Unfortunately due to the current Coronavirus Pandemic, whilst the surgery is continuing to deliver services to our patients, we have had to implement some changes to help keep our patients and staff safe during these uncertain times.
All GP appointments are currently 'book on the day' with consultations initially being triaged by either telephone or video (using a smartphone) in the first instance, at which time the GP will decide if a face to face appointment is required.
We are now starting to re-introduce a majority of routine nursing services including Smears, Travel Services, Annual Health Reviews and now Ear Syringing. We have continued to offer essential nursing services such as Depo and B12 injections, cancer services and all childhood immunisations.
Our main entrance door is to remain shut so that we can manage the footfall in the surgery. Any patients coming in to the surgery will be asked to wear a face covering i.e. mask or scarf. Upon arrival to the surgery, please use the intercom to gain assistance from a member of our team. Please be aware that you may have to wait whilst the staff are dealing with other queries so please refrain from continually using the intercom - someone will be with you as soon as they can. If you do have an appointment with a member of our Nursing Team or the GP, you will be asked to attend with a face covering and when you arrive, a member of our Reception Team will check your temperature. If your temperature is 37.8 or above, you will be asked to go back home and the clinician will contact you by phone for alternative arrangements to be made.
Medication requests are encouraged to be done either by email or by using Patient Online Services, however we are still accepting written requests put through the letterbox. We would also ask that patients nominate a pharmacy for their prescriptions to be sent electronically when they put in their request. If no nomination is provided, prescriptions will be sent to the closest pharmacy to your home address.
Phone lines have not changed so patients who need medical assistance should contact the surgery as normal. We apologise for the delay in getting through on the phone at this current time - this is made particularly worse when our Doctors/Nurses are using the lines to carry out telephone consultations. We will continue to provide home visits where necessary.
We may experience staff absences due to either having the virus and having to self-isolate or having to stay home due to a household member displaying symptoms. We continue to monitor our staffing levels and resources on a daily basis and will make the necessary adjustments where required.
During these unprecedented times, the GP Partners and surgery team would also like to remind patients that:-
We cannot provide early or extra 'just in case' prescriptions, this will only cause shortages of medicines and inhalers, and pharmacies will be like the supermarkets
We cannot give prescriptions for Paracetamol if you do not normally receive it on prescription, even if you cannot find it in the shops, someone somewhere will have some.
We won't give out inhalers on a 'just in case basis', especially if you haven't had an inhaler for years. This again will lead to shortages for those who really need inhaled medication. If you feel you are symptomatic, please request a telephone consultation.
If your appointment is postponed or moved to a telephone consultation, please do not abuse us, these are national guidelines in place to protect you and to protect us. We are still triaging, talking to, assessing and seeing patients face to face if needed. If you need us, we will see you. We are also wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) i.e. masks, aprons & gloves, don't be alarmed, it is a precaution only.
Please do not ask for a 'Rescue Pack' if you have Asthma or COPD unless you already have this service. There has been fake and false information about rescue packs circulating on social media. These are not an entitlement for all, they are part of a very specific plan of care for patients who have unstable conditions. If you are symptomatic, let us know.
Patients seeking sick notes for their employers (Med3 certificates) can now generate these themselves by clicking on to the following website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice Then click on "Get Isolation Note" - which is half way down the page highlighted in green. This will take you to the NHS 111 page where patients will be asked to answer a few questions. On completion a reference number will be emailed to you which is the sick note.
Please do not ask us for occupational guidance, we cannot make those decisions or give you advice, this will be between you and your employer. All you need to know is on the .Gov website, you have the same access to this guidance as we do.
Please do not expect a Pneumococcal vaccination unless you fit the recommended criteria to receive one. Pneumococcal vaccination is in short supply, it is for certain groups of patients only who are classed as vulnerable and it is not a protection for COVID-19.
Please keep up to date with your children's vaccinations, we cannot risk any other outbreaks of childhood diseases on top of everything else. Please do not bring other children along to vaccination appointments and only one adult who is able to consent (Mum-Dad) to accompany the child to surgery.
If you have symptoms associated with Coronavirus including a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you are not to come to the surgery but are advised to stay at home for 10 days. If you live with other people, they should also stay at home for at least 14 days to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.
If your symptoms are serious, or get worse, NHS 111 has a online Coronavirus Service that can tell you if you need further medical help and advise you what to do.
Only call 111 direct if you are advised to do so by the online service or cannot go online.
For the latest Coronavirus advice, please visit https://www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
Caring for our patients at Highest Risk from COVID-19
Most people that are within the highest clinical risk group have already received a letter through the post. However we are aware that central records do not capture everybody in this group. The process for identifying additional people who meet the criteria but have not been identified through the initial central process is continuing. People identified through this process will receive a letter shortly. This list is also being reviewed by the GP's and hospital clinicians. The the meantime please continue to following social distancing guidance. Whilst the advice is to contact your GP surgery if you have not heard, we would ask that you refrain from doing this at this stage to allow time for us to flag self-identified patients on to our GP system so that they can then be identified on the central database.
Information on patients 'at increased risk' and 'at highest risk' can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/advice-for-people-at-high-risk/
All patients who have either received a letter or feel that they are in the highest clinical risk group to receive a letter, should register with the government's website at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable . This will help you to access support with activities such as obtaining food packages or medications. Even if you do not need any support with daily tasks, please do register with this website to let the government know. Whilst the advice is to contact your GP surgery if you have not heard, we would ask that you refrain from doing this at this stage to allow time for us to flag self-identified patients on to our GP system so that in turn they can then be identified on the central database.
Please note that patients are being added to the central data base all the time and there may be a slight delay between you being added to that data base and being recognised by the website/support phone line as someone who is eligible for support.
NHS Volunteer Responders
You may have heard of the thousands of people who have volunteered to help the NHS during this current pandemic crisis. The NHS Volunteer Responders have been mobilised to help support vulnerable individuals who are self-isolating (shielding).
NHS Volunteer Responders can help with tasks such as delivering shopping and medicines from pharmacies, driving patients to appointments; bringing them home from hospital; and regular phone calls to check that individuals are ok.
Priority will be given to those identified as most at risk from COVID-19 and asked to self-isolate at home for an extended period, and to those whose Health Practitioners and Local Authorities consider to be vulnerable.
If you are in need of this support, please contact the surgery and we can do a referral for you.
Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group have developed a series of Community Bulletins which is full of useful information, the latest edition is accessible via the link below:-
Finally thank you so very much to all our wonderful patients and their families who have been incredible during this time of uncertainty. STAY ALERT - CONTROL THE VIRUS - SAVE LIVES