the online service or cannot go online.
- For the latest coronavirus advice please visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.
Finally thank you very much to all our patients and their families who have been understanding, considerate and patient during these difficult and uncertain times.