Practice Services During the Covid Pandemic
We are aware that some patients are concerned because we are not offering direct access bookings for face-to-face appointments with our GPs and Nurses.
We have continued to see patients face to face where appropriate throughout the pandemic. We are looking forward to the time when we can reintroduce directly bookable face to face GP appointments but at the current time we are continuing to comply with national guidance, which says “Practices should continue to triage patients remotely in advance wherever possible. In line with continuing use of triage, direct online booking of appointments by patients should only be available where practices explicitly feel this is appropriate, eg planned care such as flu clinics. Clinicians should determine the most appropriate consultation modality (that is, telephone, video, face to face) with the patient, taking into consideration the patient’s needs, clinical circumstances and local risks of COVID-19.”
If you wish to read more please see https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/C1175-covid-19-primary-care-gp-practice-sop-v4.2-april-21.pdf
Despite the great success of the vaccination programme, a third wave of Covid infection is predicted. As patients seek our help precisely when they are unwell, please remember that our services are not the same as shops, gyms and hairdressers for example.
Covid-19 AstraZeneca vaccination changes
Regarding the recent news surrounding the changes around the Astra Zeneca vaccination we would just like to clarify some information. The MHRA and JCVI have announced that in some rare cases patients who have received their first dose consequently had a rare and unlikely to occur thrombosis (blood clots) and thrombocytopenia (low platelet count). This number is very low, four in one million and since the start of the rollout of the vaccination programme over 30 million people have already received their first dose. However, after considering the risks and benefits of the vaccination compared to the consequences of having Covid-19, the MHRA and JCVI has concluded that the benefits of the vaccine for those over 30 years old is far greater than if they contract Covid-19. For those aged 18 to 30 years who usually have the lowest consequence of infection from Covid-19 compared to older age groups, the risk versus benefits of the vaccination is slightly different for this age group, particularly now that Covid-19 is at moderate and not high levels in this Country. Therefore the MHRA and JVCI have changed the guidance slightly for this age group.
Second Doses: Those in this age group who have already received their first dose of Astra Zeneca Vaccine should go ahead and have the second dose as planned and attend the vaccination centre when called. There are no concerns about having the second dose for those who did not develop blood clots after the first dose.
First Dose: For patients in this age group who have an underlying health condition that puts them at a higher risk from consequences of Covid-19 infection can still have Astra Zeneca vaccination for first dose, following a discussion about the risk and benefits of the vaccination. This can take place at the time of your appointment with our lead clinician on site or beforehand with a telephone consultation with our clinical pharmacist, David Horkan. This can be arranged for you, via the appointment call centre (01608 692 115).
For patients in this age group with no underlying health conditions such as health and social care workers, unpaid carers and those who live in the household of immunocompromised patients, the plan is to offer an alternative vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna. The Moderna vaccine will only be available through Mass Vaccination Centres and you may have to wait a little while for this to be available. There may be the option of Pfizer available for a short period, through the local vaccination centre at North Cotswold Hospital. If however, you wish to have the Astra Zeneca vaccine, you can have a risk and benefits discussion with our clinical pharmacist and if you decide to go ahead, this can be provided at our local vaccination centre at North Cotswold Hospital.
Leaflets will be distributed to practices which will also be readily available at our vaccination centre. Our call centre is still open from Monday to Friday for patients to make enquiries regarding appointments, the number for the centre is 01608 692 115.
All patients in cohorts 1-9 who are due their second Astra Zeneca vaccination should continue to receive this as research shows that those who do have a serious adverse reaction only have this after their first vaccination. When attending second dose appointments patients will have plenty of opportunity to discuss any questions they may have regarding all of this information with our staff on site who are all informed and up to date on the new information published.
North Cotswold Primary Care Network Vaccination Hub.
NHS England Covid Vaccination Invitation Letters
There has been a lot of confusion recently about letters being sent to patients. We hope this clarifies things for you.
There are two seperate systems running for Covid vaccinations;government run, mass vaccination centres and local, GP led vaccination services. Some of your closest mass vaccination centres are in Malvern, Birmingham and Worcester. For the surgeries in the North Cotswolds, your local GP led service is run from the North Cotswolds Hospital in Moreton.
The government are sending out letters telling people they are eligible for their vaccination, the latest being in the 50-55 cohort. The reason the government is sending these letters out now rather than waiting until we have finished vaccinating the previous two cohorts, is to keep numbers at the national sites as high as possible.
Many people are choosing to have their vacine closer to home and are waiting for an invitation to their local centre. Your local centre is currently using a text messaging system of appointment booking. If we do not have a mobile number for you, or get no response, we may then send a letter but it will be clearly marked from your GP surgery.
If you do receive a letter from the government but wish to have your vaccine locally, please ignore this letter and wait to be invited by your GP surgery for your vaccination (via text/phone/letter). Please do not ring the surgery.
Please bear in mind that these two systems are seperate. It takes 2-3 working days for your GP surgery to be notified if you have had the vaccination elsewhere, as we cannot tell if you have an appointment booked at a national site. If you have an appointment booked at North Cotswold Hospital, please make sure you attend. If this is no longer possible, or you have had the vaccine elsewhere, you must cancel the appointment yourself. Mass vaccination centres and community pharmacy teams cannot do this for you.
Thank you for your understanding and helping North Cotswolds to keep the vaccination programme running as smoothly as possible.
Join the NHS COVID-19 vaccine Team
See https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/join-the-nhs-covid-19-vaccine-team/ for more information.
Covid Vaccinations UPDATE - April 20th 2021
Appointment Co-ordination Hub
From 18th March, all vaccination appointments are being handled by a dedicated team at the North Cotswold Hospital. They will book appointments and answer any patient queries. They will be open 10am-4pm Mon-Fri and can be contacted via the details shown below:
Telephone Number: 01608692115
Please do not contact the Surgery regarding any vaccinations
1st Coronavirus Vaccinations
For 1st vaccinations, the hub will continue to invite patients to receive the vaccine in the priority given below:
The hub are now inviting patients aged from 40 upwards for their 1st vaccinations and are inviting patients aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions. If you have not received an invitation as yet, please contact the hub on the contact details shown above.
We are aware that some patients have received letters from NHS England inviting them to book vaccinations. If those patients wish to have the vaccination at the North Cotswold Hospital rather than the sites offered, please wait to be invited.
PLEASE DO NOT RING THE SURGERY REGARDING THESE LETTERS. THE LARGE VOLUME OF CALLS REGARDING THESE LETTERS IS STOPPING PATIENTS WHO NEED TO SPEAK TO A DOCTOR FROM GETTING THROUGH TO SPEAK TO OUR RECEPTION TEAM.
2nd Coronavirus Vaccinations
The hub are now starting to invite patients who had their first Astrazeneca vaccination before the 27th February for their 2nd vaccination. Patients who received their vaccination after those dates will be contacted in due course. Please wait to be contacted.
The hub has had confirmation of a Pfizer delivery date for next week. Clinics will be running Tuesday 27th April- Thursday 29th April and they will be booking in patients who had their first doses on 9th/10th/11th February. There will also be very limited session of first doses for those that have had to wait specifically for Pfizer as they were contraindicated for AZ.
Please note you will need to have the same brand of vaccine for your second dose as you were given for your first.
PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE SURGERY REGARDING THE 2ND VACCINATIONS, WE CAN OFFER NO FURTHER INFORMATION THAN THE INFORMATION SHOWN ABOVE.
Mobile Testing Units (MTU's) and Regional Testing Sites (RTS) - No Appointment, no Test
The department of Health and Social Care have advised that, due to high levels of demand across the country, any latitude for testing without an appointment has gone. Tests are now only available on an appointment basis to individuals with sysmptoms of COV-19.
MTU sites will only be testing those who are symptomatic and have a booking (excluding non-digital sites);anyone else will risk being turned away.
The MTU is available at various locations across the county. Test can be booked in advance by visiting the NHS website or calling 119. Tests are not available from the Practice.Locations are detailed on the Gloucestershire County Council Website.
Flu vaccinations appointments are now available to book for the over 50's from the 1st December.
Flu vaccination appointments are available to book for the over 65's and patients included in the at risk groups. Please contact reception or book online at make an appointment.
In 2020/21 groups eligible for the NHS funded flu vaccination programme are the same as last year, although this may change if the programme is expanded and include:
- all children agred two to ten (but not eleven years or older) on 31st August 2020
- those aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
- pregnant women
- those aged 65 years and over.
- those in long-stay residential care homes
- close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
- health and social care staff employed by a registered residential care/nursing home, registered domiciliary care provider, or a voluntary managed hospice provider.
We expect universal vaccination of health and care workers and further guidance will be published in due course.
We are now requesting that all patients coming to the surgery, for any reason, should wear their own face mask and clean their hands before entering.
You can purchase one, they are widely available, or you can make your own. Here are some instructions on how to do this:
If you forget to bring one with you, you can buy one in the surgery foyer for a donation of £2 to Cotswold Friends, who have done so much to support the practice and our patients during the lockdown.
The masks have been made locally by Moreton Scrubhub.If you have any patterned or plain sheets, duvet covers or similar fabric that you no longer need or maybe yur sewing thread box is overflowing, please consider donating some reels of thread, elastic or fabric to the Scrub Hub ladies from Cotswold Friends who are making the masks and need more supplies. If you would like to sew masks for the project, the contact details are as follows:
Cotswold Friends - Telephone Number 01608 697006
Patient Information leaflet on face coverings
Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust have developed a helpful and comprehensive patient information leaflet on wearing face coverings for COVID-19. The leaflet explains; why you should wear a face covering when you have no symptoms of coronavirus; how to put on and take off your face covering correctly; how to wash hands correctly; and an FAQ around resusing and sharing masks with family members. Please click below to view leaflet.
Face Mask Exemption Letter requests
We are aware that some patients might be understandably anxious about the Government’s recent announcements around the use of face masks in various public settings.
GPs are unfortunately not in a position to provide individual risk assessments or letters for patients who feel that they should be exempt from wearing a face mask.
The government guidance on exemptions suggests there is no requirement for evidence for exemption therefore it is sufficient for an individual to self-declare this.
Similarly, practices are under no obligation to provide letters of support for anyone who does not fall under the list of exemptions but considers them to have another reason to be exempted.
Government advice on the use of face coverings can be found here:
Coming to the surgery
We are now requesting that all patients coming to the surgery, for any reason, should wear their own face mask and clean their hands before entering.
We have telephone and video appointments with all our GPs, and these are bookable on line. We are restricting face to face appointments to those issues which cannot be dealt with by phone or video. If your GP feels that you need to be seen face to face, they will arrange a specific appointment when they speak to you.
Many nurse appointments are also being offered bt telephone or video. Some patients may need to attend the surgery for a blodd test before speaking to a nurse, e.g. for diabetes. These appointments are not available for on-line booking as all our nurses and healthcare assistantss have different training and we do not want patients to book in for an appointment with the wrong team member.
Please can you arrive on tme for any face to face appointment, but avoid coming early to reduce numbers in the waiting room.
Active Practice Charter
The Practice has been awarded a listing on the Active Practice Charter, an initiative from the Royal College of GPs and Sport England. We've pledged to meet the following criteria:
- Reduce sedentarybehaviour in both our patients and staff
- Increase physical activity in both our patients and staff
- Partner with external exercise providers
Amongst other things, we're making changes to the waiting rooms, providing a standing waiting area, showing seated exercise ideas on our TV information screens and we already walk to collect you from the waiting room rather than using a call system.
We have a staffstep count competition and we're a Park Run Practice with links to the Fire Service College Park Run in Moreton-in-Marsh. You will likely see staff here on a Saturday morning.
For more information about local activity providers and exercises you can do yourself at home for general fitness or specific conditions, please carry on reading.
You may have specific conditions that could be improved by doing certain execises, or you may be looking to improve your general health. Please click on the below chart to find appropriate exercises for you. Follow the key to choose which exercises will be most relevant to your needs. Just click on the relevant link which will direct you to helpful advice.
How you can help us to maintain your health
How you can help us maintain your health
We are encouraging patients to purchase a thermometer to have it at home to enable the GPs to make an assessment remotely when appropriate.
It is also useful to have a Blood Pressure Monitor to have at home if you are suffering from any cardio vascular disease, diabetes or are being treated for blood pressure management. Some information about blood pressure monitors is here :
Following guidance from NHS England to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus, the practice will no longer be offering GP face to face appointments unless clinically necessary until further notice. Patients will be offered a telephone consultation instead. Patients who already have a face to face appointment booked will be contacted to change to a telephone appointment instead.
Any GP appointment that is clinically needed face to face will be triaged prior to the appointment.
Some routine nurse and Health Care Assistant appointments may also be cancelled. Appointments where a face to face appointment is clinically required will continue. (E.g. warfarin monitoring)
If you suspect you have come into contact with Coronavirus or are self isolating, DO NOT come into the surgery or attend A&E. Phone 111 for assessment and advice.
Please click on the link for the latest advice: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public
Please click on the link for a Coronavirus Symptom Checker: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19
How to get coronavirus support as a clinically extremely vulnerable person. Please click on the link: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable
How to join the NHS Volunteer Responders. Please click on the link: www.goodsamapp.org/nhs
Travel Cancellation Insurance Forms (Coronavirus)
Unless you are unwell and have had a consultation with one of our clinical staff, we cannot complete travel insurance forms. The first step is to speak to your insurance company. If you have an underlying medical condition which may result in you being at greater risk of coronavirus and its' effects, you can access your medical record on line and send a medical summary to your insurance company should they require it.
Have you got the NHS App?
At home or on the move, with the new NHS App you can conveniently order repeat prescriptions, view your GP medical records, manage appointments at your GP surgery, set organ donation preferences, and check symptoms.
The app has been developed by the NHS and has been designed to help people get more information about their health and care - and more control of how they use NHS services. New functions and services will also be added in the coming months. Why not download it and try it out?
The app is convenient, gives you more control of your health at all times, and is owned and run by the NHS.
What does the NHS App do?
The NHS App allows you to access a range of NHS services on your smartphone or tablet. A desktop version is launching soon too.
You can use it wherever you are, at any time. It puts valuable information about your health and treatments at your fingertips.
- order repeat prescriptions
- view your GP medical record
- book and cancel appointments at your GP surgery
- register for organ donation and change your donation preferences
- use the symptoms checker, including an A to Z of conditions and treatment advice from the NHS website
- access 111 Online, for advice on self-care and whether urgent help is needed
Is my information safe?
Just like a banking app, your identity will be carefully checked during the simple registration process. The app has been designed, built and tested so that your personal information is always safe and secure.
How to register through the NHS App
Download the app from your mobile device’s app store and follow the easy step-by-step registration instructions. It will help if you know your NHS number (though this isn’t essential), and you will need to have a form of ID (passport or driving license) to hand.
If you want to learn more, visit the NHS App page on the NHS UK website.
GP Practice Survey
The latest GP Practice survey has been released and can be viewed via the link below.
Green Impact for Health
The Practice has committed to the Green Impact for Health Scheme which has been set up to accredit practices who are aiming to reduce our impact on the environment and work in a more sustainable way.
This successful scheme has been set up by the National Union of Students and has been running since 2006, but has been expanded in recent years to include the Royal College of General Practitioners.
We use an online system targeting energy use, waste disposal, water usage, procurement, prescribing and travel, with points awarded for achievements in reducing our impact on the environment. These achievements are recognised with Bronze, Silver and Gold awards which we are currently working towards.
Our Practice is aware of the importance of working in a greener way to ensure that we leave the planet in good condition for future generations and by joining this national scheme, we hope we can continue to make positive changes.
The practice is trialling using text messaging to contact patients. Please can patients make sure we have your updated mobile telephone number and email address.
Are you suffering from a minor ailment?
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