Dear Dorridge Patients 31/3/20
We find ourselves in unprecedented times. For those of us who have not lived through a world war these are perhaps the most challenging of times that we have ever encountered. This inevitably affects us physically and mentally
Thank you so much for your help and patience in the past 2 weeks when the whole way we usually care for our patients has been turned upside down.
We have been advised by NHS England to try to minimise any face to face contact with patients so that patients do not contract COVID 19 from us, and so that we don’t decimate our work force further by catching COVID19 from our patients.
The Corona Virus is likely to be circulating locally at high levels. (There is no testing available so we are assuming this from reports we are getting from patients and local hospitals).
Any patients with COVID 19 symptoms should access the NHS 111 website where possible to get advice. The site is simple to use. Only those who cannot cope with their symptoms should phone 111.
In the next 2-3 weeks it is absolutely vital that we all adhere to social distancing, staying at home, not visiting friends and family, only leaving the house for some exercise or essential food shopping. The less physical contact we have, the less chance for this very infectious virus to spread. Stay at home unless absolutely necessary. If you are vulnerable e.g. over 70 years or have underlying health conditions try to get friends and family to do your shopping and pick up your medication. Please look out for your neighbours.
We have already had a significant number of staff in our surgery who have had to go on sick leave either due to their own ill-health or because of quarantining due to family illness.
If you have an urgent medical issue which cannot wait for a few weeks to be dealt with please ring the surgery to ask for a telephone consultation. Due to huge pressure on the systems we cannot guarantee to phone you at a particular time of day. Please do not phone us about trivial non urgent matters. The hospitals are not accepting routine referrals for outpatients or xrays at this time as hospital doctors are being redeployed to work in teams to look after those who are most severely affected by the virus.
If you are a key worker and cannot take phone calls during your working day please let our staff know and we will try to phone you at a convenient time.
We will try to phone you twice. If we cannot get hold of you after 2 attempts we want you to phone us back so that we can reschedule a telephone call.
All routine screening such as diabetic checks, asthma checks, blood pressure checks, smear tests, routine bloods have been suspended for the moment.
Baby vaccines, maternity care, cancer treatment, important blood testing for drug monitoring will continue but may be assigned to a different surgery site to protect these patients.
We will continue essential nursing processes but we will be phoning you and asking you to wait in your car at your appointment time rather than in our waiting room to protect you. The District nurse can only be asked to visit patients with urgent problems.
Prescriptions-We have been simply deluged with prescription requests. Sadly some patients have been stock piling medication and asking for it early in their 28-56 medication cycle. This has put terrible pressure on our chemist colleagues. Please STOP! This has meant that we have spent hours and hours each day generating prescriptions and there have been the inevitable delays.
You can order medication on line and by emailing us, and we would like you to nominate a local pharmacy so that we can send your prescriptions electronically avoiding too much contact with paper which can be contaminated with the virus.
In the same way that supermarkets have been affected this has also affected supplies especially of inhalers-We will be strictly monitoring this issue.
We currently have reasonable supplies of protective equipment for our staff.
Please remember that children and young people in particular can carry the virus with very little symptoms and can easily infect others.
We want to reassure you that even though our front door is shut we are very much open and working hard to try to provide you with appropriate NHS care.
With kind regards
From the Dorridge Team