Rather than waiting for the coronavirus pandemic to end, it looks increasingly likely that it is something we will need to live alongside in the long-term.
We need to achieve three things:
- Assess and treat people with possible symptoms of Covid-19 in a safe way for them, our staff, and other patients.
- Continue to provide a broad range of primary care services to our overall population.
- Ensure that people who would be at high risk from Covid-19 can access services safely.
Together we can keep everyone safe and still provide effective healthcare for the patients at Denton Medical. To achieve this, we are adopting the following measures.
- Patients with potential symptoms of Covid-19 are seen separately from other patients
Patients will first be screened by the duty doctor over the telephone and, if it is necessary to see and examine the patient, they will be booked an appointment for the same day and will be assessed in our clinic room. Patients can enter and exit by a separate door to minimize contact with other patients and staff. Patients may also be asked to wait in their car and be called in by the member of staff when they are ready to see them.
- All staff in the practice have weekly screening for coronavirus
This helps us to monitor the health of our staff and ensure that the people treating patients are not infected with coronavirus without having symptoms.
- The waiting room chairs are spaced 2 metres apart
People can have coronavirus with no symptoms, or very few symptoms. We therefore need to operate services bearing this in mind. Significant contact is defined as being less than 2 metres away from an infected person for more than 15 minutes, and we need to avoid this in our waiting areas.
- All patients and visitors to wear masks when attending the practice
As per government guidelines, all patients and visitors are asked to wear a mask when visiting the practice to reduce the risk of droplet transmission. Children under the age of 11 do not need to wear a mask and we recognize that some people may not be able to wear a mask due for other reasons. Please wear a mask as far as possible and if you are not able to do so, please alert the practice that you have arrived and wait outside or in your car to be called in. Staff are able to put a note on your appointment to indicate that you have arrived and are waiting in your car.
- Staff wear PPE for all face to face consultations
Staff will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) which is apron, gloves and face mask for all consultations. This means that it takes longer for us to switch between patients and appointments due to the need to discard and refresh PPE.
- Most GP appointments will be done remotely by phone or video consultation
We can now only justify face to face GP consultations for people who need to have a specific examination carried out. This is needed to manage the flow of people through the practice, reduce the risks to patients and staff, and preserve the available supplies of PPE. We have found that most issues can be dealt with in this way, without the need for face to face examination, and we will be able to continue to provide effective services with these changes.
If you have symptoms that you would like advice on, please do get in touch rather than waiting for things to get back to normal, particularly if you are concerned about potential cancer symptoms, heart problems, or any other significant health issue.
How to help us help you:
- Please make sure we have an up to date mobile phone number for you on your medical records
We are increasingly using text messaging to let people know about appointments, send links to documents and issue electronic prescriptions. Having your correct mobile number is essential for these things to work, so please update this if it changes.
- Consider using the online consultation service available via our website
We are providing a two day response to online consultation so this is a quick and effective way to deal with health issues. Photos can also be attached to the text messages we send you with a secure link which you need to access using your date of birth.
You should only ring the practice for urgent same day triage which cannot be dealt by a delay with online consultation.
- Do not enter the waiting room before the time of your appointment
With our limited safe waiting room capacity, we need to minimise the number of people waiting. If you have arrived by car and have a mobile phone, you can also phone reception to let them know you have arrived and ask for the clinician to phone you when they are ready to see you.
- Attend your appointment alone unless you need someone to assist you
With the reduced waiting room capacity, we are not able to fit in several people per appointment and having more people in the building or consulting rooms increases the risks of transmission of coronavirus. Please could children attend with only one parent. Please could carer support be limited to one accompanying adult.
- Request your prescriptions online and have them sent electronically to a pharmacy
You can use NHS App or the Patient Access online services to request prescriptions. Please also nominate a pharmacy to receive your prescriptions electronically, as this is more reliable and helps to reduce the number of people needing to come into the practice.
Thank you for your support.