Practice News

covid sign
14th Dec 2021

14.12.2021 Get Boosted!

On Sunday evening 12.12.21 Boris Johnson addressed the nation with his plan to offer a booster vaccine to everyone over the age of 18 by the end of December.  This is a hugely ambitious plan and will require a mammoth national effort including many volunteers and retired health care professionals.  We are very fortunate at Bridgewater Surgeries to be experienced in rolling out vaccines and our local GP group (Primary Care Network) have given over 25,000 vaccines on site since December 2020.

We can only vaccinate as quickly as we receive supplies and are currently expecting a large delivery at which time we will send out invitations by text so that you can book at a convenient time.  We do not encourage "walk ins" to the clinics as we match our supplies carefully with the appointments offered by text and try to recall people in order of priority groups.  

Due to the additional work with the booster campaigns the phones are even busier than usual and we appreciate that it may take you longer to get through if you want to contact the practice.

Please remember that you can submit a non urgent query via a webform (e-consult) via our website and you can get medical information from the nhs app, your local pharmacy or 111.

Thank you for your patience at this extremely difficult and busy time.

13th Dec 2021

09.12.21 Covid Vaccine update

The new guidance of eligibility for Covid vaccines is as follows:

Boosters – all patients aged 18+ and those aged 16-18 in a high risk group (13 weeks/91 days after second dose)

Second doses – all patients aged 18+ and 12-17 year olds in a high risk group and (8 weeks after first dose), and all patients aged 16/17 (12 weeks after first dose)

First doses – All patients aged 16+ and 12-15 year olds in a high risk group

Patients aged 12-15 and not in a high risk group should book their first and second doses via 119

Please note, as the recent change has made a large percentage of the population eligible overnight we are inviting patients in order of risk (eg most elderly and vulnerable patients first).  Please bear with us as it will take a while to get through all the cohorts.

13th Dec 2021

09.12.21 Covid Vaccines Abroad

If you have had any Covid vaccines abroad you can book an appointment to report these to NHS England via the following link https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/tell-nhs-about-coronavirus-vaccinations-abroad/ Unfortunately, we cannot add these at the surgery.

30th Nov 2021

30.11.2021 IMPORTANT NOTICE TO ALL PATIENTS DUE TO OMICRON VARIANT

As you have probably heard in the news, there is a new variant of concern of Coronavirus.  Experts do not yet know enough about this in terms of how quickly it spreads, how ill it will make people and how well the current vaccines will protect against it.  However, all the experts do agree that it is now even more important for everyone to come forward to get their vaccines or boosters when due because they are highly effective against the current strains and will therefore help reduce the spread of illness in society.

We would therefore like to recommend that people should wear masks in all enclosed places, to take lateral flow tests before attending large social gatherings or mass events and to take extra precautions if you or anyone in your household is from a high risk group.

Within the practice we will do our best to keep you safe on your visit, including making all efforts to keep patients with minor illness in a separate area from patients attending for routine medical problems.

  1. If you are experiencing Covid symptoms please do not come into the surgery for any reason. Please self isolate and arrange a PCR test (lateral flow tests are not currently for use if you are unwell).  If you are concerned please call the practice during working hours or 111 out of hours.
  2. Covid Vaccines - we will recall you by text message, in priority order, when we have a supply of vaccine. Please try not to phone reception regarding Covid vaccine, as it prevents our phone lines being available for unwell patients.  If you prefer to have your vaccine sooner or elsewhere please see the online booking system 119
  3. Remember that you can use a secure web form (eConsult) for non urgent enquiries. These are found on our web site, usually dealt with in 1-2 working days and keep the phones free

Thank you for your cooperation at this very busy time.

Kind regards

Bridgewater Surgeries

29th Nov 2021

29 November 2021

As we approach Winter with Covid very much circulating in the UK we wanted to offer a quick update

Please get your Covid vaccine or boosters when you are due – this is probably the best way to prevent severe illness and admission to hospital. Even if you are low risk yourself, Covid can be very unpredictable, and Long Covid can affect anyone. Most pregnant women & many of those in Intensive care are not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated. We know that the effects of the Covid vaccines wear off over time, so it is really important to have your boosters when due.

So having your Covid vaccine protects you, others around you, and society at large

  • Please wear mask, especially in enclosed public spaces. Recent evidence again suggests that mask wearing is highly effective at reducing transmission of Covid

See link HERE

The rules around self isolation for contacts of Covid can be confusing and difficult to understand. Please find a link to a simple one page summary with hyperlinks HERE

We hope you stay safe and well

Best wishes

Bridgewater Surgeries

3rd Nov 2021

03.11.2021 Covid Booster update

This week Covid boosters are all over the news.

Latest data shows you are 32 times less likely to die of Covid if you are fully vaccinated

ONS data shows that around 1:50 patients still have Covid in England – so we are still very much in the Pandemic. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/29october2021 

Bridgwater Surgeries are still an approved vaccine site – you should be recalled around 6 months after your 2nd dose (unless you are a very high risk group and need a Third Primary Dose – see previous blog)

If you would prefer to have your vaccine elsewhere you can book via the Website  or by calling 119.

We would like to particularly urge all pregnant women to consider getting their Covid vaccine.

  • The latest information from the UKOSS study of COVID-19 in pregnancy link here, shows clear evidence of the real world effectiveness of vaccination against covid in pregnancy.
  • More than 98% of women admitted with symptomatic covid-19 in pregnancy were unvaccinated.
  • Of 235 women admitted to intensive care, only 3 had received a single dose of vaccine, and none had received both doses.
  • Data from MBRRACE-UK also shows that maternal deaths from COVID-19 continue to occur, with more deaths in the third (Delta) wave of infection that either of the two previous waves, again with most women unvaccinated.
  • All pregnant women are recommended to have a covid vaccine by the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

USEFUL LINKS

Decision aid for pregnant women and Covid vaccine https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/2021-02-24-combined-info-sheet-and-decision-aid.pdf

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists advice on Covid vaccine  https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/coronavirus-covid-19-pregnancy-and-womens-health/covid-19-vaccines-and-pregnancy/covid-19-vaccines-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding/

 

As always, if you have any concerns of questions, please speak to your GP or Midwife.

19th Oct 2021

19.10.2021 Minor illness, children and PIMS

With schools going back and children mixing once again, especially with reduced mask wearing and following a year of social distancing with low exposure to seasonal illness, we are seeing a huge surge of children and adults with minor coughs and colds.

It can be very hard to tell the difference between Covid-19 and other seasonal illness and we wanted to share a few thoughts and tips below from the front line:-

  • Lateral flow tests should not be used if you are unwell.  If you are feeling unwell and suspect that you might have Covid-19 please self isolate and arrange a PCR test (swab) via the 119 service https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
  • Lateral flow test when positive are very reliable.  So if you have a positive lateral flow test you should self isolate until you get your PCR result.
  • Lateral flow when negative is very unreliable.  So if you suspect you have Covid-19, even if your lateral flow is negative, we would suggest that you self isolate and seek a PCR.  The GP's are seeing many patients who say they have had a negative Covid test and therefore do not have Covid based on a lateral flow.  This is false reassurance and may be contributing to the current spread of Covid in the UK.
  • Although mask wearing is no longer enforced in public places, we do request that patients wear a face covering during their visit to the practice to protect all the patients and staff around you.  Please note that many of our patients are frail and elderly or have chronic health conditions.
  • Although the classic symptoms of Covid-19 (which are still listed on the government website) are high fever, cough, loss of taste and smell, it is well recognised that children may present with headache, fatigue and flu like symptoms, so it can be very difficult to tell the illness apart.
  • Please get your flu and Covid vaccines if you are eligible as these will help protect you, your household and community.
  • A very small number of children are developing a rare complication of Covid called PIMS (Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome) PIMS.  So in the unlikely event that your child becomes very unwell with symptoms such as cracked lips, swollen hands and feet with peeling skin, very red eyes and feeling unwell, please seek medical help as a matter of urgency.
  • This link will take you to a useful booklet for parents to try and help you know when to seek help 

One of our GP's, Dr Simon Hodes, has written a thread on Twitter with some information about minor illness which you can access here

5th Oct 2021

05.10.21 Covid Update Boosters and 3rd Primary Boosters

What the difference is between THIRD PRIMARY DOSE and a booster?

This is causing a lot of confusion!

A ‘BOOSTER DOSE’ is now being offered to all people age over 50 who are more than 6 months (or 180 days) after their 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine. The idea is to boost the immune response in all people aged over 50 to protect them from waning antibody levels. There is strong trial data to support this extra booster, and many countries have already adopted this approach with good effect.

A ‘THIRD DOSE / 3RD PRIMARY’ is an extra dose given to some patients who are at a higher risk of not having responded well to their first 2 doses as part of their initial course of vaccination. Although 2 doses is usually enough for most patients, if you suffer from a dampened immune response (due to disease or some medication) then data suggests that you might not create an adequate protective (antibody) response to the standard 2 vaccine approach. For this reason a limited number of patients are recommended to have a THIRD DOSE around 8 weeks after their second dose to ensure a safe and effective response. This is separate to any booster dose.

Who is eligible for a standard COVID-19 Booster ?

The programme is being rolled out to the same priority groups as previously. This means care home residents, health and social care workers, people aged over 50, those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19, adult carers, and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals will be prioritised. 

The booster vaccine will be offered at least six months (180 days) after a second vaccination and the NHS should contact people directly to let them know when it is their turn to get their booster vaccine. 

Why are some patients being offered a THIRD PRIMARY DOSE at 8 weeks after their 2nd dose?

Preliminary data from studies have shown that many patients with an immune problem or underlying health conditions, do not make an antibody response at all to vaccination or make a response that this is much lower than for someone with no underlying disorders. There will also be other benefits to the immune system including T cells but again the responses to these are still under investigation.  Having no or low anti-bodies does not mean that you do not have any protection from serious covid infection, but it may mean that you could be at higher risk than someone who had a strong anti-body response.

What are the timings of the THIRD PRIMARY DOSE ?

A third dose is recommended for some high risk patients at least 8 weeks after the second dose of the vaccine. Speak to your specialist team about when you should get your third dose of the vaccine, as they will be able to time this around your treatment in order to give you the highest possible level of protection from COVID-19.

Who should get a THIRD PRIMARY DOSE at 8 weeks after their 2nd dose ?

In September 2021, the JCVI announced that people who have severely suppressed immune systems at the time of their first and second doses of the vaccine would be able to get a third dose. As stated above this is NOT a booster dose, but an additional ‘top-up’ dose to increase protection from COVID-19 for people who may not have not had a good response from the first two doses.

Which medication taken in the 3 months before a 2nd vaccine mean that a THIRD PRIMARY DOSE is required?

Based on the guidance put out by the JCVI, Crohns and Colitis UK has summarised the info clearly HERE. All people taking the following treatments in the 3 months before your 2nd vaccine should be offered a third dose of the vaccine:

This list above does not include the DMARDs sulfasalazine or hydroxychloroquine.

If in doubt, please check with your specialist team or GP.

Which vaccine will be used for THIRD PRIMARY DOSES (and COVID-19 boosters?)

The JCVI are recommending that one of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Mederna) should be used for all boosters and third primary doses. This will be the case irrelevant of which vaccine you had before.

 People will be offered either a full dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or a half dose of the Moderna vaccine, following scientific evidence showing that both provide a strong booster response. This will be regardless of which vaccine the individual previously had.  

Where neither can be offered, for example for those who have an allergy to either vaccine, the JCVI advise that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine can be used for those who received this vaccine for their first and second doses. 

Is it OK to mix vaccines?

Because the JCVI are recommending the mRNA vaccines for third primary doses and boosters, this means that people who previously received the AstraZeneca vaccine are now likely to receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as their third dose.  

Studies suggest that mixed vaccines may give a better immune response, and offer improved protection. So having the AstraZeneca vaccine followed by the Pfizer vaccine probably gives a better immune response than two AstraZeneca vaccines, although studies did not include people who were immunosuppressed.

If I get a THIRD PRIMARY DOSE will I also need a booster (4th dose) ?

Yes. Booster jabs are already being offered to people aged over 50 who are likely to have made a good response to their first 2 vaccines but who would be at increased risk of COVID-19 infection if their immune response wanes with time. This booster should be at least 6 months (180 days) after getting the first 2 doses to maintain good levels of protection.

The JCVI are anticipating that those that require 3 doses for their primary course will still need a ‘booster’ or 4th dose, 6 months later.

Who will contact me about my 3rd vaccine dose?

Good question! And there is currently no fixed process for this – so please ensure if you have any doubts if you need a THIRD PRIMARY DOSE that you contact your specialist team or GP, to ensure that you are not missed, and that you get protected.

You might be called from a variety of places:

  • You will probably be recalled by the same place you had your first 2 doses (primary course)
  • You may be recalled by your own GP
  • You may receive a letter from the NHS inviting you to book

If you received a letter about being vulnerable or extremely vulnerable in the past, or were invited to be vaccinated ahead of your age group, you should be on a central list and should be contacted. However, the lists may not be fully accurate or up to date, and sometimes the way that your condition is put into GP databases may not trigger the central list - so it is possible that you could be missed.  

IF IN DOUBT PLEASE SPEAK TO YOUR SPECIALTY TEAM OR YOUR NURSE SPECIALIST WHO SHOULD BE ABLE TO ASSIST.

Where will I be able to get my THIRD PRIMARY DOSE or COVID-19 Booster?

Plans for the rollout will use the existing networks in place for the COVID-19 vaccination programme, including: 

  • Local vaccination services co-ordinated by GP groups (primary care networks) 
  • Community pharmacies
  • Some limited hospital centres
  • Mass vaccination centres across the country, ensuring people can access a booster dose regardless of where they live.

The NHS should contact people directly to let them know when it is their turn to get their booster vaccine and outline options available. 

When should I hear about my 3rd PRIMARY DOSE ?

The announcement and roll out of the boosters has been very rapid and it will be a challenge to get all eligible half a million individuals vaccinated by the target date of 11th of October. Hopefully they will be done as soon as possible.

IF IN DOUBT PLEASE SPEAK TO YOUR SPECIALTY TEAM OR YOUR NURSE SPECIALIST WHO SHOULD BE ABLE TO ASSIST.

What other measures should I take?

Vaccines have been very effective, but regardless of vaccine status it is still worth continuing with cautions including wearing masks, avoiding crowded areas as far as possible (particularly indoors or poorly ventilated) and trying to avoid close contact with others especially if they are known to be unwell.

What should I do if I have not heard about my THIRD PRIMARY VACCINE ?

Please contact your hospital specialist and they should be able to support or confirm your eligibility. Your hospital specialist does not have access to give you a COVID-19 vaccines as these are all being delivered through vaccine centres. The only exception to this is if you are involved in a research study.

Alternatively, contact your GP surgery to ask for advice and to see whether they have started contacting their patients eligible for a 3rd dose, or try the central covid vaccination helpline number on 119 free of charge to ask for advice.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe for me ?

The currently available COVID19 vaccines are safe for people with immune problems (including the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines).  Studies have been done that show a 3rd dose is safe and effective at enhancing the immune response to vaccination. This is true regardless of which 2 vaccines you had first.

It is likely that you will have some pain at the site of the injection and you may have other side effects including feeling tired, achy, feverish or have a headache.  If you do have side effects, they usually occur shortly after the vaccination and usually resolve within one to two days.  If you have a more severe adverse reaction it is important to tell your GP or consultant so they can help you and also report it to the Yellow Card Scheme. 

Will people know if they have got a better immune response after the third?

There is no routine antibody testing in the NHS to assess the response to vaccination. There are studies which are exploring this in patients with immune problems. These give some individuals their results back but importantly scientists are trying to understand what these results mean for the whole immunodeficiency population. There is not YET enough available to know what level of antibody gives a protective level, or how long this protective level might last in healthy individuals or those with an immune problem.

Can I have my flu jab at the same time as my 3rd COVID-19 vaccine dose?

Yes, the Flu and the COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time. However this will be a personal decision.

The JCVI advised that the flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered (given at the same time). It is important that people take up the offer of both vaccines when they receive it, so people are encouraged to get both vaccinations as soon as possible rather than waiting for the possibility of getting them together. 

A UK study, called the ComFluCOV, has found that this is a safe and effective strategy. Also from a practical point of view it is often easier to arrange both Covid and Flu vaccines at the same time as a single appointment. This is especially important if a patient would struggle to return for the other vaccine at another time for practical reasons.

This is correct as of 4.10.2021

Prof Alex Richter Prof of Immunology

Dr Simon Hodes General Practitioner

 

 

team of the year
5th Oct 2021

05.10.21 Bridgewater Surgeries have been shortlisted for GP team of the year!

We are delighted to say that the team at Bridgewater Surgeries have been shortlisted for two awards:-

1.  HVCCG  Practice of the Year (awards ceremony being held virtually 6/10/21)

2.  National GP Team of the Year award (awards ceremony being held on 10/12/21)

5th Oct 2021

05.10.21 "C" the signs - warning signs for cancer

There have been various news articles about patients not attending with suspected cancer symptoms during the pandemic.

Several of our GP's have seen patients coming forward in the last few months since lock down eased with symptoms they had left due to lockdown.

We would urge you if you have any symptoms such as:-

  • unexplained weight loss
  • an unusual lump which is not going away or getting bigger
  • a strange skin lesion which lasts for more than a few weeks
  • unexplained vaginal bleeding (not menstrual or after menopause)
  • unexplained blood in your spit, wee or poo 
  • unexplained shortness of breath
  • persistant cough
  • recurrent nausea, indigestion or vomiting.
  • unexplained bloating or abdominal pain

Please call reception and explain that you need to see a GP face to face as soon as possible.

 

 

your record
24th Aug 2021

Keeping your records up to date

Please help us keep your records up to date and complete this short questionnaire: Update your Patient Record

3rd Aug 2021

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.

3rd Aug 2021

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

20th Jul 2021

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.

 

 

13th Jul 2021

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.

6th Jul 2021

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

29th Jun 2021

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 testPlease note that lateral flow tests are not to be used if you have suspected symptoms of coronavirus.  Please see our flowcharts:- 

FLOWCHART FOR SUSPECTED COVID IN ADULTS  

FLOWCHART FOR SUSPECTED CORONAVIRUS CHILDREN

8th Jun 2021

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

 https://www.bma.org.uk/bma-media-centre/bma-says-ministers-listened-to-association-s-call-to-delay-roll-out-of-the-patient-data-sharing-programme-and-it-was-the-right-thing-to-do

1st Jun 2021

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 

16th May 2021

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

16th May 2021

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

5th May 2021

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...

 

4th May 2021

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.

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0yi0xl20jq1kqpp/How%20to%20use%20eConsult%20video%204.5.2021.mp4?dl=0