As we start to come out of lockdown and more businesses open and work towards a new ‘normal’, we have also changed the way we’re working.
Demand is already increasing and we encourage patients to adapt to our new ways. The following will be the plan from 8 June to 4 July, though may be subject to change as the government issues more guidance.
- Front door: We will continue to run with a staff member on door. Please wait to be invited in if you have an appointment and wait outside if you are collecting medication. You should maintain a 2m distance at all times for staff safety and yours.
- Medication collections will be extended to 4pm at Holbrook on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. There will only be a morning collection on Thursday as usual and we will be open for collections until 5pm on Friday as now.
- If you have an appointment at Shotley please use the main door between 8 and 11am and 2 and 5pm. Otherwise, you should use the door in the doctors’ car park between 11am and 2pm and after 5pm. You should exit via the back door into the doctors’ car park. You should not wander into any other part of the building.
- Please take care as we have a hole in the doctors’ car park and are awaiting an assessment from our insurers. This is clearly marked and surrounded by bollards.
- Shielding patients (those at very high risk with a government letter) will only be seen at Holbrook Monday to Thursday and on Friday morning. Please come to the beginning of the queue and stand at the green Appointments Only marker which is distanced from where others stand to collect prescriptions. Do not attend too early to avoid too many people. It is preferable that you do not attend on a Friday afternoon when we may be seeing other patients who are not shielding.
- Only the actual patient should come into waiting room. Children may be accompanied by only one parent. Elderly or infirm patients needing help should only have one person assisting them.
- If you are being seen for appointment, our clinical staff will wear appropriate PPE. This may include a face mask, gloves, apron and visor depending on your appointment type. Some of our non-clinical staff may be wearing hospital type scrubs whilst working on the door.
- We are able to see fewer patients face to face as more time is needed between patients to clean rooms and equipment and change PPE.
- We are in the process of having additional screens made for when we reopen our doors. We also have tape ready to mark out 2m distances.
- We shall continue to offer telephone advice and video consultations.
- When you ring or come to the door, you will be asked if you have a temperature, a new continuous cough and/or loss of/change in taste or smell. If you are symptomatic we can still ring you to discuss but may send a car to visit you at home with a specially kitted out staff member from the Suffolk GP Federation.
- Repeat medication can be ordered online via NHS App or SystmOnline or you can put a query through eConsult (blue banner on our website). If you have no online access, you can drop your repeat slip through the door at either site.
- eConsult: We recommend patients use eConsult for non-urgent queries including repeat fit for work note/sick certificate requests, medication queries, referral to hospital which will send details to our GPs and staff and we can respond via a one way message.
- Some annual checks can be done partially or fully on eConsult. Go to holbrookandshotleysurgery.webgp.com/reviews and click on your condition. There are templates for asthma, diabetes, thyroid, COPD, hypertension, contraceptive pill and also for a medication review. Complete the information as fully as possible and we will contact you if necessary once we receive this. You may still be asked to come in but this will reduce the time of your appointment as we can gather information before you attend.
- Nurses continue to ring our shielding patients to offer help from community groups. Patients are still being added to this list by the practice, hospitals and government.
- Coronavirus testing is available for patients with symptoms via the NHS website (www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test) or ring 119 if no internet access.
- Antibody testing will available soon and will need a blood test taken which will increase our blood test appointment requests.
- Staff will be split into two teams from 8 June for four weeks to reduce risk of cross contamination between sites. One team will work only at Holbrook, the other only at Shotley. This may mean that you do not see the same person as usual when you attend. However, it will give us more flexibility if we do have an outbreak amongst staff.
- A lip speaker is available for those who are hard of hearing. Contact Natalie Farrugia at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07860 373317. Natalie has kindly offered to help but is not employed by the practice. By contacting Natalie directly you understand the confidentiality issues.
- Over 70s should, where possible, ask a family or friend to collect medication for them. If there is absolutely no-one who can do this then we are very helpfully supported by the community groups. Please ring reception if you are not already in touch with them and we can give you the number of the nearest group to you.
- Childhood immunisations and baby checks: The midwife and health visitor are contacting patients and giving advice over the phone or organising for patients to come in when necessary. Parents should still bring their children for their immunisations and baby checks. Our usual six-week postnatal check will now be combined with the eight0-eek immunisations so you only need to attend once and will see both the nurse and doctor.
- Cervical screening: If you receive a recall letter and are concerned, please ring reception and we will book a telephone appointment with the nurse who can advise you what to do.
- For mental health issues due to coronavirus visit: www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus.
And finally, I would like again to thank our staff and all of the voluntary groups who have been helping both us as a practice and our communities. Many of our staff are covering extra hours on a regular basis and have their own challenges at home and within the workplace. They are having to adapt to new technology, the loss of social connection and growing demand whilst keeping up with all the changes from NHSE and our CCG. We do appreciate the lovely comments we get from patients and I always forward these round.
Sadly, we still have some patients who feel it is acceptable to shout at our staff. We will continue to always try to do our best for our patients and, if we fall short of this, please accept our apologies. If you need to complain, please contact our practice manager at the surgery so that we can look into this for you. Our voluntary groups have been such a help and we are grateful to them for all they do. If you are shielding and struggling to get medication delivered, please contact us. If there is no community group near to you then the NHS Volunteers or our staff may be able to do this for you.