•••• FAQ’s ••••
We advise that you check the Government website for the latest COVID-19 updates as advice is changing rapidly and often daily – https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
We have had to make some changes to the way we work, to protect our patients, staff and community. Many of these changes, NHS England and Public Health, have asked us to make, and are constantly changing.
Covid-19 – The compulsory wearing of a face covering in shops/public transport
The introduction of the requirement for people to wear a face covering whilst in a shop or on public transport is intended to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
There are certain groups of people who are exempt from this requirement and they include:
- children under the age of 11,
- people with disabilities
- those with breathing difficulties or
- those who are travelling with someone who relies on lip reading.
These groups of people, their parents or guardians are able to indicate the reason, if required, as to why they are not wearing a face covering.
General practice is under considerable pressure as a direct result of the current challenges they are faced with delivering a service to patients at the same time as coping with the consequences of this virus.
There is no requirement for general practice to issue letters for patients who are unable to wear face coverings, as the Government have clearly defined the exemptions to this requirement.
General practice needs to focus all its time and effort managing those who need their help and not be diverted from this by unnecessary tasks.
You are able to print your own exemption cards if you so wish and these can be accessed via the following link: https://www.keepsafe.org.uk/card
Where you are unable to socially distance we would encourage you to consider wearing a face mask/covering, it isn’t a fix all, but it will significantly reduce the risk of catching the virus for millions of people.
I have symptoms of COVID-19, what do I do?
Visiting the 111 website remains the first thing to do in this situation. There are a series of questions to answer and it will advise you of the path to take. If 111 advise you to contact us, then please do so. You will be put on the list for a phone call with the GP and they will assess you over the phone.
Who needs to isolate for 12 weeks? –
All ‘high risk’ patients are advised to isolate for 12 weeks. There has been some confusion as to who falls into this category. Generally speaking, if you are eligible for an NHS flu vaccination for any reason, this puts you in the ‘at risk’ category but not necessarily ‘high risk’.
Every patient is different and if you feel your medical history makes you vulnerable or high risk, the decision to isolate for 12 weeks is one you need to make yourself. Our advice to patients would be to read the online information from reliable websites (111/NHS/GOV UK). Don’t rely on receiving a letter to tell you to isolate, as these are only being sent to a specific group of people (detailed below).
What is meant by ‘shielding’?
Shielding is a measure to protect extremely vulnerable people by minimising interaction with others. This means that those who are extremely vulnerable should not leave their homes, and within their homes should minimise all non-essential contact with other members of their household.
I haven’t got a letter, will I be receiving one?
The letters do not come from general practice, they are sent by NHS England. The groups defined as “extremely vulnerable” who should have received the letter are:
- Solid organ transplant recipients.
- People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer.
- People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment.
- People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer.
- People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or Parp inhibitors.
- People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.
- People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.
- People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID and homozygous sickle cell).
- People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
- Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
We understand you have not received notification that you need to take shielding precautions but are concerned that you may be in a high-risk group. We appreciate how worrying this is for you and that you are concerned about the impact on your employment and are requesting notification from your GP.
Unfortunately, we are still waiting for further notification from central government about who should shield. In the meantime we cannot provide a note. If an employer is requesting an expert opinion on your fitness to work in light of Covid-19, they would be advised to seek professional occupational health advice on the matter.
The advice on self-isolation is available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/ and is changing regularly.
To decrease the footfall into the health centre, we are now offering Telephone appointments with our GPs, you will be added to our triage list, a GP will phone you, if they feel it is necessary for you to be seen then they will invite you to an appointment at the heath centre.
We will be changing the way we do nurse appointments, Asthma and Diabetic reviews, will now be telephone reviews. Nurses will have appointments for Dressing, Urgent blood tests, urgent smears, childhood imms and 8 week checks. These will be moving to two days a week. We have been advised that routine appointments with the nurses should now cease until further notice.
Can I rebook my cancelled appointment for a couple of months’ time?
At the moment, all routine checks are suspended and we do not know when this will change. We therefore cannot book anything at this time but all patients whose annual reviews have been cancelled, will be contacted when normal clinics resume.
We would urge you to make a note of your need for an appointment on your diary and contact us 2-3 weeks ahead of the planned date to see what the situation is at that point
Am I allowed to contact the surgery about routine problems?
Yes! Please still contact the surgery as you would for all routine health problems. It is important for us to be keeping patients well in the community.
Why is it taking so long to get through on the phone?
As you can imagine we are experiencing extremely high volumes of calls and our team are answering them as quickly as we can. Please bear with us as all calls are dealt with in order of their queue position. This website has a lot of information which will be updated regularly so please check for updates before you call us. There is also the NHS App which can be downloaded on any smartphone or device with App functions and this is the quickest and easiest way to order repeat medications and cancel appointments.
Please do all you can through patient access or the NHS app, as this will help keep the phones free for only those queries that need a phone call.
We are trying to reduce the number of paper scripts coming into the health centre, so all scripts will be sent electronically to your pharmacy. You may be asked to nominate a preferred pharmacy, where you can collect your script if you haven’t already done so.
We are aware of increasing requests for inhalers from patients who haven’t had them for a significant period of time. There is a risk of supply problems if inhalers are issued to people who don’t currently need them. GP practices will need to review requests on an individual basis and will only prescribe where there is current clinical need for an inhaler. If your condition changes in future and your GP think you need an inhaler it will be prescribed for you at that point.
At the moment, inhaler prescriptions are also being limited to one of each type of inhaler in order to make sure that all patients who need one can get one.
We have been made aware of some inaccurate information circulating (especially on social media) regarding special ‘rescue packs’ of antibiotics and oral steroids for patients with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (or even for those who don’t have these conditions).
We would like to reassure you that patients who suffer with severe respiratory conditions already have these in place (along with the instructions how to use them). Oral steroids are powerful medicines and any decision to use them would need careful evaluation by a prescriber, usually a doctor or respiratory specialist nurse.
The current advice is please do not contact your GP practice for a rescue pack unless this is something that has been previously agreed and prescribed by your medical team. You should continue to manage your condition in the usual way and if you feel you have symptoms of COVID-19, go to https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 before doing anything else.
Requests for Increases to Medication
We are unable to increase you medication supply for more that your usual amount. This is for patient safety and also so that stocks supplies don’t run low.
Electronic Prescriptions requests
This is accessible via our website the NHS app and allows you to order your prescriptions in a safer manner. It’s also quicker for you as they go directly into our prescription system straight to the doctor.
There are also lots of other benefits of signing up, which can be found here, along with instruction on how to sign up https://support.patientaccess.com/ and videos are found here https://support.patientaccess.com/ .
Please download and complete the Patient access form, found on our site, if you would like to register and email back to us with a photo ID to the following email email@example.com
You will then have a video call to confirm your ID or you can take a selfie with your ID so we can clearly see
You will then be issued with a pin to complete your registration.
You can also sign up for proxy access if you care or look after someone.
Please use patient access or the app rather than emailing in script requests as this takes much less time for staff and helps keep them free to help you at this time of significantly increased pressure for all of us
Please check with your local pharmacies what times they are now opening. Due to the increased demand for prescriptions, they have been allowed to shut for 2 hours a day to allow them to catch up. Core hours at most pharmacies are 10am -12pm and 2pm – 4pm
Sick and Self Isolation certificates
GPs have a responsibility to prioritise the assessment and management of the healthcare needs of patients who are acutely unwell, rather than spending time dealing with requests for sick notes, particularly when they aren’t in a position to issue one.
The Government’s rules around issuing a sick note (Med3) are that a medical professional can only issue a Med3 when an individual has had more than seven continuous calendar days off sick due to an illness (including weekends).
For any period of illness less than seven days, you are able to complete a self-certification certificate and provide this to your employer. A SC2 form can be downloaded from the internet. In the unlikely event that your employer does not accept a self-certification then your doctor may be able to issue a private sick note for which you may get charged.
Below is the address where this form can be downloaded:
In light of the current Coronavirus situation, it is inevitable that a number of employees may be required to quarantine themselves at home, for example due to the nature of recent travel, or because other members of the household are showing symptoms even in the absence of any symptoms of an illness in the employee. In these cases, GPs will not be able to issue a sick note as the time off work is not due to an illness, and isn’t affecting your ability to work, but rather is a precaution to avoid transmission of any illness that is yet to produce symptoms.
We therefore expect your employer to be sympathetic if you are required to self-isolate for 14 days and to understand that the reason for this is to protect the welfare of your work colleagues and the wider community. You can now go line using the link below in order to obtain an isolation note from the NHS 111 website: https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/
ACAS have also published guidance for employees and employers which can be referred to below: https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus
We are currently unable to do routine referrals to secondary care services.
We are also aware that hospitals are cancelling routine appointments and surgery, please don’t ring the surgery to find out if you appointment has been cancelled, we don’t have the access to this information, so would not the able to advise you.
X-Ray service at Yate West Gate
Opening times have now changed to 8am – 5pm
Insurance Reports / SARS / Letters and Forms
I am waiting for a copy of my medical records/insurance
report/letter that I requested a few weeks ago – do you know when I might
At this time our priority has to be dealing with the pandemic so all non-essential activity has been suspended. The Information Commissioners Office has supported this decision and is allowing up to 3 months extension for completion of some reports.
We are very grateful to our patients for your understanding at this difficult time and we would like to assure you that we are committed to providing essential services for as long as we can. We would however, sadly, like to take this opportunity to reinforce our Zero Tolerance Behaviour; a small number of patients have been extremely demanding, rude and unpleasant to our team and whilst we understand patients are concerned and anxious at this time we cannot tolerate this. Please respect our team.