Bourn Coronavirus Update 06/06/2020 PHASE 2 RESPONSE

UPDATE 6/6/20 – previous updates remain available below

INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS ABOUT ACCESSING PRIMARY CARE IN PHASE 2 OF COVID RESPONSE

The practice team would like to thank our patients for your help and understanding over the last 10 weeks as we adjusted to a completely new way of working due to Covid 19. We are now moving into “phase 2” where we need to maintain precautions to prevent spread of Covid 19 to our patients and staff, but also to provide support with your non coronavirus health concerns.

Thank you also to the amazing volunteers helping so many of our most vulnerable patients.

Please stay safe, follow the advice and remember we are here for your health needs.

NATIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT CORONAVIRUS

We are regularly contacted by patients asking for advice about the government approach to Covid-19. We often have only the same information as the government releases at press briefings.

We would recommend you visit the government website for the most up to date advice: here

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

TRACK AND TRACE

If you get symptoms of Coronavirus please use the  NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do and to get a test.

Anyone you live with must self-isolate until you’ve been tested and received your result.

There is advice here https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/nhs-test-and-trace-if-youve-been-in-contact-with-a-person-who-has-coronavirus/ for if you are contacted by the NHS track and trace service if you have been in contact with someone with coronavirus.

You should self isolate for 14 days, you should not leave your home for any reason.

ANTIBODY TESTING

Despite national announcements that this is available, unfortunately it is not yet available in Cambridgeshire.

We await further information about who will be eligible for testing in due course.

When the system is operational it may be possible to test patients IF they need a blood test for another reason, but we will not be arranging blood tests solely to check antibody status.

It is important to note that Coronaviruses in general do not always generate an antibody response (think about the common cold) and we do not yet have any scientific evidence to say if antibodies provide any protection against catching Covid again or being able to spread the virus.  Therefore regardless of antibody status everybody will need to continue to follow national advice around social distancing.

FACE COVERINGS

If you are advised to attend the surgery, or any other healthcare setting, please ensure you wear your own mask or face covering.

We are trying to preserve PPE for those most at risk.

 EMERGENCIES

Attendances to A&E nationally have fallen by 65%. Please do make sure that you call 111, 999 or attend A&E if you develop any serious symptoms such as:

  • Central chest pain (or worsening pain on exercise)
  • Weakness on one side of the face or body suggesting a stroke: think FAST (face, arms, speech, time)
  • Asthma symptoms not relieved by your inhalers
  • Sudden onset shortness of breath with chest pain

URGENT HEALTH PROBLEMS

Please contact the surgery by telephone, the receptionist will ask if your health concern is urgent. Our doctors and nurses are able to offer same day appointments, these will initially by telephone or video and then if necessary they will arrange a face to face appointment and advise you how we will ensure safety.

Whilst the surgery is closed 111 is still available for urgent health concerns.

ROUTINE HEALTH PROBLEMS

We want all patients to be clear on how best to access primary care:

We will need to continue to make the first point of contact with the practice remotely by telephone or video rather than an immediate face to face appointment. This allows us to provide help and advice where possible without need to attend the surgery in person, or to arrange the safest way to provide face to face care if it is needed.

If you feel you need advice from a GP, you have several options:

  1. Self-care if possible: We advise everyone to check their symptoms on the NHS website or through the NHS App to see if they can manage the symptoms themselves.
  2. DrLink – provides a remote (online) consultation tool – see details on our website.
  3. Telephone – every patient will be contacted initially by a Bourn Surgery clinician by telephone prior to any face to face appointment being booked. Evidence suggests as much as 60% of issues can be dealt with without need for physical examination at the practice.
  4. Video consultation – we have a secure platform to offer video consultation with clinicians at the practice. You may prefer this to a telephone consultation. Please do indicate to reception if you would like a video consultation, you will be sent a weblink by SMS to open up a video consultation with the clinician.
  5. Photo review – we are happy to receive photos of any skin problems you would like advice on. These can be sent direct from your smart phone, please contact reception who will send you a link. Alternatively they can be emailed. Please see our page with advice on how to take good medical photographs.
  6. Email – particularly useful for administrative enquiries such as extensions to existing sickness certificates, medicals required or shotgun licence paperwork. You can use the messaging facility built into SystemOnline or you can email us at bourn.surgery@nhs.net. Please do not use these methods for any urgent medical problems.

ONLINE APPOINTMENT BOOKING

We are pleased to announce we have now turned this service back on, although at present these are for telephone or video consultations only. It is really helpful if you complete the box with brief details of the reason for the appointment and indicate if you would prefer a video consult rather than a telephone.

Please be aware that we cannot guarantee you will be called at the exact appointment time, though we will try and call as close to that time as possible. Please have you phone with you and ideally be in a quiet private location appropriate for discussing your health.

It is our policy to try contacting you twice. If we are unsuccessful we will leave a answerphone message or send an SMS asking you to rebook.

CANCER REFERRALS

Nationally there has been a worrying decrease in patients presenting to GP surgeries and being referred on for worrying symptoms.

All out urgent 2 week wait referral pathways remain open and therefore we wish to encourage any patient with a concerning symptom to contact the surgery.

There is some useful information from cancer research UK here https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-symptoms

VACCINATIONS

We would also like to encourage people to continue to book appointments for essential vaccinations such as pneumonia, and childhood immunisations.

SMEAR TESTS

The recall of patients for routine smear tests was temporarily halted at the peak of the pandemic. We are pleased that these services are now reopening. Please contact reception if you have received a smear recall or are overdue your routine smear test and we will arrange an appointment for you.

These appointments may be offered at our extended access hub in Comberton.

LONG TERM HEALTH CONDITIONS

We are starting to plan how best to look after long term health conditions over the next few months. We will proactively contact patients with the highest health need. Some patients with recent good control over these conditions might be advised they can have a longer interval until their next routine review.  We are adding information all the time, under the separate section of our website titled long term conditions.

If you have any concerns about your long term health conditions please do contact the practice.

DIABETES PREVENTION

The National Diabetes Prevention Programme has redesigned its service and is now able to offer remote appointments by telephone to deliver this health advice.

If you had an raised sugar level in the last 2 years (HbA1c 44-47) you are able to self refer. We are proactively contacting eligible patients by text message. Please do contact our nurses if you would like to discuss further.

DISPENSARY and PRESCRIPTIONS

Our dispensary has been under immense pressure, dealing with many more medication requests than usual. We therefore continue to need to ask people to allow 4 WORKING DAYS for repeat medications from ordering to collecting. Please avoid calling the dispensary to ask if your medications are ready early. You may receive a text message advising you where the medication is ready sooner.

We remain open at the usual times for prescription collections. We ask people to follow the signs and staff, so that we can maintain social distancing between patients at all times. We are only able to accommodate one person at a time in the waiting area outside dispensary. We ask others to wait 2 metres apart outside or in their vehicles.

Where possible please use card payment rather than cash.

Patients who make Payment for medication should ideally set up a pre payment via https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/help-with-health-costs/save-money-with-a-prescription-prepayment-certificate-ppc/.

We would like to encourage all patients to request repeats electronically. The simplest way to do so is using the NHS App. Alternatively you can contact reception to enable online access. We are still able to accept paper repeats or you can email our dispensary at bourndispensary@nhs.net but please include your name, date of birth and medication required.

SHIELDED PATIENTS

The NHS has written to patients at the highest risk of Coronavirus, advising they follow strict advise to shield themselves. This advice remains in place until the 30th June.

We have updated information about the volunteer support groups in our villages on the website.

If you do not have contacts who can help support you then please go to www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable or call 0800 0288327, the Government’s dedicated helpline.

Where possible we are encouraging use of our village delivery boxes for medications. You must either be eligible for free prescriptions or have a prepayment certificate in order to use the village drug delivery boxes.

DENTAL CARE

All routine dental care was stopped due to the pandemic. We are advised that dentists should begin to reopen from the 8th June.

Please contact your dentist for all dental problems, our team are unable to help. If your dentist is still closed you can contact NHS 111 in an emergency.