COVID-19/Coronavirus: Important Update on West Heath Surgery Services

As you will have seen in the media, the nation is now in the containment phase of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis. West Heath Surgery will continue to provide patients with healthcare during this time.

Our paramount concern is the safety of our patients and staff. To keep patients and staff safe, we are changing some of our services temporarily. Here you will find an overview of these changes, and how they might affect you.

 

I think I might have Coronavirus. What should I do?

You may have Coronavirus if you have the following symptoms:

  • A high temperature (your back or chest is hot to touch)
  • A new continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

If you have these symptoms please do not visit your local health services like your GP, Pharmacy or Hospital.

You must self-isolate for the current period shown in the NHS guidelines.

You do not need to call anyone regarding your symptoms unless you have an underlying health condition which you are concerned about or your symptoms are severe enough that you need medical attention e.g. you are short of breath. If you do have a question or want to talk someone about your symptoms, please call NHS 111 or access their online advice portal by clicking here.

Non-Coronavirus queries

For all non-Coronavirus queries, we are conducting initial patient appointments by telephone or video. This is to keep patients safe. You can book your appointment in the usual way, with our app or by calling reception.

The GP will arrange a face-to-face appointment for you, if they think it’s safe for you to come in. They will discuss this with you during your telephone/video call.

Please see the section below for further information about what you will be asked to do when you attend a face-to-face appointment.

Unfortunately we have had to temporarily suspend our usual mental health clinics at this time to keep staff and patients safe. For telephone advice from a mental health specialist or counsellor at this time you can call the following numbers:

If you are 0-18 years old – call PAUSE on 0207 841 4470. This service is open 7 days a week between the hours of 10am-6pm.

If you are over 18 years old – call the Mental Health Support and Crisis Line on 0121 262 3555. This service is open 7 days a week between 9am-11pm.

Routine monitoring and procedure

Many patients with long term conditions need ongoing monitoring. During this crisis, we are suspending non-essential monitoring.

If you need essential monitoring, we will try to do this by phone or online.

Of course, some patients who need essential monitoring must attend surgery. A blood test is a good example. If this applies to you, we’ll make the necessary arrangements for you to come in.

In line with NHS guidance, other non-essential routine services are being suspended until the crisis is over. This includes services such as minor operations.

If we ask you to attend the surgery it is important that you attend at the time of your appointment, as we currently are operating a one patient in and one patient out policy. This means that if you are early for your appointment you will be asked to wait in your car or outside if you do not have a car, until the clinician you are seeing is ready to call you in at your allocated appointment time.

We are now asking all patients to wear a face covering when you attend the practice for an appointment. This does not need to be a medical grade mask, and could be something as simple as a scarf or bandana tied around the back of your head. The face covering must be big enough to cover your mouth and nose. If you do not attend with a face covering you may be asked to rebook your appointment in order to keep other patients and our staff safe.

Due to a national shortage of PPE, which is supplied by the government, we are unable to provide patients with a supply of masks from the practice’s limited supply.

If you need help making a mask we have included a link below to the government website which includes instructions on how to make your own face covering. Some face coverings can be made out of material that you can wash and re-use. Please note that even while wearing a mask you still need to follow strict social distancing rules and remember to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds regularly.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

We would also like to remind patients that if you have any coronavirus symptoms – a new continuous cough, temperature, or loss of taste and smell, or you co-habit with someone who has these symptoms, you should NOT attend your appointment and self-isolate for the next 7 days. If you are in this situation please contact the practice to cancel your appointment.

Thank you for your assistance in preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Dealing with your repeat medications

Are you on repeat medication? Then we’ll ensure you receive your prescriptions via our Prescription Ordering Department.

Please order your prescription a week before your medication runs out. This gives us plenty of time to process your prescription, and for the pharmacy to dispense your items.

You should order your prescription by phone or by our patient app. This will stop you coming into contact with other patients when you don’t need to.

During this crisis, phone lines may be busier than usual. So we recommend that you use our app. It’s available 24/7, and only needs a few presses of a button.

Please note: our Prescription Ordering Department will continue to operate during the crisis. You do not need to request more than your normal quantity of medication.

 

How to get a sick note

If you require a sick note for coronavirus self-isolating purposes there is now a dedicated NHS website which you can access by clicking here. The website will generate a note which you can then email to your employer if required.

If you require a sick note for ongoing medical reasons not relating to Coronavirus then most sick notes can be issued without you seeing a doctor face-to-face. A telephone consultation with a doctor is fine.

Need a sick note? Then please contact the reception team to request a telephone appointment.

We will now email the sick note to you if possible. This will avoid you attending the surgery.

Please note: you should self-certify for the first seven days of your illness. However, this guidance may change during the crisis.

Shielding Letters

Some of our patients will have received letters or text messages directly from the government or from West Heath Surgery to advise that they are extremely vulnerable patients and need to shield.

All letters have now been sent to patients who need to shield, however, if you think you should have received a letter and have not, please contact your hospital specialist if you have one, or contact the practice if you are not under hospital follow up, who will be able to advise you if you meet the shielding criteria.

If you have received a letter you should continue to shield until 30th June 2020, as per the current government guidance.

Please click here for further government guidance on Shielding.

Why you should use our patient app

During this crisis we expect much higher call volumes than usual. To avoid you having to wait on the phone, we strongly recommend that you use our patient app.

You can use our app to:

  • book your appointments
  • order your medication
  • view your medical record
  • obtain your test results
  • link to some health devices

Not got our app yet? You’ll find it on Google Play and in the app store. Our practice will call to verify you.

 

Referrals and Further Care

If you need a referral, we will make this as usual. However, waiting times at hospitals and other services have increased in recent weeks.

Due to current pressures, hospitals are cancelling some outpatients clinics and also routine operations. We do not have any control over this. If you need further information, please contact the relevant hospital directly.

You will find some useful numbers at the bottom of our referrals page.

 

Need more information?

We will keep updating this page with the latest official guidance.

For more NHS information on Coronavirus please click here.

 

Page last updated – Wednesday 18th March 2020