- click here for an easy read version of how to access services during COVID-19
- click here for the plain english version of how to get nhs help when you need it during the coronavirus outbreak
Have you been identified as High Risk of Complications if you get COVID-19? For information on shielding: go to: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable-guidance
If you have not received a text or letter identifying you as someone who is at high risk of severe illness if you catch Coronavirus:
- There are several categories of patient who may also fall into this group who are at increased risk. If you do not receive a letter and feel this could be you or you have received a letter telling you that you are not required to shield, please go here for more information. If you feel you fall into one of the categories listed *here* as being extremely vulnerable please email the surgery at firstname.lastname@example.org stating what your condition is and with your GPs agreement, a letter of evidence will be sent out to you.
- If you do fall into this group, please read here for more advice about staying safe at home here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable-guidance and for advice on looking after your health at home for both high and moderate risk patients visit https://www.nhs.uk/health-at-home/
- For further support and advice from the government click here
- For information on looking after mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 crisis click here
- For all other coronavirus support and advice including financial click https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
- if you have a medical concern, phone and book a telephone assessment as you would normally, or sign up for our new online consultations here https://app.doctorlink.com/register
People who feel they are vulnerable at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and who would benefit from support from NHS Volunteer Responders, can now self-refer to the scheme rather than depending on their GP practices or other professionals to refer them. NHS Volunteer Responders can help with tasks such as collecting shopping and prescribed medicines or driving patients to medical appointments.
The number for people to call to make a self-referral is 08081963646 8am to 8pm
Dartford Borough Council has a number to contact for ANYONE who needs help not just those that are shielding - 01322 34 32 44
If you have asthma and have heard you need to obtain an asthma rescue pack:
Latest health guidance regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19).
If anyone (including children) develop a high temperature - they feel hot to touch on their chest or back or a continuous cough - this means they've started coughing repeatedly, they and all members of their household should self isolate for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms, i.e. not leave the house. EVEN IF THE SYMPTOMS ARE VERY MILD and wouldn’t normally stop you or your child carrying on as normal.
People should use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/ if:
- they feel they cannot cope with their symptoms at home
- their condition gets worse
- their symptoms do not get better after 7 days
Your GP cannot test for COVID-19.
We have taken the decision to move most of our appointments to telephone assessment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
a) We have telephone assessments available to book online
b) if a Clinician feels a patient needs a face to face assessment after telephone consultation then they will be asked to come in
c) For patients attending for nurse procedure appointments and blood tests, do not attend if you have possible symptoms of COVID-19 or you will be told to return home and self-isolate.
d) You will be asked on attending to confirm that you do not have any of the above symptoms and if you do you will not be seen.
e) Patients who do not disclose symptoms or are dishonest in this screening process will be removed from the Practice list because of a breach of trust.
f) We have suspended non-essential services such as ear syringing, NHS health checks, travel vaccines etc.
g) We will continue to have processes to ensure childhood immunisation and other essential care continues.
h) If you are seen at the surgery your Clinician may need to wear gloves, gown and mask so do not be alarmed.
HOW CAN YOU HELP KEEP GP PRACTICES OPEN?
1. Do not attend the practice if you have a fever, cough, or if you have a new episode of chestiness, wheeziness, shortness of breath, nasal discharge or congestion, sneezing etc. Or have been in contact with someone with COVID 19 or travelled to a high risk country even if you had a prior appointment booked for another reason.
2. If you are told to come to the surgery for an assessment listen carefully to instructions. You may be asked to wait in your car until the Clinician calls you in/to wait in a different area. This is to protect you and other patients.
3. DO NOT attend your gp surgery for any reason unless you have been advised to.
4. Register for the NHS app or myGP to able to book telephone consultations and check test results and your notes in the near future.
5. Do not call the GP surgery unless you need to. Surgery phone lines are facing high demand. Please use the online 111 tools to try to self manage first.
6. Register for electronic prescribing and inform your pharmacy that you wish to nominate them. You can then request prescriptions online avoiding the need to come into surgery.
If you are a dispensing patient do not nominate a pharmacy but please sign up for online repeat requests if you have not done so already and your requests will come through directly to the dispensary. If you are unwell, please send somebody else who is well to collect scripts and/or dispensed medication from the Surgery. Please let us know if you are self-isolating, live alone and are having difficulty attending the surgery to collect your dispensed medication. We will do what we can to help.
Your GP practice needs your help to ensure that they can protect patients and staff and to stay open at this difficult time.
Please remember that if you are unwell for other reasons eg chest pain / found a breast lump / other significant illnesses you should still ask for help!
This may be a worrying time and some may find they are struggling with their mental health. Please visit:
For the links to how to self refer for psychological therapies- these can be done online and over the phone too.
Lastly please look out for your vulnerable neighbours, family and friends. Please if you know you have a housebound neighbour, check they have enough food and can collect their medicines.
For most COVID 19 will be a mild illness. The purpose of trying to reduce the rate that people catch it by isolating those affected is to try to keep the NHS running to be able to care for those who are very sick.
Message from our hospital colleagues:
1. DO NOT attend the Emergency Department unless it is an emergency. They were struggling with workload before COVID-19! But conversely if you have a genuine emergency like chest pain that persists or symptoms of a stroke (FAST) DO NOT DELAY. Call 999.
2. Please do not attend hospitals for visits or appointments or attend care homes if you have even the mildest symptoms of a fever/cough (therefore should be self isolating for 7days) OR have been in contact with someone with COVID 19 in the last 14 days OR travelled in the last 14 days
If you want your health carers to be there when you need us we need your protection!
NHS Immunisations FAQs during COVID-19 Pandemic
Why aren’t you stopping routine immunisations?
Whilst preventing the spread of COVID-19 and caring for those infected is a public health priority, it is very important to maintain good coverage of immunisations, particularly in the childhood programme. In addition to protecting the individual, this will avoid outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases that could increase further the numbers of patients requiring health services.
Should people/babies really still go and be immunised at their GP surgery even though there is a risk that by doing this they may be infected with COVID-19?
Your GP surgery or health clinic will take all possible precautions to protect you and your baby from COVID-19. People should still attend for routine vaccinations unless they are unwell (check with your GP whether you should still attend) or self-isolating because they have been in contact with someone with COVID-19. In these circumstances please rearrange your appointment. Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent against other infectious diseases. Babies and toddlers in particular need vaccinations to protect them from measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, diphtheria, whooping cough, meningitis, polio, tetanus, hepatitis B, TB and more.
What are “routine” childhood immunisations?
The national immunisation programme is highly successful in reducing the incidence of serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases such as pneumococcal and meningococcal infections, whooping cough, diphtheria and measles. It remains important to maintain the best possible vaccine uptake to prevent a resurgence of these infections.
Practices will be prioritising the following:
- Routine childhood immunisations, from 8 weeks up to and including vaccines due at one year of age including first MMR and hepatitis B for at risk infants;
- Pertussis vaccination in pregnancy;
- Pneumococcal vaccination for those in risk groups from 2 to 64 years of age and those aged 65 years and over (subject to supplies of PPV23 and clinical prioritisation).
Neonatal BCG and all doses of targeted hepatitis B vaccines should also be offered in a timely manner.
If you are not doing school age immunisations, isn’t there a risk that we will see big increases in the diseases those children are normally vaccinated against?
School aged immunisations will be rescheduled. UK government has provided clear public health advice on specific measures to take to prevent further Coronavirus cases which includes social distancing. On this basis, community clinics are not recommended given that this is likely to increase the risk of exposure to the virus.
Do GP surgeries really still have the time to do immunisations?
Practices will be busy responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the routine childhood immunisation programme will continue to play an important role in preventing ill-health through causes other than coronavirus infection.
How important is it that you get your immunisation at the time you are called? Is there a risk in delaying for a few months and if there isn’t then why don’t we stop and reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 through a visit to the general practice?
Parents should be informed that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that routine childhood immunisations are started and completed on time. This will help protect the infant or child from a range of serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Whilst infections such as invasive pneumococcal and meningococcal disease are now much reduced in incidence, this has only come about because of high levels of vaccination. To prevent resurgence, infants still need protecting through vaccination. Pertussis continues to circulate at elevated levels and it remains important that pregnant women are offered the pertussis vaccine, and that their babies start receiving protection against this, and other infections, from 8 weeks of age.
There is a shortage of liquid infant paracetamol which is often used by parents to help manage a baby’s reaction to their routine immunisations so won’t parents stop bringing their babies because of this?
Vaccination to protect from serious conditions should not be delayed. Whilst parents should continue to try to obtain and administer infant paracetamol if possible, infant vaccines can and should still be given even if it is not possible to give prophylactic paracetamol.
Where parents have been unable to obtain infant paracetamol, the following advice is for clinical staff in primary care and parents.
- Fever can be expected after any vaccination but is more common when the MenB vaccine (Bexsero) is given with the other routine vaccines at eight and sixteen weeks of age.
- In infants who do develop a fever after vaccination, the fever tends to peak around six hours after vaccination and is nearly always gone completely within two days.
- Ibuprofen can alternatively be used to treat a fever and other post-vaccination reactions. Prophylactic ibuprofen at the time of vaccination is not effective. Ibuprofen is not licensed for infants under the age of 3 months or body-weight under 5 kg. However, the BNF for Children advises that ibuprofen can be used for post-immunisation pyrexia in infants aged 2 to 3 months, on doctor’s advice only, using 50 mg for 1 dose, followed by 50 mg after 6 hours if required. See the BNF for Children for more details https://bnfc.nice.org.uk/drug/ibuprofen.html#indicationsAndDoses
- There have been concerns about the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, in relation to COVID-19. This is being investigated by the Commission on Human Medicines and NICE. NHS England have advised in the interim for patients who have confirmed COVID-19, or believe they have COVID-19, that they use paracetamol in preference to NSAIDs. If parents cannot obtain their own supply of infant paracetamol and it has not been possible to prescribe it, as their baby will have been assessed as being well before vaccination, providing their baby has fever only and no symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection, consideration should be given to using ibuprofen as described above. https://www.cas.mhra.gov.uk/ViewandAcknowledgment/ViewAlert.aspx?AlertID=103001
- Information about treating a fever in children is available from the NHS UK webpage “Fever in children” at www.nhs.uk/conditions/fever-in-children/
- If an infant still has a fever 48 hours after vaccination or if parents are concerned about their infant’s health at any time, they should seek advice from their GP or NHS 111.
- The diseases that the vaccines protect against are very serious and therefore vaccination should not be delayed because of concerns about post-vaccination fever.
How will parents know when their babies have a temperature after their regular immunisations whether it is an expected reaction or COVID-19?
Parents should be advised that the vaccines given may cause a fever which is usually resolved within 48 hours (or 6 to 11 days following MMR). This is a common expected reaction and isolation is not required, unless COVID-19 is suspected.
When the MenB vaccine (Bexsero) is given with other vaccines at 8 and 16 weeks of age, fever is more common. Where parents are able to obtain liquid infant paracetamol, they should follow existing PHE guidance on the use of prophylactic paracetamol following MenB vaccination available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/menb-vaccine-and-paracetamol
Indications to date suggest that COVID-19 causes mild or asymptomatic illness in infants and children. As has always been recommended, any infant with fever after vaccination should be monitored and if parents are concerned about their infant’s health at any time, they should seek advice from their GP or NHS 111. Post-immunisation fever alone is not a reason to self-isolate.
This advice applies to recently vaccinated people of all ages.
Any infant with fever after vaccination should be monitored and if parents are concerned about their infant’s health at any time, they should seek advice from their GP or NHS 111.
Should people aged 70 and over attend the practice for immunisation?
It is recommended that PPV23 continues to be offered to eligible groups, including those aged 70 and over who have not previously been vaccinated. If an eligible individual aged 70 years and over attends the practice for other reasons, the opportunity to vaccinate them should be used. This may also present an opportunity to vaccinate them against shingles if they are eligible.
Click here for information on Requests for Sick or Fit Notes
NEW COVID-19 TRACKER APP
Changes to GP Surgeries during covid-19 outbreak
Are you interested in helping with COVID19 research click here for the trial poster with details of where to register
The Care Quality Commission are looking for feedback on care during this difficult period. Please click here to leave your feedback