27.8.21 URGENT NEWS ABOUT BLOOD TESTS
There is a national shortage of blood bottles, which is expected to last until at least 17th September 2021. This is affecting every healthcare service provider. We have therefore been told by the NHS to postpone all non-urgent blood tests.
We will: • Review all of the required blood tests to determine those that can safely be delayed
• Advise you if we feel that you urgently require having blood taken to assist your treatment
• Add your name to a waiting list to rearrange your blood test
• Advise you when the situation changes
We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience, This is something that is completely out of our control
Keeping your records up to date
Please help us keep your records up to date and complete this short questionnaire: Update your Patient Record
Fit to Drive advice
We have been informed that during COVID many drivers' licences have expired. The DVLA initially gave extensions so that drivers could continue to drive and work. For many drivers however, this extension is coming to an end.
Some Drivers are now being told by the DVLA to ask their GP if they are “fit to drive” so that they can continue to drive under Section 88 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988). The DVLA has produced a leaflet which explains RTA 1988.
GPs are not usually qualified, and may not be insured, to advise patients whether or not they are fit to drive. In normal circumstances a GP practice may provide a factual report for the DVLA so that their expert medical advisers will decide upon fitness. If a GP were to provide an opinion that their patient was ‘fit to drive', and then an accident were to occur, the GP may be liable. This would not be covered by the Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice, as this is not NHS work.
If a GP were to say that a patient was not fit to drive, then that could equally potentially adversely affect the long term doctor-patient relationship.
For these reasons, if there may be any doubts about whether a person is fit to drive, GPs have been advised to decline to provide this assurance. WE apologise for any inconvenience this may cause but hope you realise that we are following our professional guidance and acting in line with our professional advisory bodies, for further information, please see this link https://www.bedshertslmcs.org.uk/weekly-update-for-practices-monday-2nd-august-2021/
Practices may wish to publish an explanatory note on their websites or noticeboards, so that patients are forewarned that this is what your policy is.
If a GP chooses to produce a bespoke report prepared for the patient to be sent to the DVLA on their behalf a reasonable fee may be charged, as this is not NHS work.
Covid vaccination for children
As you may have seen in the news the Government recently announced that some children aged 12-15 will be eligible for covid vaccinations alongside otherwise healthy children who live in a house with an individual classed as extremely clinically vulnerable.
However, the roll out has been delayed while the specialised paperwork is being finalised by NHS England. Further information on this can be found on the Government website https://www.gov.uk/government/news/jcvi-issues-advice-on-covid-19-vaccination-of-children-and-young-people
July 19th update
In order to keep you safe when visiting the Practice during the pandemic, we would like to reassure all our patients that we will continue to follow the guidance of our governing and professional bodies.
All current infection control measures will continue to be implemented in our Practice.
These include the wearing of face masks and hand cleansing on entry to the Practice; the sanitising of all equipment and surfaces; maintaining social distancing by limiting the number of patients in the Practice.
Entry will still be by appointment / invitation only - please call the practice if you do not have an appointment
Unless you have an exemption, we would ask you to wear a face covering during your visit for the protection of others.
July 19th Planning - patients and staff to continue wearing face masks
As you are probably aware from 19th July all legal obligations to wear face coverings will be lifted. There is much concern in the national press and in particularly the medical world about the effects of this. Along with most other health care settings we will continue to wear face masks when seeing our patients face to face and unless you have exceptions we would request that you continue to wear face coverings when visiting the practice for the time being.
The Delta variant of covid is still very much circulating locally and for the protection of our staff and our vulnerable patients in the practice we think it is appropriate to continue to wear face coverings for now.
Thank you for your co-operation and understanding.
Demonstrating your COVID vaccination status with NHS COVID Pass
People vaccinated in England who have had a full course of the COVID-19 vaccine can now demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccination status for international travel and for events. NHS Digital has produced a guide which you can find here NHS Digital website.
You should also be able to view your vaccine status on the NHS app or via the NHS desktop app. We would recommend downloading the NHS app as it has many other features including checking your medical records, requesting prescriptions and get general health advice. Here is the link to the app NHS app
Hayfever or Delta variant?
Please check out our newly updated Medicines page where you can find information about our policies including self care (over the counter) remedies. There has been lots of hayfever around recently, please have a look at the local hayfever guidance HAYFEVER LOCAL POLICY
Here is a link to the NHS webpage on HAYFEVER
If you get hayfever each year with itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing then this is safe to treat over the counter. However, please note that the DELTA variant of coronavirus is causing headaches, runny nose and a cough, so if you think that you have symptoms of coronavirus please self isolate and seek a PCR test. Please note that lateral flow tests are not to be used if you have suspected symptoms of coronavirus. Please see our flowcharts:-
Covid vaccinations for 18 years and over
We have now completed around 27,000 covid vaccines since December 2020 and have completed our alloted patients.
Anyone aged 18 and over is eligible for a covid vaccine, however, we are currently not offering this through the practice,
You can book appointments at a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy now, or wait to be invited to go to a local NHS service. For further information or to book your appointment. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/who-can-get-the-vaccine/
Planned data sharing
Further our post 1.6.2021, we were delighted to hear an announcement today that the planned data sharing proposed for July 1st has now been delayed until September at least. We feel that this gives time now for a proper in depth public information campaign and will hopefully allow patients to make a fully informed decision on whether or not you are happy to have your pseudo-anonymised data extracted for research purposes.
We would ask you to decide if you are happy to have your data shared or not and if you would like to opt out please do complete the forms in the blog from 1.6.21 so that we can register your wishes. Please find below a statement from the BMA today
General Practice proposed data capture planned 1 July 2021
We have recently been informed that the NHS plans to extract anonymised data from all GP records nationwide. This data is to be used by third parties for research purposes and the government has decided that the data will be extracted by default unless patients fill in an opt out form.
Here is a link to the official NHS website for further information https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/data-collections-and-data-sets/data-collections/general-practice-data-for-planning-and-research/transparency-notice
Here is a link to the opt out form Type 1 opt-out form. A signed copy of this should be handed back to the practice in paper format or electronically.
If you would like to read further into this here is a joint statement from the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Royal College of GP's (RCGP) https://www.bma.org.uk/news-and-opinion/statement-on-gp-data-for-planning-and-research
Message from our CCG (local NHS health managers) about practice access
You may have seen on the news that from Monday 17 May, doors at GP practices are ‘re-opening’.
As you will know, our GP practice has been open throughout the pandemic, offering patients telephone and online appointments, with face to face consultations available for those who need them. This was in-line with national requirements to keep patients safe, whilst COVID infection rates were high and before the vaccination was widespread.
GP practices are now being encouraged to offer patients a choice of whether they would like a remote or face to face consultation. However, before we have more people coming into the surgery to see us in person, we need a bit of time to put in place measures to keep everyone safe.
As we wait for further national guidance on doing that, we ask that patients continue to contact us by phone or online as you have been doing. We are facing unprecedented demands for our services, including the vaccine rollout and all the associated queries and we will need to continue to adjust how we use our clinicians’ time to best support our patients – particularly those who need us the most.
We will keep you updated as soon as we are clear about how we can re-open our reception areas safely for walk in patients.
Thank you for your support
Vaccine update and travel
Within our PCN (Primary Care Network) we have administered over 22,000 covid vaccinations at Bridgewater House. 14,000 of these were first doses for patients in cohorts 1-9 and, as of 10 May, over 8,000 second doses.
Please note that we are no longer offering 1st doses at the surgery, so any now eligible patients will need to have their first dose elsewhere. If you are currently due a Covid vaccine, you can book your appointment at a mass vaccination centre via the following link https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/ or by calling the central booking system on 119. The eligibility list is shown on the booking link above and is updated as the eligibility changes.
If you had your first dose at Bridgewater House, the inviting practice (usually your registered GP surgery) will text you a booking link for you second dose approximately 10 weeks after the first dose was given. If you are registered with Bridgewater Surgeries and had your first dose at Bridgewater House over 10 weeks ago but have not heard from us, please let us know. If you are a patient at Garston Medical Centre, New Road Surgery or Baldwins Lane Surgery – please contact you own practice directly.
The Government assure us that from May 17th patients should be able to access their COVID-19 vaccination via the free NHS App. Many patients can already view their vaccines via the NHS app. Please see https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/online-services/nhs-app for further information on downloading this. There are many other useful features available on the NHS app
If you do not have access to a smartphone and know that the country you are travelling to requires a COVID-19 vaccination status you can call the NHS helpline on 119 (from 17th May) and ask for a letter to be posted to you. Please see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/demonstrating-your-covid-19-vaccination-status-when-travelling-abroad for further information.
PLEASE NOTE THAT GP PRACTICES HAVE BEEN ADVISED NOT TO PROVIDE LETTERS CONFIRMING COVID 19 VACCINATION STATUS
What is eConsult
eConsult is an excellent way to access help, including making a request for a routine appointment, or making an admin query.
There is also a wealth of information on various medical conditions and things that can help, even before you speak to a clinician.
The process is simple. Here is a link to a YouTube video on how to do it...
A video from Dr Hodes on how to use eConsult
eConsults, accessible through the homepage of our website, allow you to get help without having to phone the surgery. You can request a non-urgent appointment or make a routine admin query.
As well as requesting help from one of our staff, there is also a wealth of information on you medical condition and ways to manage your illness before contacting a clinician.
The process is simple and Dr Hodes has provided a video demonstration of how the system works. Please follow the link below to watch it.