Holbrook Surgery news

Practice update from 1st September 2020

 

We are delighted to announce that Dr Felicity Bezant will become a GP partner at the practice from 1st October 2020. Dr Bezant has been with the practice for a year and we have enjoyed working with her as an employed GP but she will now take on some of the business responsibilities as well.

 

We will continue to deal with your enquiries by using telephone triage, video consultations and electronic consultations as far as possible. We will only bring patients into practice if absolutely necessary.

 

Demand is continuing to increase with Mondays being exceptionally busy, Fridays are also busy and should be for urgent queries only that cannot wait over the weekend. If you can ring Tuesday to Thursday then this would help to spread the workload. 

 

The following is our plan through September, though may be subject to change as the Government issues more guidance.

 

  • Flu clinics – our flu clinics will start in early September with set appointment times. We will be prioritising our oldest and most vulnerable patients first. We will be sending letters with very specific instructions and will have to be very strict about attendance as we have several thousand patients to vaccinate. Please attend at your appointment time only. Unfortunately, we will not have time to chat this year as we will need to get one patient vaccinated every minute!

  • Blood tests – demand is increasing for these as we start to return to normal in terms of annual checks and hospitals starting to see patients. Please ring us one to two working days before you need your appointment. We will have more blood test appointments at Holbrook from September as staff continue to extend working across both sites.

  • eConsult – we recommend patients use eConsult for non-urgent queries including repeat Fit For Work Note/Sick Certificate requests, medication queries, referral to hospital which will send details to our GPs and staff and we can respond via a one way message. Visit https://holbrookandshotleysurgery.webgp.com/ 

  • Some annual checks can be done partially or fully on eConsult. Go to https://holbrookandshotleysurgery.webgp.com/reviews and click on your condition. There are templates for Asthma, Diabetes, Thyroid, COPD, Hypertension, Contraceptive pill and also for a medication review. Complete the information as fully as possible and we will contact you if necessary once we receive this.  You may still be asked to come in but this will reduce the time of your appointment as we can gather information before you attend. 

  • Medication reviews: if you have a medication review with our pharmacist, you will still need to order your repeat medication as normal.

  • Face masks and coverings: all patients entering the surgery will be expected to wear a mask. If you believe you are exempt, please note that we are not able to issue exemption letters for patients and these are not required by law. Please visit the government website for further guidance on this.

  • Doors are open: our doors will re-open with our normal opening times. You should continue to maintain a 2m distance at all times for staff safety and yours. Spaces are clearly marked inside and outside.

  • Medication collections: please attend during opening hours and maintain correct distancing.

  • Appointments: where possible please ring to book an appointment or use the eConsult facility to avoid overcrowding of the waiting room.

  • Higher risk patients: shielding has ceased but we still need to keep our staff and patients safe. We will continue to see those who are at higher risk at Holbrook and others at Shotley. Higher risk will include those who previously had shielding letters, over 70s and pregnant ladies.

  • Patients attending appointments: only the actual patient should come into waiting room. Children may be accompanied by only one parent. Elderly or infirm patients needing help should only have one person assisting them.

  • PPE: if you are being seen for appointment, our clinical staff will wear appropriate PPE. This may include a face mask, gloves, apron and visor depending on your appointment type. Additional time has been allowed to clean rooms between each patient and change PPE. Some of our non-clinical staff may wearing hospital type scrubs whilst working in the practice. 

  • Coronavirus symptoms: when you telephone the practice or visit in person, you will be asked if you have a temperature, a new continuous cough and/or loss of/change in taste or smell. If you are symptomatic we can still offer you a telephone or video appointment to discuss your symptoms.

  • Repeat medication can be ordered online via eConsult, the NHS App or SystmOnline. If you have no online access, you can drop your repeat slip through the letterbox at either site. 

  • Coronavirus testing is available for patients with symptoms via the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test website or ring 119 if no internet access.

  • Antibody testing is still not available to the general public. 

  • A lip speaker is available for those who are hard of hearing. Contact Natalie Farrugia at nfbslpro@gmail.com or on 07860 373317. Natalie has kindly offered to help but is not employed by the practice. By contacting Natalie directly you understand the confidentiality issues.

  • Childhood immunisations and baby checks – the midwife and health visitor are contacting patients and giving advice over the phone or organising for patients to come in when necessary. Parents should still bring their children for their immunisations and baby checks. 

  • Postnatal checks: our usual 6 week postnatal check will now be combined with the 8 week immunisations so you only need to attend once and will see both the nurse and doctor. This will be at our Holbrook site.

  • Cervical screening – please phone us to book these as normal

  • For mental health issues due to coronavirus visit https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/

 

Our hope is that from October we can return to some sort of normal and continue to open up our services as and when it is safe to do so. We will follow Government guidance in this respect. In the meantime, please keep our staff and patients safe by following the guidelines and social distancing.