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The Speedwell Practice



Important information about the coronavirus

(COVID-19)



The NHS and Public Health England (PHE) are well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.

 

 

Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also catch the virus by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.

 

Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict guidelines. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals and returned home also in isolation. Any equipment that come into contact with suspected cases are thoroughly cleaned as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others. Patients can be reassured that their safety is a top priority, and are encouraged to attend all appointments as usual.

 

 

Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

 

The latest information on symptoms of Coronovirus infection and areas where recent travel may have resulted in a high risk of exposure can be found below.

 

NHS UK

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

 

Public Health England

https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/

 

Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

 

Travel Insurance Q&A

https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/coronavirus-qa/

 

 

NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

 

Use this service if you think you might have coronavirus


 https://111.nhs.uk/service/covid-19

 

 

Use this service if you have been told to self-isolate because of coronavirus and you need a note for your employer

 

https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note 


 

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection

 

Advice:

  • if you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, do not leave your home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. (
  • this action will help protect others in your community while you are infectious
  • plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home
  • ask your employer, friends and family to help you get the things you need to stay at home
  • stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home if possible
  • sleep alone, if possible
  • wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
  • stay away from vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, as much as possible
  • you do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone.

 

Coronavirus - useful information

 

Coronavirus - home isolation advice 

 

Coronavirus - advice for people living in the same address

 

Coronavirus - healthcare worker advice 

 

Coronavirus - fit for travel GP letter

 

 

HOW CAN YOU HELP KEEP YOUR GP PRACTICE OPEN?

 

If you have a pre-booked appointment, do not attend the practice if you have:

  • a fever
  • or a new persistent cough
  • or have been in contact with someone with COVID 19

If you are told to come to the surgery for an assessment, listen carefully to instructions.  You may be asked to wait in your car until the clinician calls you in.  This is to protect you and other patients.

 

Do not attend your GP Surgery unless you have been advised to.

 

Register for Patient Access to book telephone consultations, request prescriptions and look at your test results.

 

Register for electronic prescribing (EPS) and inform your pharmacy that you wish to nominate them. You can then request prescriptions online or via your pharmacy and they are issued electronically to your chemist avoiding your need to visit the surgery.

 

Do not call the GP surgery unless you need to. Surgery phone lines are facing high demand. Please use the online 111 tools to try to self-manage first.

 

Your GP practice needs your help to ensure that they can protect patients and staff and to stay open during this difficult time.

 

Please remember that if you are unwell for other reasons you should still ask for help by telephoning the surgery.

 

 

PRACTICE UPDATE


We understand that these are unprecedented times and as frontline NHS healthcare workers we are all going above and beyond to support our patient’s, but this does mean significant changes to the way we operate.

 

Whilst we appreciate the frustration and worry that this horrible situation brings (to us all) please remember, our staff are doing their best for you and unpleasant or abusive behaviour towards them will not be tolerated.

 

Thank you to all our incredibly supportive patients that have thanked our team and recognise how hard our whole team has been working to deal with the extra workload at this time. 


All of the measures we have put in place over the past 2-3 months and going forward are following guidance from Public Heath England and are being implemented across many GP practices in the UK. It is all about keeping you safe, minimising your exposure to patient’s with COVID-19 symptoms and saving the lives of the most vulnerable people in our community. At the same time we need to keep our teams safe and well so they can keep on working to provide patient care.


As the management of this pandemic evolves, further changes are inevitable, so please bear with us; everything we do is to keep us all as safe as possible.


What if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

If you have symptoms, a temperature above 37.8c AND/OR a persistent cough, loss of smell and/or taste you need to go online to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/check-if-you-have-coronavirus-symptoms/ you will also be able to book a coronavirus test if you fit the criteria for this.

Please only call 111 if you cannot get online. Please do not call or come to the GP surgery and follow the online guidance around self-isolation. We do not receive any further or additional advice than is available here so please do not call the surgery to ask us our opinion on whether you should isolate or not or whether or how to get a coronavirus test, just follow the advice. If 111 feel that support or advice from your GP is necessary they will specifically advise you to contact us or will contact us on your behalf.


Track and Trace: 

Please see latest guidance on track and trace 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works


 Meeting people from outside your household:

Please see the latest guidance on meeting people outside of your household 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/meeting-people-from-outside-your-household


Testing: 

Please see the latest guidance on testing for all symptomatic people (or to book a test if you have symptoms you can call 119) 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested


WHAT DO THESE CHANGES MEAN FOR YOU


Face Coverings: 

When you attend the practice it is now mandatory that you wear a face covering. There has not been any specific guidance on the specification of face covering published so until there is we are happy for people to wear face coverings of their choice. If this should change we will inform you as soon as possible. Please make sure you keep this on at all times and do not take off in the surgery.  This does not apply to children under 3.

 

The compulsory wearing of face covering in shops:

The introduction of the requirement for people to wear face covering in shops is intended to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus.


General practice is under considerable pressure as a direct result of the current challenges they are faced with delivering a service to patients at the same time as coping with the consequences of this virus. 

 

There is no requirement for general practice to issue letters for patients who are unable to wear face coverings, as the Government have clearly defined the exemptions to this requirement.

 

General practice needs to focus all its time and effort managing those who need their help and not be diverted from this by unnecessary tasks.

 

For more information please visit https://www.keepsafe.org.uk/mask


Appointments:  

The safest way to request an appointment is to submit an eConsult 

https://thespeedwellpractice.webgp.com/


All appointment requests for our GP’s or Nurse Practitioner are now being managed by phone. The best way to get access to your GP for non-urgent problems is to use the online consultation form (eConsult via https://thespeedwellpractice.webgp.com/).

If your problem is more urgent and you do not have access to the internet then please phone the surgery on 020 8445 7587. If you need to speak to a Clinician you will be given a telephone consultation at some point during the day. If the Clinician decides to see you they will either convert the telephone appointment into a Video consultation or they will give you an allocated time to come to the practice.


Arriving for your appointment: 

When you arrive please arrive at the exact time and not early, please arrive by yourself unless you cannot. If you are bringing in a child please can just one adult attend with the child. Please check in with reception and wait to be called. We would rather you didn’t take a seat in the waiting room and appointment times have been adjusted to help support our Clinicians with keeping to time. If you do need to take a seat there are 4-5 chairs in the waiting room that are safely distanced from one another. Please could you ensure that you wipe the chair with the clinical wipe provided.

If after consulting with a Clinician they give you specific instructions for when you attend please follow these instructions carefully. These might be about not entering the building but waiting in your car to be collected. It is vital that if you are given specific guidance that you follow these exactly.

Please do not attend the practice for any reason unless you have an allocated appointment. Any attempt to enter the building without a prior appointment will be refused; patients will need to call the main number for all queries, appointments and advice.

 

Samples: 

If you are asked to collect a sample pot these are allocated on a desk as you enter either of the practices. The sample containers come with a sealed bag and a sample form. When you return a sample, please ensure you have added your details to the label on the container and the form is complete. It is vital that your full name and date of birth are on both the container and the form. Any samples must be returned by 11.30am. Please do not use your own containers for samples.

 

Forms/Paperwork: 

If you have any forms of any type that need collecting, please do not attend to collect, we will email these to you.

 

Sick notes: 

If you are self-isolating and you require a sick note, please do not come to the practice for this. Isolation notes are accessed via 111 online and a digital note will be sent to you electronically. 

https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/

 

Prescriptions: 

No paper prescriptions will be available to either collect or drop off at the surgery. All prescriptions will be issued electronically to your nominated pharmacy. This is going to be a busy time in the surgery and pharmacy and it may take up to 5 working days to get your prescription electronically sent and dispensed. Patients will not be able to drop their repeat prescription requests off at the surgery. We would encourage everyone to try and order their repeat prescriptions using either their online patient access account or email patients.speedwell@nhs.net


Please do not contact us unless your prescription is due to be ordered within the next 10 days, we cannot issue it any earlier. The pharmacies have just enough for everyone and you having more would leave others without.  Please do not request medication that you have not had for some time as a “just in case” precaution. If the time comes and you need the item prescribing this will be arranged for you.


Patients with Asthma and COPD: 

Please continue to manage your asthma or COPD according to your management plan. This will involve escalating your inhaler therapy if your symptoms increase.

For some patients their plan also involves the use of courses of oral steroids and/or antibiotics. Please ensure that you have sensible supplies of the medications indicated in your plan. Do not stock pile or over order. Please do not request an oral steroid and antibiotic “rescue pack” in anticipation If they are not indicated on your Asthma or COPD care plan and you have never used a rescue pack before please do not request one.

If you have symptoms suggestive of COVID (fever and/or a continuous dry cough) then isolate and stay at home. If you need further clinical support to manage your Covid symptoms then please contact 111 online on www.111.nhs.uk/covid-19.

If you still have symptoms suggestive of deteriorating Asthma or COPD despite following your escalation plan, or if you have markers of a severe exacerbation, but not COVID, please contact the practice via econsult https://thespeedwellpractice.webgp.com/ or telephone 020 8445 7587

 

Shielded Patients 

The process to identify shielded patients has been very challenging for practices nationally.  NHSE and the government have used centralised systems to work through national databases and hospital records to identify who the shielded patients should be. The practice were then advised as the last phase of this project to audit every medical record that had been identified centrally and by using our own clinical system, identify the patients who had not been included in the centralised process. We are confident we have nearly completed that process and would like to thank you for your patience whilst we worked through these complexities.

As we are all starting to get a better understanding of the virus, the Department of Health may start to un-shield patients or identify new cohorts of patients who should shield. We hope to receive further information on this as and when it is published and we will of course share this with you.

 

Next steps  

We know these are worrying times for everyone and we are extremely sorry that we have had to introduce these measures. The decisions regarding the changes to our usual operations have not been made lightly. They follow the guidance on managing the outbreak and spread of Coronavirus and they are in line with changes being made to all GP practices across the UK so that we can prioritise care to those with an urgent need and the vulnerable.

We are offering other ways of accessing the practice such as eConsult and online access. We have no idea at present how long this disruption is likely to continue for, so we ask that all of our patients are kind and respectful to our team. It is a very worrying and stressful time for them also and they are working long hours to keep providing patient care and save lives.

 

With Kind Regards

The Speedwell Practice



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