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  • Covid-19 vital information update and impact on surgery services
    As the Coronavirus pandemic develops we'll keep you updated on the way we are responding

    Covid19 (coronavirus) Pandemic Vital Information:

    This means new restrictions: Here is an infographic on what this means for us
    more detail here
    information for the very vulnerable here.

    We cannot test or arrange tests at the surgery. Tests are not 100% reliable either way.

    NHS Antigen tests: These swab tests show if you have Covid-19 infection now. Those with symptoms, care home staff and residents, going into hospital can have free NHS tests. For those who think they may have the infection, the test has to be done with the first 8 days (day 1-7 home test or day 1-8 test centre).
    Register here for a test.

    NHS Antibody (blood) tests show if you are likely to have had Covid in the past. They are not yet widely available on the NHS as it is not clear which tests are sufficiently reliable. They cannot tell if you are immune to Covid-19. Some people may be eligible for this testnhs track and trace
    depending on their job and where they live and you have to register to be sent a home test kit -
    check here.

    Private tests are available for both antigen and antibody but there are many types and some are not reliable so must be interpreted carefully.

    Summary of different TESTS FOR COVID and what they mean

    The NHS Covid-29 Trace App (it is NOT the same as the NHS App!) tells if you have been close to another App user who tests positive, allows you to check-in at places using a quick QR code (no more form-filling!), shows alert levels in your area, offers advice and arrange a test more quickly.

    HANDS Wash your hands regularly with hot water and soap (for 20sec) and after touching your face or any surfaces. Carry a hand sanitiser with you to keep yourself at lower risk of picking up Covid-19. Here is a short video on correct hand-washing.
    Don't touch your face. People touch their face on average 16 times per hour. This is a sure way to transmit virus to yourself from contact with a contaminated surface.

    SPACE Keep a safe distance
    - 2m (6.5 feet) is safer but not totally safe (or 1m with precautions such as masks for everyone).
    FACE Wearing a MEDICAL MASK must be done PROPERLY - we see a lot of people hanging a mask off their chin, below their nose, not fitted properly: THIS WILL NOT WORK! See this short video for how to use a mask correctly
    Respirators with valves are not appropriate for reducing infection spread and most cloth face coverings may not work.

    Vulnerable people need special protection

    If you are worried you may have or been in contact with Covid-19 use the 111 online checker 111 online coronavirus service
    Only phone 111 if you cannot get online help (expect delays). You should contact 111 if you are getting worse, cannot cope with your symptoms or you are not getting better after 7 days. Do
    NOT go to the GP or pharmacy or hospital or walk-in centres.

    Here's all the
    proper, official advice:

    GUIDANCE ON SOCIAL DISTANCING AND VULNERABLE PEOPLE (in several languages incl.Arabic, Gujerati, Urdu, Polish, French, Portuguese) ADVICE ON SELF-ISOLATION
    GUIDANCE FOR HOUSEHOLDS WITH A POSSIBLE COVD-19 PERSON (in several languages incl.Arabic, Gujerati, Urdu, Polish, French, Portuguese)

    Advice on maintaining mental wellbeing
    Advice on home exercising

    Full proper advice:
    NHS.UK & Gov.UK

    For Local Advice & Information:
    Brent Advice Matters
    Healthwatch Brent

    If you are self-isolating but well, get an Isolation Note Download here - we cannot provide this. If you can work from home you do not need an isolation note.
    If you are
    sick and cannot work fill in a self certificate for up to 7 days. Over 7 days absence requires a Fit Note which we can provide - fill in an eConsult or phone us. Employment rights and advice

    Surgery Services:

    • If you phone to request an appointment or for advice, a receptionist will ask you the reason (to prioritise) and will add you to a list for the doctor or nurse to call you back. Or you can send us an eConsult.
    • We may not need to see you in person but may carry out video consultations.
    • Online appointments are switched off.
    • The main doors are closed; if you do need to collect something please use the intercom and if you need to drop something off, please use the letterbox (both to the left of the entrance)
    • If we need to see you, we'll send a questionnaire by SMS link to verify you are not at significant risk of the Covid-19 virus.
    • We shall give you special instructions and ask you to wear face covering or we can provide a mask. The clinician will wear protective clothing.
    Please accept delays at this time - we are doing our best to deal with the changing circumstances.

    Repeat prescriptions can be ordered using Patient App - if you are not already registered please do this now. Please allow more time for processing (72hrs) and check that your pharmacy is still open before collecting - the situation changes frequently.

  • Flu Vaccination Campaign 2020 - started now!
    Flu vaccinations available now to those at risk!

    The Flu Vaccination campaign starts September 16th. Please wait to be called up by SMS or other means if you cannot accept SMS. If you receive the SMS message you will need to reply that you are coming or we'll rebook you. You may receive a barcode - make sure you bring the device that you can view this on.

    We shall arrange suitable physical distancing and all precautions and ask you to bring a face covering and follow instructions to ensure a rapid and safe service. We shall not be able to do anything else at this visit.

    We have two deliveries of vaccines and hope to have all our at risk patients vaccinated by mid October.

    This year additional vaccine will be offered to those aged 50- 64 as well, once the main groups have been completed – probably in November /December depending on availability (additional supplies have been bought by the NHS).

    Having flu vaccine for those in the risk groups has never been more important due to Covid 19. Having flu and Covid together could be very serious and going down with one infection makes you more susceptible. We also need to avoid a big rise in flu at a time when the services are going to be stretched dealing with Covid.

    Are you in a risk group?

    • All pregnant people
    • 65 or over
    • All children aged 2-10y on 31 Aug 2020
    • Any age at risk groups:

    - Diabetes
    - Chronic lung disease
    - Chronic
    heart disease 
    - Chronic
    kidney disease
    - Chronic
    liver disease
    - Chronic
    neurological disease such as Parkinson's, Motor Neurone Disease,  or Multiple Sclerosis
    - Weakened immune system  eg steroids, cancer, no spleen , Sickle Cell Disease
    - Close contacts of immunocompromised people
    - Morbid
    obesity  (BMI =>40 or 35 with obesity related health problem)
    - People in long-stay residential care homes
    Carers or close contacts of frail people in the above categories
    Health and social care workers employed by a registered care/nursing home, registered care provider or a voluntary managed hospice provider (at registered practice)
    Locum GPs (at registered practice) frontline health and care staff (by employer)

    Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 23.54.15
    Read this NHS booklet for more details

  • e-Consult and the change to 'Digital First'
    The surgery has significantly changed the way it works - no more direct GP appointment booking.....

    From June 1st we changed the way the surgery works.

    From June 2020, we changed the way we offer appointments for our GPs.

    • All requests for GP appointments will be assessed after completing an eConsult form online – there is a link on the home page of our website.(Online booking is switched off so you will no longer be able to simply book an appointment )
    • This will ensure you get the most appropriate help from the most appropriate person: the GP will quickly review your request and may offer you a face to face appointment at the surgery, a telephone or video call, send an SMS message with advice, send a prescription to the pharmacy, maybe order tests or a referral.
    • We shall respond to requests as needed: before the end of the next working day, at the latest (6.30pm) but mostly the same day.
    • Those without internet or who prefer not to complete an eConsult will be assisted in other ways - you can still phone the surgery and a Patient Services Team member will help you.
    • Parents can use eConsult for children from 6m (under 6m will still have to be by phone contact) until 18y.
    • Young people can send their own eConsult from aged 16y (from the 'I want help for my child' selection) .

    Why are we changing?
    This is in line with a ‘Digital First’ strategy for Primary care in the NHS Long Term Plan. We have brought forward these changes due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
    We need to remain flexible and resilient as the lockdown measures ease – there will be a large backlog of work and we’ll need to prioritize. Many people will still be reluctant or unsafe to leave home to come to the surgery so we need to be able to respond appropriately to meet everyone’s needs.
    We also need a system which will allow us to cope with any further waves of Covid.

    How will it affect me?
    We hope the new system aims to provide a better, more responsive service:
    • Having information about your concerns in advance helps us deliver the best help to you quickly and may avoid an unnecessary wait for an appointment and trip to the surgery.
    • Reduce phone-call waiting times.
    • Allow more time for face too face consultations.

    What about routine appointments for my Long Term Condition?
    Medical conditions such as Diabetes, COPD, Hypertension and so on require regular routine checks and we’ll continue to call you up for these in the usual way based around your birthday. We’ll also call you as usual for routine Medication reviews at regular intervals.

    Will I still be able to see a Doctor face to face?
    Yes but perhaps not so often. We shall have precautions in place to ensure it is safe to see a doctor when necessary, and we shall assess the need through eConsult, phone and video calls.
    Traditionally patients came to see the doctor for everything but times are changing and we know much of our care can be delivered more efficiently and this will benefit everyone.

    What about nurse appointments, phlebotomy and so on?
    For the time being these will continue to be booked through Patient Access online booking, telephone and some eConsult.

    What about Admin requests?
    All of these should come through eConsult now- whether you need a certificate, letter, form filling etc. Anything really!

    I am worried about this
    It will take some getting used to – by all of us! We shall continually review the situation and adjust it depending on how everyone finds it. Your feedback will be very important, so please do let us know your thoughts and any ideas you have.

    Link to eConsult

    This short video explains what eConsult is and how it works

    When you fill in an eConsult, you may be simply asking for admin help but if medical advice or attention, but you also have available a fantastic array of self-help material; simple problems often do not need a GP.

    What if I can't use the internet? If you are unable to use the internet you can still phone us and our receptionists will ask the same questions as the eConsult to guide the doctors to your best treatment.

    The system is ideal for admin queries too and we hope all requests for certificates, letters and other queries go through this system in order to give the best and swiftest attention to your problem.

    Nurse appointments and blood tests will still be available through Patient but appointments for GPs will remain switched off.

    We've been using eConsult for well over a year and our experience tells us this will give many advantages to patients and the practice. As we move into the gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, we'll need to operate as flexibly and efficiently as possible as the virus will still be around for a long time to come and the situation will remain fluid.

    The best way to integrate eConsult and Patient is to use the new NHS App (no, not the Covid one!). Once you're signed in you'll also be logged in to all NHS services. You can download this from the Apple App Store or Google Play for Android.

  • Welcome to our new Physician Associate
    A warm welcome to Samira, our very first Physician Associate!

    Physician Associates, are new professionals in General Practice. They support GPs and the other clinicians in the team and can also see and manage patients of their own, holding consultations, examining, ordering tests and giving healthcare and preventative advice and management plans. They can deal with 'acute' (short-term) illness as well as 'chronic' (long-term) conditions.

    They cannot, at present (though this will change) sign prescriptions or order X-Rays, so will need to get a GP's approval.

    Our Physician Associate, Samira, may see you for 'urgent for today' problems in duty surgery or for more long term condition monitoring. She will also follow up her own patients just as a doctor would, order tests and refer patients as necessary. You may book appointments with her - she can deal with the full range of medical and psychological issues.

    She is one of the earliest of the UK Physician Associates, so is very experienced and we are delighted she could join us! Welcome!

  • 'Choose wisely'
    The NHS will no longer be prescribing medicines you can buy

    The NHS in NW London CCGs: Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, and Westminster spent over £13 million in 2016 on products that can be bought without a prescription at community pharmacies.

    The NHS is under pressure. Our budgets are not large enough to pay for all the treatments the public would like us to provide. We would therefore like to spend less on medicines you can buy without a prescription so as to free up funds for other valuable NHS services.

    So practices across North West London - and across the country- are being asked to stop routinely prescribing medicines which are available to buy over the counter in pharmacies (and, in the case of some medicines, in supermarkets and other shops too). If a medicine you need can be bought without a prescription, your GP may ask if you are willing to buy it. If you are not willing to buy it, it will be prescribed.

    The following groups are exempt: School children, if the product needs to be given at school, Care home residents, Individuals with funded care packages where a carer is required to administer a medicine or product, Anyone officially declared homeless, People with a diagnosis of dementia, People with a diagnosed learning disability.‚Äč

    More details here

    Here is a list of commonly prescribed medicines which are available without a prescription

  • Keep up to date with BBC Health news
    The BBC Health news pages from a useful digest of current news stories
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