Covid-19 Blog

Posted on behalf of Hadleigh Boxford Group Practice
Frequently asked questions below

Welcome to our post. We will be using this space to keep you fully informed on the rapidly changing situation we are all finding ourselves in. It is our intention to keep this post updated on a regular basis.

It is reasonable to say that everyone has been shocked by the pace of change. As Doctors, we can empathise with you for the worry and concern you will no doubt be experiencing. In return, we would hope you can appreciate the pressures we are under at the Health Centre. We have had to make rapid changes to our working pattern that may inconvenience some of our patients, but we are grateful for your understanding throughout this time.

As you will know we have made Boxford Surgery a no-go area for patient appointments. Please understand, that is not our long-term plan for Boxford, rather a necessity of the times – we simply cannot isolate potential Covid-19 patients there, nor undertake a sufficiently comprehensive deep clean. It is safer for patients and staff, for you to be seen in Hadleigh.

Additionally in Hadleigh we will only allow into the building those patients who have already spoken to a clinician on the phone. This is to ensure that only patients not displaying symptoms are allowed through the main entrance.

We appreciate that you calling usfor a return call has become the new normal and this has stretched our phone system capacity. To ease the bottleneck we have contacted the phone network to look at increasing the number of available lines. We have also turned on our online booking,although this will also only allow you to book a telephone consultation and not adirect appointment. It is hopedthat these measures will suffice butwe will continue to look for other ways to help reduce the difficulties in getting through to us.We must stress to you once again, please do not visitthe surgery to make an appointment.

We have changed our uniforms! Those of you who have seen a doctor or nurse practitioner recently will have noticed we are now wearing surgical scrubs. This makes the process of decontamination easier than wearing multiple items of clothing (which have been shown to potentially carry and transmit the virus).

There will be times when we may ask you to enter via the side entrance (near the car park). This is for those patients for whom coronavirus is a possibility. These patients will be booked an appointment at a specific time and be seen by a clinician in appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The room will be deep cleaned afterwards. This sideentrance, and the room used, is only for potential cases. All patients can be reassured we are doing all we can to separate the potentially infected from the non-infected.

And finally, a plea from all of the staff here: Please stay home to stop the spread of coronavirus. Thank you.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

In response to the ever changing information we are receiving constantly, we thought it would be useful to keep an up to date frequently asked questions page on our website and social media platforms.

Please keep in mind that we cannot provide answers to all questions, and if you need further information please visit http://www.gov.uk. Can we also ask that you try to refrain from contacting the surgery to ask questions that can be answered by visiting http://www.gov.uk.

Additionally, we are aware that not all of our patients are able to get online to read this information, and so we would be grateful if you could please share this with friends, family, or neighbours who may benefit from this.

Thank you

Questions & Answers

Q:        I am over 70 years’ old, can I safely still look after my grandchild?

A:         Anyone over 70 (or under 70 with certain health conditions) are in a more vulnerable group. The government recommend social distancing for these people. This is not the same as isolation, but still recommends avoiding family gatherings. Additionally, we know that child could potentially pass on the virus. As such the recommendation would be to distance yourself from people including your family for the time being.

Q:        I am not asthmatic, but I sometimes need an inhaler, please may I have one issued?

A:         We are seeing a growing number of patients requesting medication either earlier than normal, or as a “just in case” medication. To try to manage this surge in requests we would say that if you have a medication on repeat you can, of course, request this WHEN it is due (monthly prescriptions only please). If, however, you do not have a medication on repeat that you would now like then please consider if you have a GENUINE medical need for it. If so please ask to discuss with a clinician and we would be happy to help you out.

Q:        I have asthma, and my son attends the local school. I have just found out his best friend has been taken home due to a suspicion of coronavirus. What should I do?

A:         Unfortunately, there are currently no coronavirus tests being done by Public Health England (PHE) in the community setting. As such we just don’t know if this other child has coronavirus or not. However, as you have asthma you would be at an increased risk of the infection, and so in line with the guidelines from 16th March we would recommend social distancing for yourself. If your or a family member were to get symptoms suggestive of coronavirus then please follow the PHE guidelines (household isolation for 14 days). You can find more information on social distancing at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people

Q:        Please can I have my medication delivered?

A:         The free delivery service was set up to provide a solution for people who are house bound with no other way of obtaining prescribed medication. We simply do not have the capacity or man power to increase our delivery service any further to other patients of the practice nor customers of Mill Pharmacy. Please may we suggest that you contact friends or family for assistance or the newly set-up Facebook community groups in your area.

Q:        I can’t buy paracetamol as there is shortage (also face masks and hand sanitisers). Please may I can a prescription for this?

A:         There is a shortage on all these products. We will not be issuing any prescriptions for masks or hand sanitisers. If you have required a prescription for paracetamol in the past 2 years we are willing to issue a prescription for 30 tablets. We are having to limit this number as we are also experiencing a shortage. Thank you for your understanding.

Q:        I am unsure what is happening about my hospital out-patient appointment. Please can you chase this up?

A:         As you will be aware, hospitals have been instructed to cancel all non-urgent operations and move clinics to video or telephone appointments due to the concern of coronavirus. As such this is placing a huge strain on the hospitals and long waiting times are inevitable. We would ask that you give our secondary care colleges some time to sort things out. If you still wish to contact them, please do so by calling this number 0300 3034075.

Q:        Can I have a sick note for self-isolation as my family member has symptoms?

A:         In light of the current Coronavirus situation, it is inevitable that a number of employees may be required to self-isolate themselves at home even in the absence of any symptoms of an illness.  In these cases, your Doctor will not be able to issue a sick note as the time off work is not due to an illness, and isn’t affecting your ability to work, but rather is a precaution to avoid transmission of any illness that is yet to produce symptoms.

 We therefore expect your employer to be sympathetic if you are required to self-isolate for 14 days and to understand that the reason for this is to protect the welfare of your work colleagues and the wider community.

Q:        I have heard drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen should be avoided as they may make coronavirus worse. Is this true?

A:         The current advice says unpublished data from France, which the UK authorities have not seen, has led to the French Health minister advising against the use of ibuprofen or naproxen (“NSAID drugs”). There is no current published evidence that NSAIDs have an impact on COVID-19.

However, the NICE/Committee of Human Medicines (an advisory body of the MHRA) have been asked to review the evidence. In the meantime, those with suspected COVID-19 should use paracetamol in preference to NSAIDs.Those on NSAIDs for other medical reasons (e.g. arthritis) should not stop them.

Q:        I hear that drugs like Ramipril are not safe

A:         Drugs like Ramipril and losartan belong to a family of medicines used to treat high blood pressure, heart failure and other heart conditions. There is no published evidence to currently suggest they worsen COVID-19 infections and so the recommendation is to continue with these medicines. We know that controlling high blood pressure or other heart conditions is very important in reducing the risk of COVID-19

We will of course keep you updated as new information comes out.

Thank you all for your support

Doctors at Hadleigh Boxford Group Practice

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