This FAQs page is to try and answer some of the common questions we have been asked over the past week since we changed our appointment system and processes in light of the current Coronavirus Pandemic.
Every question or medical query that we receive from patients through AskMyGP will be asked several screening questions by reception to determine the correct pathway for your problem. This is to protect both patients and staff from any possible infection and to avoid any unnecessary traffic in the surgery. This may mean that you are advised to contact another service, for example, 111 or to self-isolate and look after yourself at home.
Please be assured we are following correct safety procedures to ensure that you all receive the best and most appropriate care possible in the current climate.
Due to the current outbreak, government advice is now that all surgeries should conduct telephone or online consultations wherever possible to try and reduce the transmission of Coronavirus. Having lots of sick or vulnerable patients sat in the waiting room will increase the risk of transmission and put those whom are most vulnerable at higher risk. For this reason, you are not currently able to book in for a face-to-face appointment.
Most problems we deal with in General Practice are mild self-limiting illnesses or problems that could be safely managed with self-care or telephone advice. Please do not come to surgery to try and book an appointment or if you are unwell. All requests for GP or nurse appointments must be requested through AskMyGP.
You will then be asked several screening questions and the GP will then determine if you are required to attend the surgery, providing you have not answered yes to any of the screening questions.
We know this has happened in other practices round the country, however, please be aware that by being dishonest about your symptoms, for instance, denying that you have a temperature or a cough, not only are you putting our clinicians and our staff at undue risk, but you are now also breaking the law.
Under new emergency legislation, The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, it is now an offence to provide false or misleading information intentionally or recklessly to any person carrying out a function under these Regulations. Additionally, under the same regulations, the Police will have the power to detain people infected or possibly infected with coronavirus.
These measures have been put in place to protect everyone and therefore we ask that you be responsible and think of not only yourself, but that of others who may come into contact with you.
This is correct. There is a small proportion of problems that cannot be dealt with effectively by telephone. In these situations, the GP will assess the problem over the phone first, or through AskMyGP and if necessary, we may suggest you attend the surgery for a face-to-face appointment.
These face-to-face appointments will only be offered if we feel the patient may come to significant harm by not being seen promptly and if we feel there is something we may be able to offer face-to-face that would alter the course of the illness.
Because we are unable to screen you for infection if you book an online appointment, we have followed national guidance to suspend online booking. If you feel you need to see us, we advise that you contact us through AskMyGP with as much detail as possible and we can try and help.
There is no specific treatment for coronavirus, as it is a virus, and antibiotics do not help. We cannot 'check you' to tell you if it definitely is coronavirus or not and we do not have any access to testing.
Given significant community spread of coronavirus, you might well have it if you develop symptoms, but it is actually more important that you self-isolate to prevent further spread of infection. This is to protect yourself and others, therefore, please do not come to surgery if you think you have it.
Some nursing procedures are still being carried out, such as baby vaccs and hormone injections.
Please note, you will still be contacted prior to your appointment for screening and your appointment may be cancelled if we feel it is more beneficial for you to avoid the surgery.
The full list of nurse procedures that are still being carried out can be found below:
2,3,4 months 1 year and pre-school immunisations
Dressings as requested by GP
ECG requested by GP
Hormone Injections (Nebido, Prostap, Decapeptyl, Zolodex & Sustanon)
Removal of sutures
Smears where had colposcopy 6m ago or were told to have repeat after 1y
To avoid cross contamination or infection at the surgery, we are encouraging patients not to bring their paper prescriptions into the surgery to order their monthly medication.
Please order your medication through SystmOnline as normal or through AskMyGP by stating the exact medication you wish to order. For example, we cannot accept requests that say “please order all of my medication”. We must have specific requests for each individual item.
If you are unable to use the internet to order your medication, we are accepting telephone requests as a last resort for a limited time during this period of uncertainty.
This has been written to help you understand the difference between self isolation and
social distancing and who is being advised to do which. We strongly suggest that you read this and work out which applies to you as an individual. It would be really sensible to discuss this with everyone who lives in the same house as you, your line manager at work and those who you would normally wish to socialise with. If need be, print this off & show it to them.
Your Doctors are busy trying to save lives, so please do not contact them asking for letters which justify your need to Self-Isolate or Social Distance. The flow chart below shows what you should be doing and what paperwork is available.
We are still issuing medication as normal as and when patients require it. You may order via SystmOnline as normal, AskMyGP by stating each item requested or by telephone as a last resort for a limited time during this period.
Medication will be ready to collect within 3 working days. Please do not leave collection of your medication for any longer than this. As you can appreciate, our dispensing team are working extremely hard to get repeat prescriptions ready for patients and they do not have the room to store made up prescriptions for a long period of time.
If you are self-isolating please send a family member or friend to the surgery to collect your medication or contact one of the local teams who are offering help. If you need any more information regarding who to contact, please get in touch with us through AskMyGP.
There has been an unhelpful and misleading message being widely spread on social media advising people with respiratory conditions including asthma and COPD to seek “rescue medication” from their GP.
Please DO NOT ask your GP for ‘rescue medication’ if you don’t usually have standby medication for your respiratory condition. The original post was taken down. It was posted in good faith but is potentially dangerous and is certainly unhelpful.
British Lung Foundation’s response
“We’ve been made aware of some posts on social media saying that if you have a lung condition, your GP will issue a rescue pack of steroids and antibiotics.
If you're normally advised to have a rescue pack available to treat your lung condition then it's a good idea to check you have one. This is recommended for some with COPD to be used as part of a personalised plan. For people with asthma, we do not recommend these as standard.
If someone’s asthma is bad enough to consider steroids it is essential they are assessed by a health care professional. Even at this busy time for the NHS, getting early support for any problems with your lungs is critical to keep you well and out of hospital.”
Along similar lines, please do not stockpile inhalers. If you haven’t needed one for many years don’t ask for one now. We are seeing increasing supply issues due to over-ordering. Please be patient with your community pharmacist, they are doing the best they can in difficult circumstances.
If you need to speak to us about any forms you are dropping off, please phone us rather than approaching the reception desk.
We will try to post any forms to patients as much as we can but if the GP, nurse or other staff member has asked you to come to surgery to collect a form, you may come to the desk for this but please ensure you stay well back from the desk behind the cones and please keep your distance from other people in the queue or waiting area.
The diagram below refers to the projected number of people who will contract COVID-19 over a period of time. (To be clear, this is not a hard prediction of how many people will definitely be infected, but a theoretical number that's used to model the virus' spread.)
The faster the infection curve rises, the quicker the local health care system gets overloaded beyond its capacity to treat people. As we're seeing in Italy, more and more new patients may be forced to go without ICU beds, and more and more hospitals may run out of the basic supplies they need to respond to the outbreak.
A flatter curve, on the other hand, assumes the same number of people ultimately get infected, but over a longer period of time. A slower infection rate means a less stressed health care system, fewer hospital visits on any given day and fewer sick people being turned away.
So we are making these changes to aid in slowing infection rates, thus, helping to 'flattening the curve'.
No individual, village, town or city is immune to catching coronavirus. Being a new virus, the entire world's population had no previous immunity to it.
It is important to understand that the confirmed cases are only those who have had a positive swab and as it currently stands in the UK, only those people unwell enough to be in hospital are currently being swabbed. This means that many more people who are well enough to stay at home are not being tested but this doesn’t mean they don’t have coronavirus.
The government estimates that at present there are approximately 10,000 people in the UK with coronavirus and this number is rapidly escalating on a daily basis, so it is impossible to say that coronavirus isn't in Woodhall Spa. The chances are that it is already here and if it isn’t now, the likelihood is it will be given time, hence the need for strict protective measures now.
No one knows how long the current pandemic will be around for. Experts expect it to be at least several months as a minimum and probably into the summer and beyond. It is clear things will get significantly worse before things start to get better so we ask for your cooperation and consideration at this very challenging time for all. We will keep you informed as and when things change but for now the current changes to our practice are indefinite.