Update to Patients
The government has started to reveal their plans for the lifting of lockdown from the 19th of July. Since the start of the COVID pandemic we have had to find new ways of working in order to protect our most vulnerable patients, as well as ensuring that we have sufficient staff to continue to provide care to our patient population. We have followed guidance from NHS England by offering telephone consultations for initial assessment, bringing in patients in for a face to face assessment only where clinically necessary. We have been surprised at how many issues we have been able to effectively manage by telephone or video consultation, and some patients have preferred the convenience of this method of contact. Whilst telephone consultations have been necessary during the pandemic to reduce risk to patients and staff, it can cause difficulties for those patients with communication difficulties.
We have had lots of questions about how our service will change beyond the 19th of July. As an NHS health care setting, we will continue to ask you to wear a face mask when you enter the surgery, and our clinical staff will continue to use full PPE in order to keep you and our most vulnerable patients as safe as possible.
We will gradually allow more patients into the waiting room, and our clinicians will begin to bring more patients in for face-to-face assessments after telephone assessment.
We appreciate your patience as we continually review our working practices, and take on board the advice of both government and the medical community, whilst trying to manage the significantly increased demand on the health service that we are currently experiencing.
As family health care professionals we all value the relationships that are built with our patients through face to face contact, and hope to be able to return to this in the near future.
We have now received our first supply of flu vaccinations and have started vaccinating. We are starting to contact patients in the eligible groups.
National guidance has confirmed we can give flu vaccines at the same time as Covid booster jabs so we will be running a mixture of Covid booster and flu combined clinics as well as separate Covid booster and flu clinics. You are required to wait in the surgery for 15 minutes after a Covid booster vaccination.
Flu and COVID-19 viruses have the potential to increase pressures faced by the NHS this winter, particularly if infection waves from both viruses coincide. It’s therefore important that you get vaccinated if you are eligible – this includes older people, pregnant women, and those with certain underlying health conditions.
As a temporary measure this year flu vaccinations will be extended to include those from years 7 to year 11 in secondary school and all those aged 50 and over. More information to follow.
A supplier to the NHS has advised us of a global shortage of some equipment used for taking blood tests.
Anyone who needs a blood test for urgent health problems, will still get one but where your clinician recommends that it’s safe to do so, then you may be asked to come back for a test at a later date, or your appointment may be rescheduled.
Supplies are returning to normal but given the nature of the shortage, we cannot give an exact date for when the test will be rescheduled, but please be assured that if your condition or symptoms require it, then you will get a test, and we will be re-booking your test when supplies become more easily available.
If your condition or symptoms change or get worse, please contact the NHS as you would normally