Covid-19 Update from The Meadows Medical Practice (19 March 2020)
The situation regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic is rapidly changing and new measures are being put in place almost on a daily basis. It is therefore important that everyone keeps up to date with the national guidance by listening to the news or accessing the recommended government website https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
At the surgery, we are working swiftly to make preparations to ensure that we can continue to support you as safely as possible during this challenging time. We understand that you may be worried, especially if you feel you may be at higher risk. Particular care needs to be taken in patients aged over 70, those with underlying respiratory illness, those who are immunosuppressed, and cancer patients. However, The vast majority of patients make a full recovery from this infection.
To limit the spread of the virus and to prioritise patients with urgent needs, in anticipation that we may ourselves have staff who need to stay at home because they are ill or need to self-isolate, it is very important that we reduce the footfall into the practice. We have therefore made the following operational changes (at the time of going to press):
We are encouraging as many patients as possible to contact the surgery for non-urgent problems via eConsult by using the link on our website. These queries will be actioned quickly and we aim to give you an answer by the end of the next working day. This keeps the phone lines open for more urgent matters.
We have moved to a ‘Triage First’ policy for appointment and home visit requests. This means that you will be offered a telephone appointment first instead of coming into the practice. Some routine work will need to be delayed but much of it can be dealt with over the phone. Urgent medical conditions will be prioritised.
We have asked our Reception staff to enquire as to the reason for the appointment. This is to help the flow of patient queries and to ensure each patient gets the right advice or the right appointment with the right type of clinician. If you have a Covid query, you will be directed to NHS 111.
From mid-March we have begun to dispense 2 months supply of regular medications. This is an enormous undertaking for our dispensers so please expect that prescriptions may take longer than usual to process.
Please do not present to the Practice without telephoning first as our Front Door will be locked. This does not mean we are closed, it simply means that we are seeing patients on a case by case basis, ensuring we adhere to infection control guidelines to keep our patients and our staff as safe as possible. Please do not ring the bell unless you have an appointment as you will be turned away and asked to contact us by phone. If you are collecting medication, you will be directed to the Dispensary Window along the path on the side of the building.
Online consulting. Soon we hope to roll out the option of video consultation. It is important that patients register with Patient Access or that we have an up to date mobile phone number on your record to enable this. More information will be provided once this is up and running.
Our aim is to work with you all to fight this virus and contain the spread as best we can in accordance with the guidance that the experts provide. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we all adapt to a different way of working.
And lastly, a quick reminder of the symptoms to watch out for. If you have a high fever (> 37.8 C or >100 F) and/or a new persistent cough then you may have caught the coronavirus. You should stay at home and manage your symptoms with rest, fluids and paracetamol. You should follow the Public Health England guidance on self-isolation – this includes the rest of your household. If you become more unwell or are particularly at risk then you should contact NHS 111, preferably online, who will provide more advice.
You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.