LATEST INFORMATION AND ADVICE ON CORONAVIRUS

Visit the following website if you have coronavirus symptoms:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

If you have to stay at home because of coronavirus and you need a note for your employer, please visit the following link:

https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note 

Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Find out what you can do if you’re struggling because of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Use this service to find out what help you can get if you’re affected by coronavirus. You can use it for yourself or someone else. https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support 

Information for parents

At this challenging time, it is extremely important for you to know that COVID-19 is unlikely to make your child unwell, but they, like everyone else, might be infectious so staying at home when well remains the message.

However, all the ‘normal’ illnesses that can make children severely unwell still remain and there is a major risk that parents may delay bringing their child to the attention of a healthcare professional even if they are unwell, because of concerns about COVID-19.

GPs and hospitals are still providing the same safe care that they have always done for children. If you are unsure if your child is unwell and whether they need to be seen, go to https://www.what0-18.nhs.uk/national, call 111 or contact your GP.

For information about crying babies, please visit http://iconcope.org/parentsadvice/. If your child appears severely unwell, and advice is not quickly available, call 999 or take them to Accident & Emergency as you would in other times.

Covid-19 symptom self-management

The NHS UK website now hosts links to COVID-19 symptom self-management information, providing expert information and advice on how Covid-19 impacts specific palliative or long-term conditions and how they should be managed during the pandemic. 

Coronavirus: the science explained

Please follow this link for further information https://coronavirusexplained.ukri.org/en/

Coronavirus – Practice Update – March 2020

Following on from the recent news about the COVID19 pandemic and taking into account the government’s response we feel it is imperative as a practice to be able to modify the way we work to be able to safely and effectively deal with the situation at hand by focusing on our duty of care to protect our most vulnerable patients from the impact of the current pandemic.

You may find yourself affected in the following way:

  1. If you have a stable long term condition you may be asked to postpone your routine review appointments until such a time when this is feasible. If you feel your condition is unstable and you are unable to wait, please be reassured that you will still be seen.
  2. All appointment requests will be triaged.
  3. The waiting times on the telephone may be longer than normal. We hope you will appreciate the reasons for this and please be reassured that your call will be answered.
  4. Face to face appointments are likely to be reserved for those who are deemed to require a physical examination. All other appointments will be conducted by telephone or other remote means.
  5. Appointments with your own GP might not be always possible and you may find that you may have to speak to other clinicians as dictated by availability.
  6. The health care professional examining you may wear protective equipment, where appropriate. You may also be asked to wear a face mask. Please do not be alarmed by this as this is to ensure safety of staff so that they can continue to look after you. You may also notice that a barrier has been put up at the reception desk to increase the social distancing and reduce risks of viral transmission so that the reception staff can continue to help you.
  7. We will try to send as much information as we can electronically or post it to you so as to obviate the need for you to come into the surgery.
  8. We may ask you to wait in your car or in a different designated waiting area to reduce the risk of transmission of infection.
  9. We have temporarily suspended the booking of online appointments to enable us to triage the appointment requests whilst the pandemic continues.
  10. Our secretarial team will be working on urgent clinical work and therefore there may be a delay on non-clinical items such as insurance reports

Please be aware that the idea behind reducing the routine appointments is to enable us to focus on dealing with the care needs of the most vulnerable patients, who will need more support during this time and also possibly allow us to release staff to other practices or hospital settings should a situation of overwhelm arise in the future necessitating radical changes to the healthcare system.

Please be reassured that these are temporary measures to be able to safely and effectively deal with the situation at hand. We are hopeful that normal general practice will resume as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.

Please help us protect the most vulnerable patients and relieve burden on the NHS by :

  1. Adhering to public health advice about hand washing, self-isolation to keep yourself and others safe.
  2. Only coming into the surgery if you are advised and to use telephone instead to contact us.
  3. Attend the surgery on your own if possible.
  4. Alert us to vulnerable individuals that we might not be aware of, especially if they are self-isolating.

Please note that it is an offence under the Heath Protection [Coronavirus] Regulations 2020 to deliberately lie about symptoms and also to refuse to cooperate with isolation.

You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at Further information is available on https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Rescue Packs – info for patients

We’ve been made aware of some posts on social media saying that if you have a respiratory/lung disease your GP will issue a rescue pack of steroids and antibiotics. This is recommended for some people with COPD to be used as part of a personalised plan and is not part of the treatment plan for infection with coronavirus.

However, for people with Asthma we do NOT recommend these as standard. If someone’s asthma is bad enough to consider steroids it is essential they’re assessed by a healthcare professional. Even at this busy time, getting early support for any problems with your lungs is critical.

We would also like to remind patients that we are continuing to provide 28 days of repeat medication to ensure that there is enough for everyone.

Guidance for Asthmatics during COVID 19 outbreak can be found on the Asthma UK website https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/triggers/coronavirus-covid-19/

Anti-inflammatory medications 

There has been concern about the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) in relation to Covid-19 following a statement by the French Health Minister (a clinician) advising against the use of ibuprofen. 

This statement was based on provisional information reported from French care settings which UK authorities have not seen and is, to date, unpublished. There is no current literature on the impact of NSAIDs use in Covid-19.

There appears to be no evidence that NSAIDs increase the chance of acquiring Covid-19. In view of the current lack of clarity the Committee of Human Medicines (an advisory body of MHRA) and NICE have been asked to review the evidence. It is therefore suggested that, in the interim, for patients, who have confirmed Covid-19 or believe they have Covid-19, that they use paracetamol in preference to NSAIDs. 

Those currently on NSAIDs for other medical reasons (e.g. arthritis) should not stop them.

Treatment of patients with ACEi or ARB – statement from the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) and the British Society for Heart Failure (BSH) in relation to COVID-19

Last updated: 16.03.2020

Examples of these medications below:

– ACEi (Angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors) e.g. ramipril, enalapril, perindopril, lisinopril, quinapril, fosinopril, trandolapril

– ARBs (Angiotensin 2 Receptor Blockers) e.g. candesartan, irbesartan, losartan, valsartan, telmisartan, olmesartan, eprosartan

There has been a lot of discussion in the press and on social media about the possibility that treatment with ACEi or ARB could predispose individuals to adverse outcomes should they become infected with COVID-19.

The view of the BCS and the BSH is that there is no evidence to support this assertion and we share the view of the European Society of Hypertension and the Renal Association that patients should continue treatment with ACEi and ARB unless specifically advised to stop by their medical team.

Patients taking these drugs and presenting unwell with suspected or known COVID-19 infection should be assessed on an individual basis and their medication managed according to established guidance