Coronavirus

Dear Patient,

Coronavirus update 30/03/2020 important notice regarding changes to our practice operations

The Leatside Team want to update you regarding our GP services at this time. We understand that these are unprecedented times and as frontline NHS healthcare workers we are all going above and beyond to support our patients, but this does mean significant changes to the way we operate.  Thank you to all our incredibly supportive patients that have thanked our team and recognise how hard our whole team has been working to deal with the extra workload at this time. It does really help keep our spirits up at this busy time. Demand for our services has increased significantly over the last few weeks, whilst at the same time we have less staff to deal with the increased demand.

All of the measures we have put in place over the past 2 weeks and going forward are following guidance from Public Heath England and are being implemented across many GP practices in the UK. It is all about keeping you safe, minimising your exposure to patients with COVID-19 symptoms and saving lives of the most vulnerable people in our Community. At the same time we need to keep our teams safe and well so they can keep on working to provide patient care.

 What if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

If you have symptoms, a temperature above 37.8c AND/OR a persistent cough you need to go online to www.111.nhs.uk/covid-19. Please only call 111 if you cannot get online.

Please do not call or come to the GP surgery and follow the online guidance around self-isolation. We do not receive any further or additional advice than is available here so please do not call the surgery to ask us our opinion on whether you should isolate or not, just follow the advice provided from 111.

The practice has been inundated with patient queries and questions regarding COVID-19, and also operational concerns and queries around our local community pharmacies; unfortunately we are unable to answer these.

Our telephone volume has increased significantly over the past two weeks whilst running on reduced workforce so please plan for a longer wait than usual. It is vital that our services are available for the unwell patients in our community who desperately need our support.

What do these changes mean for you as a patient?

Appointments:

All appointment requests for our GPs or Nurse Practitioners are now being triaged over the phone in the first instance and if the clinician feels that you need to be seen you will be invited into the surgery.

The best way to get access to your GP for non-urgent problems is to use the online consultation form eConsult on the surgery website (https://leatside.webgp.com/).

If your problem is more urgent and you do not have access to the internet then please phone the surgery on 01803 862671; please note, due to increase demand the time it takes to get through to our Health Navigators maybe longer than normal. If you need to speak to a Clinician you will be given a telephone consultation at some point during the day.

If the Clinician decides to see you they will give you an allocated time to come to the practice, when this is given you will be asked to remain in your car and the clinician will call you on your mobile phone when they are ready to see you. If you do not have a mobile phone or will be walking to the surgery please make the clinician aware when they triage your call and they will make alternate arrangements.

If the Clinician you speak to decides they would like to see you they may in some circumstances suggest that when you arrive you wait in your car and call a specific mobile phone number. The clinician will greet you at your car, and will be wearing a mask, gloves and an apron. Please do not be alarmed. We ask that you follow the instructions given at all times. 

Please do not attend the practice for any reason unless you have an allocated appointment.

Samples:

If you are asked to collect a sample pot these are available from the reception desk. The sample containers come with a sealed bag and a sample form. When you return a sample, please ensure you have added your details to the label on the container and the form is complete. It is vital that your full name and date of birth are on both the container and the form. Any samples must be pre-approved by a clinician and returned by 3pm. Please do not use your own containers for samples.

Forms/Paperwork:

If you have any forms of any type that need collecting, please do not attend to collect, we will email or post these to you. Please note there will be a delay on medical record requests and insurance reports.

Sick notes:

If you are self-isolating and you require a sick note, please do not come to the practice for this. Isolation notes are accessed via 111 online (https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/) and a digital note will be sent to you electronically.

Prescriptions:

We are requesting that no paper prescriptions are dropped off at the surgery. All prescriptions will be issued electronically to your nominated pharmacy. This is going to be a busy time in the surgery and pharmacy and it may take up to 5 working days to get your prescription electronically sent and dispensed.

We are requesting that no paper prescriptions are dropped off at the surgery unless you absolutely have no other means of ordering. As you can appreciate we are trying to keep footfall in the surgery to an absolute minimum to safeguard our staff and patients. We are asking that all requests are called in between 10:00 – 13:00, Monday – Friday and 14:00-16:00 on Monday’s. We would encourage everyone to try and order their repeat prescriptions using either their online account or using the NHS App (can be downloaded onto any smartphone).  We are now temporarily taking prescription requests via email (leatside.surgery@nhs.net).

Please do not contact us unless your prescription is due to be ordered within the next 10 days, we cannot issue it any earlier. The pharmacies have just enough for everyone and you having more would leave others without.  Please do not request medication that you have not had for some time as a “just in case” precaution. If the time comes and you need the item prescribing this will be arranged for you.

Patients with Asthma and COPD:

Please continue to manage your asthma or COPD according to your management plan. This will involve escalating your inhaler therapy if your symptoms increase.

For some patients their plan also involves the use of courses of oral steroids and/or antibiotics. Please ensure that you have sensible supplies of the medications indicated in your plan. Do not stock pile or over order. Please do not request an oral steroid and antibiotic "rescue pack" in anticipation If they are not indicated on your Asthma or COPD care plan and you have never used a rescue pack before please do not request one.

If you have symptoms suggestive of COVID (fever and/or a continuous dry cough) then isolate and stay at home. If you need further clinical support to manage your Covid symptoms then please contact 111 online on www.111.nhs.uk/covid-19.

If you still have symptoms suggestive of deteriorating Asthma or COPD despite following your escalation plan, or if you have markers of a severe exacerbation, but not COVID, please contact the practice via eConsult telephone 01803 862671.  

Can I go to work during this pandemic?

There are clear government guidelines to support you at work during this time. The guidelines stipulate the support your employer can offer you if you are identified as have an underlying health conditions. These conditions are broadly aligned to patients who are eligible for a flu vaccine. Our team cannot deviate away from these guidelines and we do not have the capacity or any further information to be able to offer you. Again it is vital that our Clinical team are available for clinical care. For any questions relating to work please refer to www.gov.uk/coronavirus

High Risk Patients

Patients that fall into the extremely high risk category have been written to by the government with further guidance and advice. Please note that we do not have any further information we can give patients. If you fall into any of the at risk categories requiring self-isolation you need to follow the advice and you do not need to call us to ask if it applies to you.

Next steps

We know these are worrying times for everyone and we are extremely sorry that we have had to introduce these measures. The decisions regarding the changes to our usual operations have not been made lightly.

The changes made have been agreed by all Partners at Leatside and follow the guidance on managing the outbreak and spread of Coronavirus and they are in line with changes being made to all GP practices across the UK so that we can prioritise care to those with an urgent need and the vulnerable.

We are offering other ways of accessing the practice such as eConsult, email, online access and the NHS app. We have no idea at present how long this disruption is likely to continue for, so we ask that all of our patients are kind and respectful to our team. It is a very worrying and stressful time for them also and they are working long hours to keep providing patient care and save lives.

We are working with all our neighbouring practice across South Devon and Torbay and it is likely that GP services will continue to evolve further over the coming weeks. As the outbreak continues to peak patients may be required to travel between different surgeries and towns to be seen. By putting these measures in place we are hoping to keep our practice open as long as possible to keep serving the local community of Totnes and the surrounding area.

Stay Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives

With Kind Regards

The Leatside Team

Relationships

Often poor communication can lead to tensions in a relationship. Small problems can boil out of proportion. We are happy to see you (alone or together) as we can often help start the reconciliation process.

Two great resources for more in depth relationship work are RELATE (fee based - 01803 297854) or Marriage Care (free - 01803 200830 / 0845 6606000) - see links below.

For Contraception and Sexual Health advice, click here