We wanted to update you as to changes to the usual practice processes which we have had to put into operation since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Please understand that this is an unprecedented situation for the NHS and the situation is continuously evolving.
The entire primary health care team at Brook Lane Surgery are committed to continuing to provide good care for our patients, but must now also take into consideration the risk of transmission of Covid-19 to ourselves, our staff and our patients.
With this in mind, under guidance from NHS England, we have changed the way in which we provide care. All consultations with GPs will be done remotely, via telephone, video or online consultation. If the GP finds that a face to face consultation is necessary, this will be arranged at the surgery.
If you are concerned that you have coronavirus, please use NHS 111 online https://111.nhs.uk/ to check your symptoms. Please only call 111 if you cannot get online or your symptoms are worsening. Any patient with a fever (temperature more than 37.8) or a new continuous cough should be using this system.
Please DO NOT COME TO THE SURGERY if you think you have coronavirus.
Please do not request general advice about coronavirus from the surgery. All the government advice is available to you at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
- Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection
- Guidance on social distancing and for vulnerable people
- Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable
Please note the difference between social distancing and shielding: social distancing is what we should ALL be doing to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus. Those who are over the age of 70 and those who are under the age of 70 and have a chronic health problem (eg. asthma, COPD, diabetes, chronic heart disease, and chronic kidney disease) need to take particular note of the social distancing advice.
Please note that it is a minority of our patients who are on the high risk list and require shielding. Those patients who are high risk will have received a letter in the next few days. In general this includes patients on some immunosuppressant medications and some types of cancer.
In addition, please note that YOU DO NOT NEED A GP TO DO A SICK NOTE FOR SELF ISOLATION this can be obtained from https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/
We have suspended all of our extended access (early morning and late evening) appointments as well as the booking of routine appointments for the time being. This is because we usually allow the booking of appointments up to 2 weeks ahead. It is anticipated that the demands on our time due to Covid-19 related illnesses will increase rapidly over the coming weeks. In addition, we are already lacking some clinicians due to a requirement for self-isolation, and this is likely to continue for the foreseeable future and is unpredictable. We will aim to honour routine appointments which are already booked, but this will now be by telephone consultation, and may not be at the precise time of the appointment or with the same Doctor. If you no longer need your appointment, please let us know so that it can be cancelled.
We shall not be offering any pre-booking routine appointments at present. Please think if you are able to self-manage your condition and consider looking at https://www.nhs.uk/ or https://patient.info/ for further guidance. You may also consider taking advice from a pharmacist if your problem is medication related.
If you are concerned that your symptoms are serious, please use the NHS cancer symptom checker https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/symptoms/ and if this suggests you need to see a GP please use our triage system.
We will be offering a telephone triage for urgent medical problems. This service is NOT for patients who are concerned that they might have coronavirus (see below). Examples of urgent problems are: cystitis (urinary tract infections), skin infections, new abdominal pains, unwell babies or children. The receptionist will ask you to give a brief description of the problem- this is so the duty doctor can prioritise calls that may be more urgent, so we would be grateful for your understanding as to why this information is important. The receptionist will take your telephone number and you will be called by the duty doctor. Please ensure you are available to take the call.
Please carefully consider if it is essential that you speak to a doctor, or whether you can self-manage your problem. Muscle strains and simple back pains in particular can usually be self-managed. You can also attend a pharmacy for advice regarding minor illness. If in doubt please use the NHS and patient.info websites as above. You may also wish to consider our online consultation system via our website. Please choose the ‘I want general advice’ option and it will guide you as to whether or not you need to speak to a GP.
Please note WE DO NOT HAVE A WALK IN SYSTEM so do not attend the surgery with an urgent medical problem.
We aim to continue offering face to face nurse appointments for essential reasons such as:
- Suture removal
- Cancer Injections
- Baby immunisations
In addition, we will aim to continue smear test and pill checks. However, we would be grateful for your understanding that these may need to be cancelled and rescheduled if we suffer a reduced nursing capacity due to illness or self-isolation. If you are due a pill check and will run out of supplies before your appointment can be rescheduled, please speak to one of our receptionists and we will ensure you have a supply.
At the present time we will be unable to offer NHS Health checks or travel advice clinics. Travel advice is available through private travel clinics. Smoking cessation support is available on the NHS through Smoke Free Hampshire at https://www.smokefreehampshire.co.uk/
BLOOD PRESSURE CHECKS
If you are concerned about your blood pressure, we would like you to consider purchasing your own blood pressure monitor. Examples of blood pressure monitors approved for this process can be found at https://bihsoc.org/bp-monitors/for-home-use/. They range in price from £25 to £50. Please follow the instructions on this link which provides a blood pressure diary to complete https://bihsoc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Home_blood_pressure_diary.pdf. Your readings can then be submitted to the surgery via post or email. Your GP or nurse can then view your readings and contact you if any medication adjustment is required. For most patients on blood pressure medication who are well controlled an annual review is adequate. Your doctor may ask for this more frequently in certain medication conditions.
We will only be doing urgent blood tests where this has been requested by one of our clinicians or if you are on blood test monitoring for certain medication (for example warfarin or methotrexate). This is because we will have to reduce the availability of appointments to try and enable social distancing in the blood test waiting area.
We will aim to continue to process your prescription request at the surgery within 3 working days. Following advice from NHS England, we are no longer accepting paper repeat prescriptions via the surgery and would encourage our patients to put their repeat prescription request in remotely using online access or the NHS app, or via our prescription phone line 01489 574063 between 10;30 and 15;30. In addition, we will be asking patients to nominate a pharmacy so that the prescription can be sent electronically, if you do not nominate a pharmacy yourself the surgery will nominate the Everetts pharmacy at Locks Heath centre. This system is more efficient and reduces the need for patients to enter the surgery. Once the prescription has been sent to the pharmacy, the actual processing of the prescription is beyond our control.
Please do not ring the surgery with issues relating to prescription processing by pharmacies.
In addition, please do not request your medication sooner than it is needed. Early ordering will not be processed by the surgery according to NHS England advice. This is to ensure that pharmacy supplies are maintained and all patients can get their regular medication when needed.
CONTRACEPTION & SEXUAL HEALTH SERVICES
As mentioned, we will continue to offer depo contraception injections and pill checks as long as we have reasonable nurse capacity.
We are not able to provide sexual health swabs, contraceptive implant and coil (IUS &IUD) services at present. If you require these services please look at https://www.letstalkaboutit.nhs.uk/ for information regarding local contraception and sexual health clinics.
We will do our best to ensure our housebound patients continue to receive the care they need at home. This may be remotely via telephone or video consultation. If a physical assessment is required we will make a careful assessment of any risks to patient or doctor and carry out a home visit.
We thank you for your understanding and careful use of our resources during this unsettling time.
Brook Lane Surgery