Covid-19: Information for patients

New updates posted on 19.05.20 (and previous updates from March/April)

Please view all other complete COVID-19 Information below:

What to do if you think you or someone who know might have Coronavirus?

  • Stay at Home Guidance
  • Tips to help you stay well
  • Avoid ibuprofen when managing COVID-19 symptoms

Government guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK (including protecting older people and vulnerable adults)

Unity Health’s response to COVID-19

What to do if you think you or someone who know might have Coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

You must stay at home if you (or anyone you live with) have coronavirus symptoms, which are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital, and you do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home (or to be tested – this is not available for those isolating with manageable symptoms).

You must stay at home for 7 days if you have symptoms. If you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms. Or if they then develop symptoms (e.g. on day 13, they would need to isolate for a further 7 days, so 20 days in total).

Please click here for further information including the link to the NHS 111 online coronavirus service, and tips to help you stay well.

Avoid ibuprofen when managing COVID-19 symptoms

The Chief Medical Officer has advised that patients who have COVID-19 (or believe they could have it) should use paracetamol (or calpol for children) in preference to NSAIDs such as ibuprofen.

See the Chief Medical Officer’s letter here

Government guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and protecting older people and vulnerable adults

The Government has advised that everyone should be taking social distancing measures – that is, we reducing social interaction between people in order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. It is intended for use in situations where people are living in their own homes, with or without additional support from friends, family and carers. If you live in a residential care setting guidance is available.

The Government is advising those who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.

This group includes those who are:

  • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition
  • pregnant women

Furthermore there are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this category, next week the NHS in England will directly contact you with advice the more stringent measures you should take in order to keep yourself and others safe. For now, you should rigorously follow the social distancing advice in full, outlined below.

See more information on social distancing measures, including a list of the underlying health conditions mentioned above.

How to look after your mental wellbeing during social distancing

Understandably, you may find that social distancing can be boring or frustrating. You may find your mood and feelings are affected and you may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping and you might miss being outside with other people.

At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which in turn can make you feel worse. There are simple things you can do that may help, to stay mentally and physically active during this time – see further information here.

Unity Health’s response to COVID-19: changes to service provision, and services we are stopping temporarily

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing widespread disruption across the country (indeed globally) and a level of strain on the NHS which has never been seen before.

As GP practices we are having to adapt our processes constantly, in real time as the situation develops.

The priority is to minimise patient footfall to the practice as much as possible to prevent spread amongst vulnerable patient groups, and to minimise risk to staff.

We have not yet made the decision to suspend all routine appointments; however, this may be something we need to do soon in order that we can focus on urgent care for those most in need.

Changes that we have put in place with immediate effect:

Visiting the surgery

  • Noone should be coming into the surgery unless they have a booked, confirmed appointment or they are dropping off a urine sample. (By a “confirmed” appointment, we mean that all patients should have received a triage call to ensure they do not have a fever or a new continuous cough.)
  • Only the patient themselves should attend the surgery in this case (and their carer, if needed).
  • Wherever possible, we will be conducting consultations over the telephone or by video consultation (including long-term condition reviews). For patients who have not done a video consultation before, we suggest you watch this short (2 minute) video which will help you prepare for your appointment.
  • In rare circumstances, a patient who has COVID-19 symptoms may need to have a face-to-face appointment in the surgery about a different acute issue – in this case they will be seen between 1 and 2pm, and the clinician will come to collect the patient from their car, provide them with a protective mask, and escort them into the surgery to our designated respiratory isolation rooms.

Appointments

  • No appointments can be booked at the reception desk – in the first instance, we encourage you to use the AskNHS app, or if this is not possible, please call reception to book an appointment.
  • We have suspended booking of face-to-face appointments online. Where possible, these will be available as telephone calls.

 Prescriptions

The process for requesting repeat prescriptions is different depending if you are a patient at one of our dispensing surgeries (Long Crendon or Brill surgeries) or one of our non-dispensing surgeries (Thame, Chinnor or Princes Risborough).

Long Crendon and Brill surgery patients

New prescription requests should ideally be done using online access to reduce infection risk. If you do not already have online access, please call reception and they can arrange this for you.

For anyone who does not have access to the internet, paper prescriptions may still be dropped off but these must NOT be brought to the reception desk – please instead put these in the prescription letterbox (in Brill, this is the letterbox to the left of the main entrance; in Long Crendon, this is the letterbox just inside the surgery on the left hand side).

The current volume of prescription requests we are receiving is unprecedented, and is overwhelming our dispensary. Please order approximately 2 weeks in advance to allow for this (although no more than this, as otherwise we won’t be able to issue). Due to this, prescription requests will now take a minimum of 4 days from ordering to collection. However, we strongly advise that you allow a week since there are a number of supply issues currently that are leading to delays.

Thame, Chinnor and Princes Risborough patients

Please do NOT come into the surgery to collect or drop off a new prescription.

New prescription requests should ideally be done using online access. If you do not already have online access, please call reception and they can arrange this for you.

For anyone who does not have access to the internet, you can call reception and we will temporarily be taking prescription requests over the phone.

All new prescription requests from 16.03.20 (and any previously requested but not already collected) will automatically be sent electronically to the following pharmacies, unless you have nominated a different pharmacy already:

  • Chinnor patients: Lloyds;
  • Princes Risborough patients: Lloyds, 62-68 High St;
  • Thame patients: Boots, High Street

You can nominate a pharmacy on patient access, or alternatively call reception and we can make this change for you.

Please note: the current volume of prescription requests we are receiving is unprecedented, and this is overwhelming the local pharmacies. Please order approximately 2 weeks in advance to allow for this (although no more than this, as otherwise we won’t be able to issue).

New patient registrations

In order to further reduce the footfall into the surgery, we have now made our registration pack available online. Please see more information where you will be able to download, print and complete the form.

Do NOT come into the surgery with your completed registration form. Instead, you can post this to us, drop it into the letterbox outside the surgery or email it to us at Unityhealth.bucks@nhs.net

Referral letters, private work (including travel letters) and fit notes

Please do not come into the surgery to collect or enquire about any of the above things.

  • Referral letters will be sent to patients via email wherever possible, or otherwise posted.
  • Private medicals have been suspended. However, we continue currently to do some private work including forms – please call, email, (bucks@nhs.net), post or drop any such forms into our letterbox outside the surgery.
  • Fit notes – these will be assessed based on urgency and if we can do them will be emailed or texted wherever possible, or otherwise posted.
  • Travel letters – we will not be doing these (as advised by the BOBLMC )

 Proposed changes from Monday 23rd March:

In line with national guidance, we will be stopping the following services from Monday 23rd March:

  • Private work requiring a face to face appointment
  • Travel advice/injections
  • NHS Healthchecks
  • Coil fitting
  • Implants
  • Cervical smears (except 12 month recalls)
  • Minor surgery/injections
  • Routine phlebotomy appointments
  • Spirometry
  • Loan of Blood Pressure machines or Ambulatory Blood pressure monitors
  • Non-urgent referrals (2 week wait referrals will continue but many others will stop as hospitals move more to respiratory care – we are waiting further information on this)

This is aligned with many practices both locally and nationally whilst we have to focus on providing urgent care to those who need it most.