Following on from todays statement from the government, there is a need to shift the balance of our availability during the Covid-19 pandemic away from routine and non-urgent work. We will be prioritising dealing with more urgent health problems. Staffing levels are likely to be significantly compromised by self-isolation requirements and many of you are going to be self-isolating also.
We also need to ensure that we offer as much help and support as we can over the telephone for those being asked to self-isolate for the longer period of 14 days, or patients who need to take part in further, longer term social distancing measures, such as where they may have long term health conditions or are over the age of 70.
We will, over the next few days, be contacting many of you with existing booked appointments, to see what we can deal with over the telephone, or to defer more routine monitoring appointments for a little while.
All patients requesting appointments from tomorrow onwards will instead be first offered a GP triage appointment to assess what we can safely deal with over the phone, and what we need to see face to face.
In line with NHS and Public Health advice, we will be endeavouring to keep our elderly, pregnant or immunocompromised patients safe. To do this, we must ensure all work related to the Covid-19 pandemic is dealt with at a separate site or at a separate time to reduce the risks of virus transmission to this vulnerable group.
HOW TO ACCESS GP SERVICES DURING THE PANDEMIC:
1) If you have a recent onset continuous cough, shortness of breath, flu-like symptoms or a fever over 37.8 please STAY AT HOME, and do not contact the GP surgery.
If you feel well, you and your family must SELF-ISOLATE for 14 days. If you feel you need medical advice, please use NHS 111 online (see pinned post above) in the first instance.
If you remain concerned, please contact NHS 111. Be patient: the service is tackling unprecedented demand.
If you are seriously unwell and feel you need an ambulance, please call 999.
2) If you have any other health complaint and need on the day assessment, please call the surgery by TELEPHONE between 8.30-10am for morning open surgery. A GP will call you back.
3) If you need an appointment at any other time, please call and we will offer the next available GP triage appointment. Afternoon and evening appointments will still be offered but we will also be using telephone triage for these.
4) Home visits need requesting BEFORE 10 am to allow us to triage these. We will be reserving these for those who have serious long term or palliative conditions who cannot be safely cared for using telephone or video consultations.
5) We are discussing with community groups about whether it may be possible to arrange a delivery service for those who are self isolating and are unable to collect essential medicines from the surgery. IF YOU FEEL ABLE TO HELP WITH THIS, PLEASE SEND US A MESSAGE THROUGH THE BUTTON AT THE TOP OF THIS PAGE.
6) We are significantly reducing our non-essential and routine nursing contacts too. Please cancel any appointments you think are non-essential or are unable to make due to the lockdown measures - these may be vitally useful to someone else in the coming weeks.
7) Please use online repeat prescription ordering where at all possible to reduce the burden on phone lines. A log in for this may be requested from us. Prescriptions may be collected as usual.
8) We are working hard to introduce text messaging for results of blood tests and other information. It is likely we will have the facility for video consulting soon.
Please do not be alarmed if we are wearing masks or other infection reducing clothing such as surgical scrubs and aprons as local rates of the virus increase: this is to keep both you and us safe.
Finally: thank you so much for your continued patience and understanding as we try to ensure the safety and continuity of the service in the challenging days and weeks ahead.
Drs Akester, Roberts, Gardner, Wright & Freer