Following previous updates, and the most recent UK government advice this afternoon, we will now be escalating our plans to help mitigate the risks of Coronavirus to both our patients and staff.
Our waiting rooms are high risk places to pick up infection, and so in the current climate we want to minimise risks for everybody by utilising phonecalls and e-consult in order to reduce the number of people who need to come to our surgeries, thereby hopefully protecting us all.
For advice directly related to coronavirus, please ring 111, and be aware they are very busy so it may take some time for them to answer. There is also an online 111 service you can use for advice - https://111.nhs.uk/service/COVID-19/
For other patients who are acutely unwell and feel they will need emergency assessment, you will need to either complete an e-consult via our website, or ring the surgery where we will arrange for a GP/nurse to call you for triage of your problem. Please do not attend the surgery without being invited, as government advice has now changed to state that those with any flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat) should self-isolate for at least 7 days or until further advice.
From tomorrow, all routine (pre-booked) appointments (with GPs or nurses) will automatically be converted to telephone reviews, and if we feel a face to face review is then essential we will then invite you down to surgery, but anticipate for most patients telephone review will suffice at this time. The only exception will be blood tests which will be done as booked for tomorrow (Friday 13th), but we will review this into next week, and assess which bloods are required into the future. You will likely be called before the time you were originally booked in, though we cannot guarantee this.
PLEASE DO NOT TURN UP TO SURGERY FOR ANY PRE-BOOKED APPOINTMENTS AS YOU MAY NOT BE SEEN. PLEASE AWAIT A TELEPHONE TRIAGE REVIEW. PLEASE RING / EMAIL IF YOU THINK YOU MAY NEED TO UPDATE YOUR PHONE NUMBER.
Coming off the back of our recent flooding, we are already limited in capacity, but hope that the right measures will allow us to offer sufficient and necessary service to patients going forward. There will be no pre-bookable appointments available until further notice, unless made by a GP or nurse; appointments will only be given via telephone triage or e-consult. This is to ensure that patients are seen appropriately after clinical assessment, and when it is truly needed, thereby minimising unnecessary risks to both patients and staff.
We would encourage everyone who feels they need clinical advice or review, to use our e-consult service as we can nearly always respond on the same day, and can then offer appointments when necessary. However in most cases, we can deal with your issue without you needing to come down to surgery; many upper respiratory tract infections (coughs, colds etc) can be managed at home with self-medication available from your chemist. E-consult can be found easily as a pop-up banner on our website homepage.
We intend any changes we make to be proportionate and in line with other local practices. We will continue to monitor developments daily over the coming weeks and shall endeavour to keep you posted. However, we all need to be mindful this is becoming a serious public health concern with significant disruption in all walks of life; but we believe the health of our patients and staff to be our first priority, so hope you can bear with us as we do our best in this difficult situation.