Flu Vaccinations 2021
As many of you are aware, we are fast approaching the start of the flu vaccination season. This year it is going to be even more important to make sure patients receive their flu vaccinations to protect them from serious illness as we head into the winter period. Also to protect NHS services.
You may also be aware that the government is making plans for us to also give a third booster dose of Covid-19 vaccination, most likely alongside the flu vaccination, for some groups of patients. These groups are largely aligned to those who have the seasonal flu vaccination.
We are currently putting plans together to deliver the Covid-19 vaccination boosters alongside the flu vaccinations, from the North Cotswold Hospital as a group of five practices. This will be based on the successful Primary Care Network(PCN) model that enabled us to deliver over 45,000 Covid vaccinations in our community. The team will also undertake all of the home visiting for our housebound patients as well as visits to the local care homes.
These plans will enable patients to have one visit for both vaccinations, whilst also keeping practice teams protected to deliver safe patient care, as all of our practices are currently experiencing unprecedented demand.
The government is awaiting some data from research regarding immunity levels and this was expected to be available at the end of August. Once they have considered this data, they will be able to send us more guidance regarding the booster programme and the finer details.
We anticipate starting the clinics at the North Cotswold Hospital from week commencing 20th September. We will be fully supporting the call and recall of patients from our vaccine hub and using the AccuRx booking system that was used for Covid vaccinations. The company have a new module specifically designed for the dual vaccination programme which will also launch around that time.
The appointment booking hub remains open to take answers questions and queries related to both the Covid vaccinations, the boosters and the flu programme. The number for the hub is 01608 692115.
Children will still have their seasonal influenza vaccination at the practice and will be called in the usual way when the supplies of nasal flu vaccines have arrived.
In the unlikely event that the government decides not to progress with a Covid booster programme this winter, we will continue with plans to deliver the flu programme as a PCN in a collaborative way and this will include appointment booking from the hub.
We had a remarkable response from our patient population given the often short notice we had with the Covid vaccination campaign, we are confident that we can mobilise our team and patients to deliver an further successful vaccination programme and continue to keep population of the North Cotswold safely vaccinated.
As soon as we have more information related to the finer details we will provide a further update. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact the appointment hub if you have a specific query.
National Blood Bottle Shortage
There has been some recent media coverage regarding the national shortage of blood test bottles so we felt it was important to clarify the situation.
A supplier to the NHS has advised us of a global shortage of some equipment used for taking blood tests.
Anyone who needs a 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.
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 cont us as you would normally.
As we are sure you will appreciate this situation is completely out of our control and we will post further updates as and when we receive more information from NHS England.
NHS Patients, staff and visitors must continue to wear face coverings in healthcare settings
England’s Chief Nurse has today reminded the public that everyone accessing or visiting healthcare settings must continue to wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.
Covid restrictions will end in many settings in England from Monday 19th July.
However, Public Health England’s infection prevention control guidelines and hospital visiting guidance are set to remain in place for all staff and visitors.
That means NHS visitor guidance will stay in place across all health services including hospitals, GP practices, dental practices, optometrists and pharmacies to ensure patients and staff are protected.
Staff, patients and visitors will also be expected to continue to follow social distancing rules when visiting any care setting as well as using face coverings, mask and other personal protection equipment.
The NHS will continue to support staff in ensuring that the guidance is followed in all healthcare settings.
Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May said: “Face coverings and social distancing measures will remain in place across healthcare settings so that the most vulnerable people can continue to safely attend hospital, their GP surgery, pharmacy or any other healthcare settings for advice, care and treatment.
“And it is important for the public to continue to play their part when visiting NHS and care settings to help protect our staff and patients, particularly those who may be more vulnerable to infections.
“As restrictions are lifted in many places on Monday everyone has a part to play in helping to control Covid by getting vaccinated and acting responsibly.
“It is vital that in healthcare settings, we do all we can to reduce the risk of infection for those working in our services and those who need our care.”
Health Minister Jo Churchill said: “Face coverings have played an important role in healthcare settings, helping protect vulnerable patients, staff and visitors by limiting the spread of this deadly disease and this guidance remains in place.
“We expect patients, visitors and NHS staff to continue using face coverings and maintain social distancing in all healthcare settings as we cautiously lift restrictions on Monday.
“I urge everyone to play their part and think of those more vulnerable than you when visiting your local hospital or GP surgery.”
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges said: “It is absolutely right that basic infection prevention and control measures stay in place in healthcare settings. Simple steps such as wearing a face mask and keeping a safe distance away from others are a minor inconvenience but could have a profound positive impact when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable and I strongly support the chief nurse with this clear reminder.”
Jude Diggins, Interim RCN Director of Nursing, Policy and Public Affairs said: “The recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases shows that we have some way to go before being free from the pandemic. The public understand the importance of face masks, social distancing and vigilant handwashing in all health and care settings. These must continue in order to protect patients and nursing staff thus helping to ensure the NHS has the capacity to treat everyone who needs it if pressures keep increasing.”
Eddie Crouch, Chair of the British Dental Association said: “These guidelines are in place to protect patients and staff. When visiting a dentist face coverings, social distancing and hand washing remain fundamentals not optional extras. Wider changes that take place on Monday will have no impact on how the public should approach accessing our services.”
Thorrun Govind, Chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in England said: “Pharmacists and their teams are working really hard to support patient care and the public can do its bit to help keep people safe. While some pharmacies are in retail environments, they’re still a healthcare setting and have been relied upon to support and protect the public throughout the pandemic. I’d urge everyone entering a pharmacy or any healthcare setting to wear and mask and maintain social distancing to reduce the risk from COVID-19 to both patients and staff.”
UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “Although restrictions are easing, NHS staff are under pressure trying to clear the long wait lists that have built up during the pandemic. At the same time, Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly and many people remain vulnerable. It’s vital that staff know they will be kept safe and the public are clear that measures like social distancing and mask wearing will still be needed to stop the spread in healthcare settings.”
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “This is exactly what health leaders across the country needed to hear as we head towards the final coronavirus restrictions lifting in England as it will validate their intention to continue following the existing infection control guidelines. It is not too much to ask of those visiting or using NHS services to continue wearing a mask and respecting social distancing measures if it can keep themselves and those around them safe from this horrible disease.”
Practice Services During the Covid Pandemic
The Practice is planning the reinstatement of directly bookable face to face GP appointments but in the light of the current significant rise in Covid cases, this is being deferred until the situation improves.
We are reviewing the situation regularly and are follwoing the safety guidance issued by NHS England.
Help your GP Surgery to help you
The surgery is experiencing a very high demand for services at present. Please watch this video.
Dr Jon Wreford - Retirement
Cotswold Medical Practice wishes to notify our patients that Dr Wreford will be retiring from the Practice on 30th September 2021.
Dr Wreford has been with us since 1992 and has been our Senior Partner for the past 7 years.
We know that his patients will miss him and wish him well for the future. Please can we urge you not to book an appointment with him just to say goodbye as we do need him to be available to treat unwell patients until he leaves.
If you would like to send him a message you can write or email email@example.com and we will ensure that your message reaches him.
National Data Opt Out
The national data opt-out is a service that allows patients to opt out of their confidential patient information being used for research and planning.
For more information and to opt out, please go to the following website:
Through the NHS App
You can access your COVID-19 vaccination status through the NHS App from 17th May. You can access the App through mobile devices such as a smartphone or tablet. Proof of your COVID-19 vaccination status will be shown within the NHS App. We recommend you register with the App before booking internation travel, at least two weeks before your departure date, once you;ve had a full cours of vaccinations. England’s NHS app will be available to use as a vaccine passport from Monday, the government has said - but only for those who have had both doses of the jab.
To use the NHS App, you must be aged 13 or over and registered with a GP in England. If you are aged 13-15, you will need to contact the surgery to request access to GP online services before you can use the App. Assistance with the App can be found at NHS App help and support: www.nhs.uk
By Calling 119
If you do not have access to a smartphone and know the country you are travelling to requires proff of a COVID-19 vaccination status, you can call the NHS helpline on 119 and ask for a letter to be posted to you. This must be at least five working days after youv'e completed the course of the vaccine; it is expected that the letter may take up to five working days to reach you. The letter will be sent automatically to the address registered with your GP. The 119-call handler will not be able to see your address to check this with you. If you have recently moved house, make sure you've given your new address to your GP Practice before calling 119. paper version will also be available - by calling NHS 119 but not through a GP.
Do not contact the surgery about your COVID-19 vaccination status. GPs cannot provide letters showing your COVID-19 vaccination status.
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.
Covid Vaccinations UPDATE - June 21st 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 18 upwards for their 1st vaccinations. If you have not received an invitation as yet, please contact the hub on the contact details shown above who will be able to book you an appointment.
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 or contact the hub on 01608 692115
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 will also invite patients for their 2nd vaccination. Please wait to be contacted.
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.
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.
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