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 vaccinations.

We endeavor to provide as many services by phone or video consultation to keep our patients and staff as safe as possible, and will only invite you to a face to face appointment if it is absolutely necessary to improve your care and safe to do so.

Vaccination Programme

We are pleased that West Heath Surgery continues to be a COVID vaccination centre. 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 the reception team or use the National Booking Service to book your appointment.

The recent government announcement has now added those aged between 16 and 18 in an at-risk group, or all patients turning 18 within the next three months, to the list of eligible cohorts.

We have been asked by NHSEI to start delivering the COVID-19 Booster vaccination programme in September. 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 programme.

If you need more information on the COVID-19 vaccination, please visit: www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination

Find out more information about who is eligible here

 

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.

Non-Coronavirus queries

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 4470This 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 programme, 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.

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 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 Letters

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

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

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