As we all know, the situation with regard to the Coronavirus (officially known as Covid-19) remains fast-moving and constantly evolving. We will try to keep you as informed as possible on these pages with the latest available advice. You can also see the latest NHS advice here.
Within BaNES a Compassionate Communities Hub has been established. If you can safely get help and support, including with deliveries, from your friends and family then please continue to do so. If not, then the Compassionate Communities Hub has a team of experts and volunteers who can assist with things like the delivery of urgent supplies, financial issues and help with mental health. For full details, including a contact number, please see here: leaflet compassionate communities.
Coming in to the surgeries
We are now asking anyone who visits the surgery, for any reason, to wear a face covering while they are in either of our buildings. This brings us into line with hospitals and other healthcare settings. The face covering need not be a surgical or clinical mask, although if you have one you are welcome to wear it. A simple scarf, homemade mask or other covering will be fine so long as it covers both the mouth and nose areas.
We have now suspended all routine appointments at both surgeries. Our GP’s will telephone patients requesting an appointment to assess whether, in the interests of both your own and our staff’s health, a face-to-face appointment is necessary. If it is deemed appropriate for the patient to come in to the surgery then the doctor will make the necessary appointment during that triage phone call. This also applies to appointments with our nurses and health care assistants.
Having said this, you will be aware from the national media that the NHS has become concerned that patients are failing to consult their GP, or hospital accident and emergency departments, for genuine non-Covid related ailments. The reasons for this are varied, but undoubtedly include a fear of encountering the virus within a GP surgery or hospital setting. We share those concerns, and ask that you please do contact us if you fall ill or suffer an injury that does not require hospital treatment. Your call will still be triaged but we will call you into the surgery if we feel that you need to be seen. While no place is guaranteed 100% safe, any patient with Covid symptoms are seen at specially designated ‘hot hubs’ and do not come to our surgeries.
Our doctors also have the ability to assess conditions via the telephone and using video consultations, so you may not need to come into the surgery at all, even if your condition genuinely requires treatment. The important thing is that you do not ignore symptoms of other conditions and seek treatment for them as soon as you can.
One example of this (but by no means the only one), again highlighted nationally, is the fact that the number of patients who may have cancer symptoms are failing to seek advice and/or treatment. If you think that you or a family member might have any of the symptoms please do contact us. You can learn more here: Cancer
Collection of medicines
From Tuesday 17th March 2020 we asked that all requests for repeat prescriptions allow at least 72 hours before they are ready for collection at the surgery. Previously this period was 48 hours but it is likely that staff shortages and other Coronavirus issues will impact on our ability to prepare medications as quickly as we would like. We thank our patients for their forbearance in this. Repeat medication may be ordered in a variety of ways, including online, for example using the MyGP app on smart phones.
Stay at home if you have Coronavirus (Covid19) symptoms
If you, or any member of your household, have
- a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly
you should stay at home for fourteen days. This means that you could find yourself having to stay at home even though you may not be ill yourself. It is likely that even more stringent social distancing recommendations will come into effect soon so do keep an eye on the latest NHS advice.
If you need to isolate in this way do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You also do not need to inform NHS111. Advice and tips for staying at home may be found here. However, you can use the NHS 111 online service if
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- you don’t get better after seven days
The following diagram may help to illustrate this guidance:
After a lengthy period when testing for Covid-19 was only undertaken for suspected cases in hospitals, you may now be aware that it has been widened to encompass any member of the public who displays symptoms of the virus. Bookings are made online and you can see full details on the government website here.
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.
You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at Further information is available on nhs.uk.