20th March 2020
17th March 2020
Guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and protecting older people and vulnerable adults https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults#summary-of-advice
16th 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:
- If you have an appointment booked in the coming weeks we will be contacting you to establish if you still need the appointment, if you do then the initial appointment will be conducted over the telephone.
- 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.
- Routine blood tests for stable conditions may be postponed in the short term.
- All appointment requests will be triaged.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- We are aiming to trial other ways of conducting consultations remotely, including video consultations. Please bear with us as this might not necessarily go smoothly in the beginning.
- The health care professional examining you may wear protective equipment, where appropriate. You may also be asked to wear a face mask (which will be provided to you). 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.
- 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.
- We may ask you to wait in your car or in a different designated waiting area to reduce the risk of transmission of infection.
- We have temporarily suspended the booking of online appointments to enable us to triage the appointment requests whilst the pandemic continues.
- 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 :
- Adhering to public health advice about hand washing, self-isolation to keep yourself and others safe.
- Only coming into the surgery if you are advised and to use telephone instead to contact us.
- Attend the surgery on your own if possible.
- 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/