COVID-19/Coronavirus: Important Update on West Heath Surgery Services
We would like to thank you for your understanding that we have had to change many of our services during this pandemic. Our staff continue to work hard to deliver as many services as possible, whilst also trying to provide essential COVID-19 services such as initial and booster vaccinations.
In line with the Government’s announcement, the NHS is aiming to offer every adult the chance to book a COVID-19 booster vaccine by the end of the year. This means our practice is now prioritising the booster rollout. As part of this, some of our routine services may be stood down temporarily to allow us to focus on protecting as many patients as possible.
We are still there for anyone who may need care for an urgent need, but would ask for patience as we support this key national priority over the coming weeks. We hope to be able to stand back up any services as soon as possible and will update this page as soon as we know more.
Please don’t forget there are many services available for you, depending on your condition. These include:
- Self-care – This is the best choice to treat minor illnesses and injuries such as hangovers, coughs, colds, grazes, small cuts or sore throats. Many of these can be treated at home, simply with over-the-counter medicines and plenty of rest.
- Pharmacy – Pharmacists can give advice on and treat a range of symptoms. They can support you with things such as diarrhoea, earaches, painful coughs, sticky eyes, teething and rashes.
- NHS 111 – You can access 111 online or via the telephone. This is for any urgent but non-life threatening health concerns. They will be able to signpost you to the relevant service and provide advice where appropriate, or book you in to an Urgent Treatment Centre.
- A&E / 999 – You should only attend A&E or dial 999 in a life-threatening emergency such as severe bleeding, breathing difficulties and severe chest pain.
If you are now eligible for your COVID-19 booster please book it as soon as you can. It is vital as many people as possible get boosted as soon as possible. Please do not call the practice to book in- please call our Covid-19 vaccination number on 0121 387 8470 or use the National Booking Service to book your appointment.
We are pleased that West Heath Surgery continues to be a Covid-19 vaccination centre through Phase 3 of the Program. This has been designated by NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI).
We gave our first vaccination on 14 December 2020 and in May 2021 had offered a vaccination to all patients eligible to receive one. However, if you have been invited but have not yet received your vaccination we can still arrange this for you. Please contact our booking team on 0121 387 8470 or use the National Booking Service to book your appointment.
The recent government announcement has now added those aged between 12 to 15 in an at-risk group for an initial vaccine, or all patients aged 16 or above to the list of eligible cohorts.
We have now started delivering the Covid-19 Booster program after being asked by NHSEI . We will contact patients when it is their turn to receive the vaccine.
To enable everyone to get the vaccine in a safe and controlled way, priority groups have been agreed by the government so the vaccine can be delivered to people who need it first.
We will continue to work hard to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations, whilst continuing to deliver the largest ever flu vaccine campaign and supporting our patients with routine and urgent health requests. We are grateful for your continued support whilst we run the vaccination program.
If you need more information on the COVID-19 vaccination, please visit: www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination or contact our Covid-19 booking line on 0121 387 8470.
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.
If you have any Coronavirus symptoms, you must self-isolate and arrange a PCR test. This can be done by contacting NHS 119 or by clicking here.
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.
For routine testing (where you do not have any symptoms of Coronavirus), you can order Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) directly from the government website by clicking here. Please note that you should not use an LFT if you are displaying any symptoms of Coronavirus.
For all non-Coronavirus queries, we are conducting initial patient appointments by telephone or video. This is to keep patients and our team 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 walk in 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
In line with the restoration of NHS services program, we are now re-starting our recall process for Chronic Disease management. You will be contacted on the month of your birth to book in for your annual reviews. These reviews may be done phone, online or face to face depending on the review that you need.
If we ask you to attend the surgery, it is important that you attend at the time of your appointment. Please do not attend earlier than your appointment time, as we only have a limited number of seats available in the waiting area, as we attempt to reduce the risks associated with Coronavirus.
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.
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.
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 10 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.
Face to face appointments
The surgery front doors are now open, however, for patient and staff safety please only attend if you have a booked appointment or have been asked to enter the building by a member of the practice team. Please do not attend the practice for any other reason as all other queries can be dealt with on the telephone.
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 as normal. 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 advice was paused on 1 April 2021, however if you previously received a shielding letter you should consider additional precautions you might wish to take.
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
Travel or Events
If you intend to attend a large event or to travel please make sure that you have familiarised yourself with any airline and individual entry requirements before you travel.
The NHS App provides evidence of your COVID-19 vaccinations, which you may need for travel or to access large sporting events for example. An official letter can also be requested via the app.
Please note that West Heath Surgery are unable to produce official proof of vaccinations and this must be requested through the NHS app.
For more information on the NHS app please click here.
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 – Monday 14th December 2020