URGENT PATIENT MESSAGE - FLU VACCINES
Our practice is not quite ready to deliver the flu vaccinations to all 50-64 year olds who are not in an at risk category.
We are working hard to get our clinics up and running but are waiting for delivery of extra vaccines to carry these out. PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE SURGERY TO ARRANGE AN APPOINTMENT, we will contact all eligible patients as soon as we have appointments available.
In the meantime please click here to make sure your contact details are up to date and we will be in touch as soon as we possible can be.
Thank you all for your patience in these extremely busy times, Tunstall Primary Care Team
URGENT PATIENT NOTICE
We are having large numbers of calls from patients with regards to obtaining a COVID-19 test appointment. Unfortunately GP Practices have no access to arranging tests for patients or their families. We are aware there are difficulties accessing appointments on 119 and the government website however the only advice we can give is to continue trying.
Please DO NOT call the GP surgery if you are unable to book a test, we are unable to assist you with this problem. Please persevere with 119 and https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
FLU VACCINATIONS 2020
We are expecting a high demand for flu vaccinations this year and so we encourage people to get vaccinated as early as possible.
Our clinics for adults over the age of 18 will be held from Saturday 3rd October 2020 onwards.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE FLU VACCINATION THIS YEAR?
- People under the age of 65 with certain medical conditions
- Adults 65 and over (as of 31st March 2021)
- Pregnant women
- Children aged 2-11 years - Children aged 4-11 years will be vaccinated in school settings
- Unpaid carers
- Family members of people who have been shielding from coronavirus - We do not yet have vaccines for this group. We will contact this group of patients when we receive further information from NHS England regarding this.
- Over 50 and under 65 without a long term condition - We do not currently have vaccines for this group. We understand that vaccines for this additional group are being organised by NHS England. We await information on when these will be available. This is outside of our control but we will communicate with this group of patients as soon as we receive further information about this.
BOOKING YOUR APPOINTMENT
- Please contact the practice to make your appointment. You can do this as follows:
- Please call the practice on 0300 123 0978 after 12pm to make your flu vaccination appointment.
- Appointments will be offered when the surgery is closed to other patients or at the surgery quietest times
- Appointments will be offered at Tunstall Primary Care Centre on the ground floor
- There will be a one way entry and exit system in place
- Appointment times will be spaced to ensure social distancing can take place
KEEPING YOU SAFE
- Staff will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Please wear a face covering
- Please arrive promptly, at your appointment time
- Please wear clothing that ensures your arm is ready for the vaccination e.g. a short sleeve top, with any jacket / coat / jumper removed whilst you wait
- Please cancel your appointment as soon as possible if you are unable to attend – these clinics are extremely popular and this means we can offer the slot to someone else
- Please do not visit the practice if you have a fever, cough or have lost your sense of taste or smell Please cancel and rearrange your appointment if you have any of these symptoms
- Please note you will not be able to use our toilet facilities when attending your flu vaccination appointment
- Please bring an umbrella with you as you may be required to wait outside of the practice
- Please note the practice will be unable to deal with any other matters e.g. prescription requests, appointments etc. during the flu clinics
The wearing of face masks and coverings will be mandatory in our GP practice from Monday 29th of June.
Anyone entering the building for an appointment is required to wear a face covering. This can be anything from a surgical mask to a scarf wrapped to cover the mouth and nose.
Please only attend the surgery if you have been asked to by a member of staff, ensure that you attend your appointment on time and not early and remember your face covering!
Please click this link or on the picture opposite for advice on how to make a cloth face covering https://tinyurl.com/ybf6rawr
In line with NHS England and Public Health England advice, we have made big changes to how we serve our patients. This has not been an easy decision but unfortunately is needed at the moment to protect our patients due to Coronavirus and the risk of this being passed to patients whilst in the Practice.
For many, coronavirus will be a mild illness and the NHS is focusing its efforts on those most unwell and affected by the condition.
Thank you for your understanding and please be assured that our aim is to protect you and your families. We will also continue to update this page with further details.
Please remember we are still here for you and happy to be contacted.
The NHS is open, general practice is open and here to support you. #HelpUsHelpYou
Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms – these are either:
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A 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 of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste
To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
- You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- Your condition gets worse
Use the 111 coronavirus service by clicking here
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
Get an isolation note to give to your employer by clicking here
For the following queries, please see here
How long to stay at home
- If you have symptoms
- If you live with someone who has symptoms
- If you have symptoms and live with a vulnerable person
Testing for Coronavirus:
At Tunstall Primary Care, like other GP surgeries, we cannot test for coronavirus.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can ask for a test to check if you have the virus. This is called an antigen test. You can request this by clicking here
There is another type of test (antibody test) that checks if you've already had the virus. This test is not widely available yet. You can find out about antibody testing on GOV.UK.
For general information on the Coronavirus infection please review the information on the NHS website by clicking here
Appointments at Tunstall Primary Care
All on the day requests to see a clinician will be a telephone triage consultation first with the clinician deciding if the patient then needs to be seen, which may be by video consultation or we may ask you to send a photo if it helps decision making.
This is to ensure that patients with infectious symptoms do not inadvertently pass these infections to our patient population. There is great difficulty as some patients may not have symptoms but still be carrying the virus.
People entering the building
- We are taking steps to minimise the number of people entering the site to ensure that this is limited to people that enter our practice site to protect our patient community.
- We ask that you only enter the building if you have been invited to attend by a clinician and have had a telephone triage in the first instance.
- Our Packmoor Medical Centre Site currently remains closed to patients.
- All consultations will now be by telephone unless you have specifically been told otherwise.
- If any clinician wishes to see a patient face-to-face, this will need to be discussed and agreed first with a clinician first to ensure that this is only done in exceptional circumstances.
- For those few patients given a face-to-face appointment (following their telephone consultation) :
- Please arrive on time for your appointment
- Please observe social distancing in our waiting room on the rare occasion there may be more than one patient there.
- Please attend you appointment on your own, or if you are bringing a child please limit the carers with that child to 1 person.
- Please wear a face covering at all times.
- Please use the hand gel available when entering and leaving the building
Thank you for your co-operation.
Home visit requests are to be put on the system as normal but patient/carer/care home will be advised that the doctor will call first to telephone triage and decide if a visit is needed/appropriate. You can imagine our service is under tremendous pressure at the moment so please do not be disappointed if we give you advice over the phone or sign-post you to the 111 service.
The NHS has asked us not to organise more than 1 months’ worth of prescriptions at a time for routine medications as this will cause supply problems for the NHS and mean that patients may miss out.
Repeat Prescription requests can now also be made over the phone until further notice. Please ring 0300 123 0978.
You can also order your medications via your pharmacy and by emailing us: email@example.com
Please use the Online Consult service available on our home page (no in person registration required - this can be done via the internet) if possible to reduce the load on our phone system as it is the safest and most structured way of seeking online help.
You can request medical certificates, get self-care advice and also seek information on medical problems. Please click here for the direct link.
We aim to discuss results with patients over the phone rather than a face to face appointment where possible. Even if referrals are needed, these will be further discussed with patients over the phone where possible.
Letters from specialists / other providers
On a daily basis we receive several hundred letters from the hospital and other services that help our patients. Normally we would call you in to discuss letters or you would come to see us to discuss a letter. We will now try to call you to discuss letters where needed or may send you an SMS message regarding this.
We will continue to refer patients for further care as we would normally do however due to the pressure on the NHS in the current circumstances, you may wait longer than normal for your appointment. We ask that you continue to bear with us at this time.
Postnatal medicals – these will be booked in to coincide with your baby’s 8 week injections. Our practice nurse will normally ring you to arrange the appointment, this will enable you to minimise the time spent in the surgery.
Contraceptive appointment requests
- Oral Contraception – A telephone consultation to be made with a GP or nurse. We may ask you to monitor your blood pressure and phone us with the readings if you have the ability to do this at home.
- Non Oral Contraception – A telephone consultation to be made with a GP or nurse and you will be triaged before a face to face appointment is made.
We normally complete medicals for the DVLA and for patient’s employers. The DVLA have suspended their usual checks due to the coronavirus. We will try to help our patients with employment matters but please remember that our priority will be your health rather than your employment.
Minor operation assessments and actual procedures
Any already booked will be cancelled and no new appointments will be made until advised otherwise
Continuing/New Fit Notes
These can be arranged over the telephone with a clinician and will be sent to you electronically.
“Fit Note”: We have had employers asking patients to come to the practice for a “fit note”. A fit note does not exist. Please advise your employer of this. Each employer has their own responsibility to ensure that you are ready to return to work and they should follow their own procedures for this. We also cannot provide proof that you have not had Coronavirus.
All walk-in services for blood tests have been suspended at this time. All blood tests are by appointment only and can be booked by calling 01782 674242, these telephones are exceptionally busy and we do not have access to the booking system. Patients will have to arrange these appointments personally.
Long term condition clinics
We are finding alternative ways to get information to allow us to continue to monitor and help you with your long term conditions. We are currently contacting suitable patients to carry out their reviews remotely, either by telephone or video call.
Extended Access Sessions
All appointments will be prioritised for ring backs or video consultations, these will be utilised to support our patient’s needs.
NHS England has asked that we review and postpone many procedures during this COVID season.
Implant and coil insertion – the expiry dates have been reviewed and extended by one year as per national specialist advice.
Nibedo (Testosterone) and antipsychotic depots– These to be carried on as normal
Stitches removal - To be continued as normal but with planned surgery reduced we expect less consultations for this.
Wound care – This will be continued but we may need to assess whether the patient or a carer could take over the dressings at home to minimise the risk to patients.
Childhood Immunisations – To Continue as normal.
Dopplers - These are tests on circulation. Only Urgent Doppler’s will be performed.
ECG’s – Only Urgent recordings will be requested by the GPs. Any pre-booked will be assessed to see if they can be cancelled.
Cancelled procedures: if you are very concerned by your cancellation, please call for a telephone consultation and explanation.
Any patients who need 6 monthly or yearly smears as they had a previous abnormal smear will continue. Any new symptoms such as bleeding would need to be investigated in a different way and therefore a phone consultation may be needed.
Vitamin B12 Injections
Patients who receive vitamin B12 injections will all be reviewed by our Practice Pharmacist reviewing their records. Where possible we will be trialing an oral tablet form of B12 and recheck of levels where appropriate.
These will be assessed on an individual basis, please book a telephone appointment with the Practice Nurse to discuss this.
EASTER OPENING TIMES
Please be aware that we will be open normal working hours on Good Friday and Easter Monday.
We will continue to triage patients by telephone so please do not attend the surgery unless you have been asked to attend by a member of staff.
Tunstall Primary Care Team
URGENT PATIENT NOTICE
Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic we have taken the decision to close Packmoor Medical Centre to patients. For the time being all patients requiring a face to face appointment will be seen at Tunstall Primary Care Centre.
This will allow us to limit the exposure of our staff to possible infection and will allow us to continue to run our full service.
Patients are kindly asked not to come to the surgery unless invited by a clinician. We are still available on the phone but please bear with us as lines are extremely busy.
We wanted to clear up a few of the frequently asked questions our reception team are dealing with.
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.
Can I have a sick note for my isolation period?
No, we are not issuing sick notes for any isolation reason. 111 website can issue sick notes for those isolating due to symptoms of COVID-19 or a household member having symptoms of COVID-19. Sick notes for other reasons continue being issued as normal.
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.
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.
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.
How do I request a prescription?
Telephone call or email to firstname.lastname@example.org is the preferred option for prescriptions requests.
I need to collect my sick note/blood form/referral/prescription etc, can I come to the surgery?
All documents will be sent electronically where possible or posted to you to prevent gathering outside the practice doors.
Following Government guidance we are now triaging all on the day appointment requests by telephone at the surgery, if the clinicians feels you need to be seen you will be offered a face-to-face appointment.
If you already have an appointment booked - PLEASE DO NOT ATTEND THE SURGERY.
A clinician will telephone you to discuss your problem and they will let you know if you need to be seen in the surgery.
We will keep you updated as new information is available.
Thank you for your patience at this very busy time