***CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 4th July 2020 ***
From Monday 6th July we have the ability to see patients in our usual surgery setting – HOWEVER – It is not business as usual.
This has been a mammoth task due to the complications of having an urgent walk in centre in the same building, but we have been able to apply the safety measures needed to ensure yours and staff safety in keeping the government guidance through numerous complex risk assessments.
We thank you for your continued support during this crisis. We continue to operate in a way that does the most to protect the lives of our patients and our staff. This includes continuing to run all services by a telephone / video triage in the first instance.
In line with national guidance, over 90% of patients are currently safely managed by video or telephone consultations. For those that do need to be seen, all staff will be wearing PPE and cleaning areas between cases. This takes time and reduces capacity. An example of this is our phlebotomy service which is usually a 5 minute appointment is now 15/ We have limited capacity in the waiting toom because of social distancing rules and this also presents its own challenges.
COVID is still here. We are still seeing cases in the community and still need provisions for “hot sites” as well as home visiting services.
This means in terms of restarting routine services, we are a long way away from what we used to do. It is not business as usual. A much worse second wave or surge is a very real possibility and we are being guided by the Royal College of General Practitioners, our Integrated Care Partnership, Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England, to ensure we prioritise the right services and groups going forward.
With courage, commitment and teamwork our staff have risen to the challenge that COVID presented. Working more hours that even before, putting theirs and their family’s health and wellbeing at risk daily. We have innovated and brought in new technologies. We have made changes in days that normally take months or years even.
We are here for you. Please be here for us.
DO NOT attend the practice unless you have an appointment.
From 1st June we will be asking anyone attending the surgery for a face to face appointment to wear a face covering. If you don’t have a mask or scarf, a tea towel or similar held over the mouth and nose will suffice. If you attend with nothing you will we be given something to cover your mouth and nose.
This is a practice requirement for your safety as well as ours and is non negotiable.
FROM FRIDAY 3rd APRIL WE WILL NOT BE ACCEPTING ANY VISITORS TO THE PRACTICE. ALL FACE 2 FACE CONTACT WILL BE BY PRIOR ARRANGED APPOINTMENT ONLY VIA A SECURE ENTERANCE AWAY FROM THE FRONT OF THE BUILDING.
PLEASE DO NOT ATTEND THE PRACTICE FOR ANY REASON.
CALL US, EMAIL OR USE E-CONSULT.
Thank you for your Co-operation.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do
We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:
stay at home as much as possible
work from home if you can
limit contact with other people
keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
wash your hands regularly
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
Anyone can spread the virus.
If you are struggling with help as you’re shielding or living with someone who has to shield please call 0800 0288327, the Government’s dedicated helpline, Sunderland City Council on 0800 234 6084 / firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us and we will refer you onto our social prescribers who can link you with services and volunteers available in your area to assist with shopping, taking care of pets/walking, making meals, delivering food parcels, giving support, collecting prescriptions/medicines. You can also click here to register for assistance.
We have had a lot of requests from parents and carers asking if we had ideas on how to keep the children entertained if we go into lockdown due to the Coronavirus outbreak. These are worrying times but look out for each other, check on elderly neighbours and try not to panic.
If schools shut down which is looking likely, many parents will be looking for ways to keep their children occupied while potentially trying to juggle working from home themselves. We have put together some ideas to try and make this time easier.
Click on the following links for some ideas:
123 Homeschool for ME
Free printable worksheets and educational activities to help making learning fun. Resources arranged by grade or subject.
Purple Mash is a website designed for children aged 3-11. It contains many creative tools ie: coding, animation, publishing, art and also applications for maths, spelling and grammar.
Bitesize is the BBC’s free online study support resource for school-age students in the United Kingdom. It is designed to aid students in both schoolwork and, for older students, exams.
Lots of exercise activties for movement breaks.
ABDO’s entire eBook collection is now available to students to access at home for free.
Activity Village provides thousands of colouring pages, crafts, puzzles, worksheets and more, for parents and teachers.
All Kids Network
We offer FREE educational resources, worksheets, writing prompts, themed colouring pages, craft and snack ideas for parents, teachers and caregivers.
Artrageous with Nate
Videos about artists and art projects to create.
Bamboo Learning offers FREE voice-based applications (Alexa skills) that cover a range of academic subjects, including math, ELA/listening comprehension, and social studies.Website: https://bit.ly/33xffad
Black Box Education
Digital and interactive resources for drama, dance and theatre.Website: https://bit.ly/3diSjjt
We can’t advise you whether you should or shouldn’t self isolate if you are at risk, we have a considerable number of patients – please follow the guidance I know it’s not perfect but we don’t have anything else we can tell you.
EMPLOYMENT & FINANCIAL
If you fall into the highest risk category you will have received a letter or text from NHS England with details on shielding.
Those at high risk will be contacted by their GP surgery in the coming days once NHS Digital have compiled the relevant criteria for us to identify those that fall into this cohort.
The NHS and Public Health England (PHE) are extremely well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.
Do not go to a GP surgery, community pharmacy or hospital.
You can of course call us for advice.
Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also be infected by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.
It’s scary to learn that an illness such as coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading across the globe. The early stages of a pandemic can be especially anxiety-provoking. During this time, you don’t know how widespread or deadly the illness is going to end up being.
Ways to take care of yourself include:
- Reading the news from reliable sources (and take breaks from the news)
- Recognizing the things you can control, like having good hygiene
- Taking measures only if recommended by Public Health
- Practicing self-care
- Seeking professional help should your feelings become unmanageable
Please follow the links below for more support.
Due to the interruption of the medicines supply we have been advised to change our prescribing, you may find that some items are only 1 month supply instead of your usual 2 months. This may be because of interruptions in supply, we will of course keep you up to date with any developments going forward. Any medications that are not able to go via EPS will be posted out to you or sent to your pharmacy of choice and you can collect them from there.
We can’t do prescriptions early or give you more just in case – the pharmacies are struggling already, you don’t want the pharmacies to be like the supermarkets.
We can’t give you an inhaler even though you had one 5 years ago when you had a bad cough – just in case – I know it’s scary but lots of people really really need these inhalers and if you get one just in case they might not be able to get one that they really need!
We cant give you paracetamol on prescription just because you cant buy it over the counter.
Thank you for your cooperation at this time.
NHS Immunisations FAQs (for public)
Why aren’t you stopping routine immunisations?
Whilst preventing the spread of COVID-19 and caring for those infected is a public health priority, it is very important to maintain good coverage of immunisations, particularly in the childhood programme. In addition to protecting the individual, this will avoid outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases that could increase further the numbers of patients requiring health services.
Should people/babies really still go and be immunised at their GP surgery even though there is a risk that by doing this they may be infected with COVID-19?
Your GP surgery or health clinic will take all possible precautions to protect you and your baby from COVID-19. People should still attend for routine vaccinations unless they are unwell (check with your GP whether you should still attend) or self-isolating because they have been in contact with someone with COVID-19. In these circumstances please rearrange your appointment. Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent against other infectious diseases. Babies and toddlers in particular need vaccinations to protect them from measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, diphtheria, whooping cough, meningitis, polio, tetanus, hepatitis B, TB and more.
What are “routine” childhood immunisations?
The national immunisation programme is highly successful in reducing the incidence of serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases such as pneumococcal and meningococcal infections, whooping cough, diphtheria and measles. It remains important to maintain the best possible vaccine uptake to prevent a resurgence of these infections.
Practices will be prioritising the following:
- Routine childhood immunisations, from 8 weeks up to and including vaccines due at one year of age including first MMR and hepatitis B for at risk infants;
- Pertussis vaccination in pregnancy;
- Pneumococcal vaccination for those in risk groups from 2 to 64 years of age and those aged 65 years and over (subject to supplies of PPV23 and clinical prioritisation).
Neonatal BCG and all doses of targeted hepatitis B vaccines should also be offered in a timely manner.
If you are not doing school age immunisations, isn’t there a risk that we will see big increases in the diseases those children are normally vaccinated against?
School aged immunisations will be rescheduled. UK government has provided clear public health advice on specific measures to take to prevent further Coronavirus cases which includes social distancing. On this basis, community clinics are not recommended given that this is likely to increase the risk of exposure to the virus.
Do GP surgeries really still have the time to do immunisations?
Practices will be busy responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the routine childhood immunisation programme will continue to play an important role in preventing ill-health through causes other than coronavirus infection.
How important is it that you get your immunisation at the time you are called? Is there a risk in delaying for a few months and if there isn’t then why don’t we stop and reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 through a visit to the general practice?
Parents should be informed that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that routine childhood immunisations are started and completed on time. This will help protect the infant or child from a range of serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Whilst infections such as invasive pneumococcal and meningococcal disease are now much reduced in incidence, this has only come
about because of high levels of vaccination. To prevent resurgence, infants still need protecting through vaccination. Pertussis continues to circulate at elevated levels and it remains important that pregnant women are offered the pertussis vaccine, and that their babies start receiving protection against this, and other infections, from 8 weeks of age.
There is a shortage of liquid infant paracetamol which is often used by parents to help manage a baby’s reaction to their routine immunisations so won’t parents stop bringing their babies because of this?
Vaccination to protect from serious conditions should not be delayed. Whilst parents should continue to try to obtain and administer infant paracetamol if possible, infant vaccines can and should still be given even if it is not possible to give prophylactic paracetamol.
Where parents have been unable to obtain infant paracetamol, the following advice is for clinical staff in primary care and parents.
- • Fever can be expected after any vaccination but is more common when the MenB vaccine (Bexsero) is given with the other routine vaccines at eight and sixteen weeks of age.
- • In infants who do develop a fever after vaccination, the fever tends to peak around six hours after vaccination and is nearly always gone completely within two days.
- • Ibuprofen can alternatively be used to treat a fever and other post-vaccination reactions. Prophylactic ibuprofen at the time of vaccination is not effective. Ibuprofen is not licensed for infants under the age of 3 months or body-weight under 5 kg. However, the BNF for Children advises that ibuprofen can be used for post-immunisation pyrexia in infants aged 2 to 3 months, on doctor’s advice only, using 50 mg for 1 dose, followed by 50 mg after 6 hours if required. See the BNF for Children for more details https://bnfc.nice.org.uk/drug/ibuprofen.html#indicationsAndDoses
- • There have been concerns about the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, in relation to COVID-19. This is being investigated by the Commission on Human Medicines and NICE. NHS England have advised in the interim for patients who have confirmed COVID-19, or believe they have COVID-19, that they use paracetamol in preference to NSAIDs. If parents cannot obtain their own supply of infant paracetamol and it has not been possible to prescribe it, as their baby will have been assessed as being well before vaccination, providing their baby has fever only and no symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection, consideration should be given to using ibuprofen as described above. https://www.cas.mhra.gov.uk/ViewandAcknowledgment/ViewAlert.aspx?AlertID=103001
- • Information about treating a fever in children is available from the NHS UK webpage “Fever in children” at www.nhs.uk/conditions/fever-in-children/
- • If an infant still has a fever 48 hours after vaccination or if parents are concerned about their infant’s health at any time, they should seek advice from their GP or NHS 111.
- • The diseases that the vaccines protect against are very serious and therefore vaccination should not be delayed because of concerns about post-vaccination fever.
How will parents know when their babies have a temperature after their regular immunisations whether it is an expected reaction or COVID-19?
Parents should be advised that the vaccines given may cause a fever which is usually resolved within 48 hours (or 6 to 11 days following MMR). This is a common expected reaction and isolation is not required, unless COVID-19 is suspected.
When the MenB vaccine (Bexsero) is given with other vaccines at 8 and 16 weeks of age, fever is more common. Where parents are able to obtain liquid infant paracetamol, they should follow existing
PHE guidance on the use of prophylactic paracetamol following MenB vaccination available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/menb-vaccine-and-paracetamol
Indications to date suggest that COVID-19 causes mild or asymptomatic illness in infants and children. As has always been recommended, any infant with fever after vaccination should be monitored and if parents are concerned about their infant’s health at any time, they should seek advice from their GP or NHS 111. Post-immunisation fever alone is not a reason to self-isolate.
This advice applies to recently vaccinated people of all ages.
Any infant with fever after vaccination should be monitored and if parents are concerned about their infant’s health at any time, they should seek advice from their GP or NHS 111.
Should people aged 70 and over attend the practice for immunisation?
It is recommended that PPV23 continues to be offered to eligible groups, including those aged 70 and over who have not previously been vaccinated. If an eligible individual aged 70 years and over attends the practice for other reasons, the opportunity to vaccinate them should be used. This may also present an opportunity to vaccinate them against shingles if they are eligible.
AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR PATIENTS 13th March 2020
HYLTON MEDICAL GROUP
Patient Statement regarding Coronavirus / COVID 19
It is possible that in the coming weeks there may be a reduced service with no routine appointments available at short notice due to staffing or operational issues, however we are making every effort to provide online access via e-consult and telephone triage access should this become an issue in practice.
This virus has bought new and increasing challenges and our primary concern remains keeping our patients and our staff as safe as possible.
For that reason, we are putting in place some pre-emptive contingencies to reduce the possibility of spreading the virus.
From Monday 16th march all appointments that were pre-booked have been screened for any COVID 19 symptoms.
ALL newly booked appointments will be via the telephone with a GP or practice nurse.
If the clinician feels they need to see you they will give you an appointment later that day.
These measures may be different from practice to practice, and we ask for your patience and co-operation in supporting any measures put in place to protect you.
Practices have suspended online Face to Face appointment booking to mitigate any risk of potentially infected patients booking an appointment online to attend the surgery when they should be receiving advice to self-isolate and use the NHS 111 online service at https://111.nhs.uk/service/covid-19.
111 will arrange for testing, if needed, and will advise on self-isolation measures, should they be necessary.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
For all medical issues, please call the surgery as usual. If your need is urgent for the day you will be added to a telephone clinic. A clinician will call you and either manage your problem on the phone or arrange a same-day appointment if needed.
Telephone appointments allow for triage and are more effective in signposting patients to the most appropriate service.
We offer e-consult or email services, and we would encourage people to use these facilities for non-urgent queries. You do not need to be registered for online access to avail of the e-consult service.
You may be asked at times to wear a mask whilst being examined, and we ask that should this be requested of you that you comply. We need to keep our clinicians safe so they can continue to treat patients.
We would like to reassure you that we are continually refining our plans for this outbreak and are working together to minimise impact on our services. All updates will be via this forum.
Please don’t shout at your GP staff when they can’t do these things because remember we will still make sure you get the medication you NEED and we will still provide the best possible care – over the phone or Face to face if absolutely necessary!!
We thank you for your understanding.