For all the very latest guidance, you should check the nhs website which you will find here
New lockdown advice 22/02/21 can be found here
If you received a letter to shield at the beginning of the pandemic, then you will receive a further communication from the NHS – you should STAY AT HOME even if you cannot work from home and will be able to claim benefits for this period that you are unable to work for. We will not and CANNOT issue you with a fit note to cover any period of absence because you are in a clinically very high category, you will need to wait for your letter.
Those over 60 or who are invited for a flu jab are classed as clinically vulnerable and should work from home if you are able to along with everyone else – BUT you can STILL GO to work if your workplace is covid secure. We CANNOT give you a fit note to excuse you from work on these grounds. You should however, pay very careful attention to the advice, keep washing hands, cover face and leave 2 metres of space, limiting the number of trips you make outside the home and work place.
All those who work in critical sectors such as healthcare or teachers are expected to go to work.
An update on how our services are operating as at 27th October 2020
We thought we would share an update about how our services are now operating and how to obtain any help you may need. When the lockdown started back in March along with the increasing number of cases and the anticipated pressures in hospitals, we were instructed by government to stop offering face to face appointments without undertaking a triage assessment first. Triage basically means prioritising patients by need. Most surgeries, including our own, use phone appointments with a doctor or nurse to assess what the problem or need is and then deal with it appropriately. The outcome for the patient might be that advice can be given about the concern over the telephone, a prescription might be raised and sent off direct to your pharmacy, or the doctor might ask for photos to be sent in, or offer a video consultation. However, if the problem requires a physical examination, then the patient would be offered a face to face appointment. If there are patients who contact us repeatedly about the same problem where our advice or treatment has not helped in the first instance, then these patients too will be seen face to face. There are many things that can be safely dealt with without seeing you. We understand that for some of you, you like the face to face interaction with our team and where this is appropriate, it will continue to be offered, but for the time being, not as a matter of routine.
This system does mean that our reception team, apart from some routine nurse procedures, cannot book face to face appointments with our doctors or nurses, but they will be very happy to help you arrange a phone consultation. You can also help us by keeping up to date by keeping an eye on the website and listening carefully to our greetings message when phoning us. A good example of this is the tremendous number of phone calls we have been handling regarding questions from patients aged 50 – 64 as to when they can have their flu vaccination – the truth is we don’t know yet. If those of you who can use digital ways of contacting us use these methods, it helps keep our phones lines open and available for those who can’t. Don’t forget, 111 is there for urgent medical help even when we are open and you can still consult your local pharmacist for any minor health issues and over the counter treatments. All things Covid, try 119 or the NHS website.
So we are not closed, in fact, our workload has increased by around 50% when it comes to queries and questions and incoming calls – we understand why, everyone is concerned about health problems that they might have tried to ignore in the early days of the pandemic, or worried about Covid, symptoms, face mask exemptions, testing and children being sent home from school. To give you some idea of our workload, we are answering around 4,000 calls a week up from 2,500, processing around 2,000 prescriptions a week, speaking to around 900 patients a week and seeing approximately 100 patients a week. Added to this we are in the middle of trying to deliver flu vaccinations safely to lots of people in a very short time to make sure you are all protected.
It is true that you can no longer walk into the practice and use our reception counter as you once could. Instead
- Try our self service trolley – for blank prescription request forms, picking up sample pots, dropping samples back to us, self certification forms, new patient registration forms and more
- Use the intercom if arriving for an appointment or if you are coming to collect something from us
- Ring us for appointment bookings, blood results or to order prescriptions if housebound or over the age of 70.
- Use the prescription request form on our website
- Use the web chat facility or the contact us form to ask us a question, raise a query or anything else
- We have a self service trolley in our porch and an intercom system for those either coming to the practice for an appointment or to collect something..
Before Covid, our doctors would see up to 36 patients each per day along with a similar number of appointments for the nursing team. So it was possible that in one day, we could have up to 288 patients flowing through the practice just for appointments, this does not include those that would come in to order prescriptions or speak to the receptionists about any other matters. If we multiply this up across a week, that is over 1,000 patients. We have to clean and decontaminate each time someone goes into a consultation room and our clinical team have to put on and take off their PPE. We just could not maintain this level of face to face work in the current situation. The services that doctors in general practice provide have the highest use of any medical service with approximately 300 million consultations taking place each year compared to 25 million A&E attendances. Like any other service or business, our own staff and families have been effected by Covid and we have some who are higher risk – so we need to protect them as well as try and protect the service we provide. All of our team but especially the reception and secretarial staff having been working so hard that it is really difficult for them to hear people saying they are sitting around all day with their feet up – this is absolutely not the case.
So thanks for sticking with it and reading this to the end. We hope you will now know we are open, have an understanding of why we are working as we are, but most importantly, that we are still here to help you. Please keep well and stay safe.
Face mask exemption letters – we will not be proving these for any patients – you can download your own here, further information here
If you have breathing problems, there is a specific card for your use here
Government guidance on face mask exemption is as follows
You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes:
- young children under the age of 11
- not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
- if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
- to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
- to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
- to eat or drink, but only if you need to
- to take medication
- if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering
There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:
- If asked to do so by shop staff for the purpose of age identification
- If speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication
For the current position in Solihull, The council’s website has all the information you need.
Worried about cancer or have some symptoms? Then please don’t delay in contacting us, if you need to be seen, we can do this is a safe way to protect you, your family and our staff.
Children returning to school?
– then this video might be helpful
Patient information leaflet on how to stop the spread of the virus can be found here
University Hospitals Birmingham have developed a useful on line service to help you if you think you may have COVID, you can find it here
You can also use the on line 111 service
We are so sorry if you have suffered a loss of a loved one due to COVID 19, we appreciate what a very difficult time this will be for you and your family and friends. This government information might be of some assistance
Help with dental problems – please read the information here
Don’t over order otherwise we shall be in a loo roll situation. There is plenty of medication to go around but not if we stockpile, so you will continue to have a one month supply on one prescription but we can send more than one month to your pharmacy.
There will be no more paper prescriptions. All those that we were holding have been posted out to patients. Now, you MUST tell us which pharmacy you would like us to send your prescription to so you can go directly to them to collect. Remember pharmacies are extremely busy as well – remember to keep 6 feet away from other people when queuing to collect and pay.
Vulnerable and no one to help? – Age UK Solihull is working with a wonderful team of volunteers to try to get food donations to Solihull residents who are either self-isolating and not able to get to the shops or whose support network is self-isolating (a free service). There is also some provision for shopping to be done for clients if necessary (they would pay for the shopping but no additional charge). You can contact them on behalf of you or anyone else on 0121 705 3588
Fit notes – will be posted, but if you need confirmation for your employer of self-isolating for 14 days if someone in your family has symptoms, you can order this on line by visiting NHS 111 website section here
Self Service trolley!
Welcome to our new member of staff who is permanently sitting in the porch between the two front doors. Her name is Dolly and she will be pleased to assist you although in a silent way!
In the drawers you will find
- Prescription request slips – post them into the box on top when done
- Self-certification forms
- Counselling – no referral needed, you can ring them direct for help – stress, anxiety, depression
- Samaritan cards and information
- Urine questionnaires for suspected urine infections and urine sample bottles, do sample at home and then bring bag and place back in drawer marked samples
- Contact details for the Community Age UK Hub
- Contact details for the Solihull Lifestyle Service – help with stop smoking
Back pain, sore knee? Then why not try the NHS MSK app for a bit of advice, further details here
If you are worried about falling, or fancy a bit of gentle exercise, our wonderful colleagues at the postural stability programme have made a series of videos, why not watch them