All posts by Scott Clark

Upcoming COVID-19 Lockdown

As we are sure you know National Lockdown starts this Thursday for 4 weeks. Please be assured that we will still be working as usual during this time; adhering to all Covid guidelines.

We are continuing to offer routine appointments with our nurse team; if you have an appointment booked please attend as they will be expecting you. We will continue to offer on the day telephone triage by our Clinical team, as per Government guidelines, of all patients with new or ongoing medical problems.

The E-consultation service via our website will also continue and can be used at any time of the day or night; the appropriate member of staff will answer questions to all your non-urgent medical problems within 48 hours.

Remember it is important not to postpone assessment of your symptoms simply because of lockdown.

Bowel Cancer Screening (BCS)

People aged over 74 or 60-74 who have not responded can request a screening kit by contacting the bowel cancer screening helpline on 0800 707 6060.

Polypectomy as part of Bowel Cancer Screening can prevent colon cancer from developing.

Bowel Cancer Screening saves lives!

Message to Parents

Dear Parent or Guardian,

This is a very challenging time we find ourselves in and there is understandably a lot of anxiety in the community around school age children, their risk from COVID-19 and the potential impact of school absence both for that child and for the family as a whole. This letter is to help you access up-to-date information to help us all work together over the next few months.

1.    Symptoms of coronavirus in children

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – this means they cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Please be reassured that if your child has symptoms of the usual winter bugs eg: runny nose or sore throat but DOES NOT have any of the symptoms listed above then they can still go to school.

2.    What to do if your child has the above symptoms

If your child has any of the main symptoms of coronavirus:

  1. Get a test to check if they have coronavirus as soon as possible – please be aware that you cannot under any circumstances get a test through your GP surgery so please do not ring for this purpose alone. You can ONLY get a test through ‘NHS 111 online’ OR by ringing 119 if you do not have access to the internet.
  2. Stay at home and do not have visitors until you get the test result – only leave your home to have a test. Please only order a test for the person in your household who has symptoms. These tests are NOT for individuals who do not have symptoms.

Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get the result. 

3.    What you can do to decide if your child needs to see a GP

If you are worried about your child please click on the link below to an excellent website called ‘Healthier Together’ where there is lots of very useful information about managing illness in children: https://what0-18.nhs.uk/ ​

There is also a page dedicated to COVID-19 in children. It is important to remember that COVID-19 appears to generally cause mild illness in children. Only about 1 in every 100 cases diagnosed in the UK have been in children and infection is generally far milder in children than it is in adults, although we do not yet understand exactly why this is the case. Once you have looked at your child’s symptoms if you are still concerned and think they need to be seen then please either:

  • access NHS 111 online OR ring 111 for COVID-19 symptoms
  • if you do not think your child’s illness is due to COVID-19 then please contact your GP practice.

With best wishes

The Avenue Surgery

 

Flu vaccination 2020

You may have heard the recent Government announcement that Flu vaccinations will be offered to all patients over 50 due to Covid-19. These will not be available until later this year. If you are in this age category and wish to have a Flu vaccination, you do not need to contact us we will contact you, once the vaccine is available, to arrange your vaccination.

Patient Notice

Over the last few months you are likely to have noticed a difference in the way things are being done in general practice as we manage coronavirus (Covid-19).

We want to start off by saying thank you.

Thank you for adapting so quickly to these new ways of working – it has been the drastic, yet fundamental, change needed to ensure the safety of you and our staff.

To slow down the spread of coronavirus, we have worked to reduce the number of people coming into the practice by using online consultation systems like e-Consult (on our website), telephone appointments and video consultations.

Our top priority is, and has always been, to keep you and our staff safe while ensuring you get the care you need.

This is why we ask you to continue what you have been doing to access your GP service.

Please do not visit the GP practice without an appointment.

Instead call the practice or go to our practice website. You can speak to a GP or nurse over the phone, or have a video consultation. This will often mean you get to see the right person to help you, much quicker.

If a doctor or nurse does need to see you in person then you will be given an appointment to attend the practice.

Only coming in to the surgery with an appointment means:

  • you will get seen promptly
  • you are reducing your risk of catching/spreading coronavirus by avoiding a waiting room
  • you are helping to keep staff healthy and safe
  • The practice is able to maintain a clean environment and protect you from the virus

Please also remember that if you are offered an appointment then it might be to see a doctor or nurse you are not familiar with.

Your records will still be accessible securely to you and to them, ensuring they are able to provide you with the best possible care.

In light of Covid we are changing the way we are managing patients with long term conditions to ensure that you do not spend any longer in the surgery than needed; thereby reducing any potential infection risk.

We continue to run the Station Road site as a ‘Hot hub’ where we see patients who may have infection that might be infectious to others. The Avenue is kept for routine reviews and any patients who need physical examinations.

We would like to keep our foot fall within the surgery as light as possible in line with Government guidelines. For this reason we are asking all patients with long term conditions such as diabetes or heart disease to purchase their own standard Blood Pressure machine thereby preventing any possible cross infection. These are readily bought from places such as Amazon or Boots Chemist at a cost of £20 – £35. The readings can then be sent in by E-consult available on our website or by writing your readings down and dropping them off to the receptionist at the front door at the main surgery when you attend for your blood test. We would also ask you to let us know your (accurate) current weight

This years flu clinics are going to be a challenge that we are happy to rise to! Patients entitled to flu vaccination will be sent an invitation. To keep patients safe we are running clinics in three different cohorts at differing times of day; those patients most at risk and previously shielding, over 65 years of age and then those under 65 years of age. In each clinic we will only be seeing patients specifically in that cohort; please do not attend hoping to get your jab at the same time – we are running a ‘no slot; no shot’ system this year. Everyone MUST have an appointment. We will also be asking you not to attend before your designated appointment time as we will not be able to let you into the building no matter what the weather and to wear a mask please. We will apply all relevant PPE and abide by government guidelines for infection control.

Bookable online appointments and telephone appointments will be available from mid-August.

We have supplied a document of frequently asked questions, which may help answer any questions you may have’

Thank you once again for your support and understanding as we all adapt to a new way of working.

Martin Randall
Practice Manager

 

 

 

 


 

FAQ document  

GP appointments and bookings

The way we access GP services has changed.

Below are some frequently asked questions that may help you understand these changes:  

Why can’t I walk into my GP practice?

The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has forced us all to work differently to help slow down the spread of the virus. All healthcare settings are taking special measures to protect you, the public and their staff. GP practices are working as hard as ever, but differently.

Where possible we want to avoid people having to wait inside a waiting room together, as we know this increases the risk of the virus spreading.

Like hospitals and dentists, we have also had to change how we offer our services to you.

If you do need to come in, then we can ensure there are a minimal number of people in the practice, we can maintain social distancing and keep patients and staff safe.

How do I get an appointment?

The easiest and most effective method is to use e-Consult through the practice website, or you can telephone.

You will then be contacted by a clinician to talk through your symptoms either over the phone, via email, or if needed and you have the available technology, through a video consultation.

Why can’t I book a face-to-face appointment?

We have adapted the way in which you can get an appointment quickly and safely.

Most patient’s health concerns can be managed over the phone or via video consultation.

This is why we are providing you with either an initial phone call or video consultation to decide what would be the best way to help. If we can support you without needing you to come into the practice then we reduce the need for you to travel, and reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

If you do need a face-to-face appointment, you will be invited to attend the practice.

If we can ensure there are a minimal number of people in the practice, we can maintain social distancing and keep patients and staff safe.

What is e-Consult?

You can access e-Consult via the practice website.

It lets patients consult with their own NHS GP online by completing a quick form which is reviewed by the practice.

After reviewing your query, you will then be directed toward the most appropriate help. This might be some advice on self-help, pharmacy advice, an appointment with one of the practice clinical team or another service. Your data is secure at all times – including during a video consultation or telephone call.

What if I do not have access to a smartphone or web camera?

While technology has evolved and supports us all in many different ways in our day-to-day lives, we appreciate not everyone will have access to a smartphone or web camera for a video consultation.

We can still talk to you on your mobile phone or landline.

Will I need to wear a face mask if I come into my practice for an appointment?

To help limit the spread of the virus, we are asking for all patients aged 12 and over to wear a face covering when they come to the practice.

This doesn’t have to be a face mask, but a cloth covering which covers your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably.

It can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.

You can find additional information by visiting:

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

How do I get a repeat prescription?

You can order your repeat prescription by calling P.O.D. (Prescription Ordering Direct) by telephone on 0300 123 6242

Repeat Prescriptions can also be ordered on-line if you are registered to use “Systm-Online”   systmonline.tpp-uk.com

Please do not come to the practice to request your prescription. If you have a query please telephone the reception team.

How do I cancel or move a booked appointment?

Please call the Practice on 01985 224600 if you need to cancel your appointment.

Alternatively, if you get the appointment text reminders you can reply “CANCEL” to the text and your appointment will be cancelled automatically.

Is the drop in blood clinic still in operation?

Unfortunately we cannot guarantee social distancing with a drop-in clinic. All bloods are on an appointment basis only.

 How do I see a GP during the evening and weekends?

For evening and weekend access to GPs please either visit 111.nhs.uk or call NHS 111.

What if I am not registered with a GP practice?

You can call any GP surgery to get emergency treatment for up to 14 days if you are not registered with a GP or are away from home.

If your treatment will last longer than 14 days, you’ll have to register as a temporary or permanent resident. You can find more information about this via www.nhs.uk and search ‘how to register with a GP practice’.

If you are a resident in the area and need to register with a practice, then it’s best to look at practices where your home falls within its geographical boundaries. You can check a GP practice boundary by visiting their website.

Once you have selected which practice you would like to register with, make contact with them either by calling or visiting their website.

You will be asked to fill out a registration form and once it is completed and returned, NHS England will transfer your medical records to your new practice. They will also write to you to confirm your registration with your chosen practice.

What do I do if I think I have coronavirus (Covid-19)?

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms then DO NOT visit your GP practice. You should visit 111.nhs.uk/covid-19 or call NHS 111 if you cannot get help online.

You must self-isolate for seven days from when your symptoms started. Anyone you live with, or in your support bubble, who does not have symptoms must self-isolate for 14 days from when the first person started having symptoms. You must also ask for a test as soon as you start showing symptoms. You can do this online – visit   www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test

Be Clear on Cancer

 

Regarding symptoms of Cancer

As you may have seen in the media we would like to encourage anyone who has potential cancer signs to contact us promptly.

We would like you to complete an online eConsult or call the surgery if you have any of the following:

  • A mole that is changing, growing, itching or bleeding.
  • A lump in your breast or testicle or an unusual lump elsewhere.
  • A persistent change in your bowels especially if you are going more often. *
  • Blood or discharge from your vagina, bowel, nose or in your urine.
  • Indigestion that is severe or persistent or if you have difficulty swallowing. *
  • Persistent cough or hoarse voice. *
  • Unexplained weight loss, bloating, fatigue or night sweats.
  • An unexplained pain or other symptoms that are worrying you.

*We would consider anything that has lasted for 3 weeks or longer to be persistent.

If you know anyone who has any of these symptoms, please tell them that they should contact the surgery so they can get it checked out.

In the majority of cases there will be nothing to worry about but it is important that we detect cancers early and if possible reassure you.

You are twice as likely to survive cancer now as you were 40 years ago.

Be Cautious about Cancer

BE CAUTIOUS about CANCER

Your GP wants to know if you have any of these symptoms.

These symptoms may be harmless but can be caused by cancer or other conditions, so contact your GP to discuss them.

Quick assessment means faster reassurance if all is well. If there is a problem, an earlier diagnosis means better chances of a full recovery.

Better outcomes with

Earlier assessment of:

Change in bowel/bladder function

A mouth ulcer or skin problem which isn’t healing

Unexpected bleeding/discharge (eg bowel/vagina/nose)

Thickness/lump in a breast/nipple/elsewhere

Indigestion – severe & persistent/swallowing difficulty

Ongoing cough/hoarseness

Unusual appearance of a mole/wart

Symptoms of unexplained weight loss/bloating/extreme fatigue/excessive night sweats/unexplained pain

TELL YOUR GP ABOUT ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS.

 

For more help and advice, visit www.cancermatterswessex.nhs.uk

 

Mental Wellbeing

In order to support people during this worrying time, we have provided a list of useful contacts to help with mental wellbeing.

Wiltshire IAPT – Psychological Therapies (Talking Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

Trained practitioners to help you understand and find ways of tackling, coping and working out life’s problems, including stress, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, obsessions, difficulty coping & post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Includes individual or group sessions, workshops and interactive computer programmes.

01722 820267 (Salisbury) 01380 731335 (Devizes) 01793 836836 (Swindon)
https://iapt-wilts.awp.nhs.uk/ (Salisbury + Devizes), https://www.seqol.org/lift-psychology (Swindon)

Reading Well – Books on Prescription

Self-help books for managing common conditions. Please visit your local library or visit the website below.

www.reading-well.org.uk

 Links to Work

Provide support to return to work for those who are unemployed with health and other issues

0800 917 9262  www.linkstowork.co.uk

Mindfulness

Meditation exercises to enable you to pay attention to the present moment, helping you become more aware of your thoughts & feelings. Proven to help stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue & sleep problems, addictions, relationship problems, and even physical problems like heart disease, hypertension and chronic pain.

www.headspace.com www.bemindful.co.uk www.mindfulness.org

Every Mind Matters

Expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

Mind

Provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem

0300 123 3393 www.mind.org.uk

 Mental Health Crisis

For support in a mental health crisis and to prevent self-harm or suicide (in an emergency call 999 or 111)

www.maytree.org.uk 020 7263 7070 App: www.prevent-suicide.org.uk/stay_alive_suicide_prevention_mobile_phone_application.html

On Your Mind

Signposts children and young people to sources of support for good mental health and emotional wellbeing

www.onyourmind.org.uk

Relate

Counselling, support and information for all relationships

0300 100 1234  www.relate.org.uk

 Samaritans

Someone who will listen to you and will help you talk through your concerns, worries and troubles

116 123 www.samaritans.org

Cruse Bereavement Care

Provide support and care after a bereavement

0808 808 1677 www.cruse.org.uk

Citizens Advice

Offer free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to help people resolve numerous issues that may be affecting your mental wellbeing, including advices on benefits, work, finance, consumer, relationship, housing, discrimination, tax, education, healthcare and legal issues.

0300 4568375 (Wiltshire) 03444 111 444 (National)
www.cabwiltshire.org.uk www.adviceguide.org.uk

Other Resources

www.patient.co.uk www.nhs.uk/moodzone www.ntw.nhs.uk/pic/selfhelp
www.anxietyuk.org.uk www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk www.onyourmind.org.uk
www.beatingtheblues.co.uk www.nopanic.org.uk www.youngminds.org.uk

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP)

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust has launched a 24-hour telephone support service.

Anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s mental health can call 0300 3031320 and speak to mental health experts who will provide advice, guidance and support over the telephone.

The mental health 24/7 response line is available around the clock for adults and children seven days a week.