16 March 2020
What is happening?
The current Coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis is the worst health emergency to affect the UK for many years. Unfortunately, it is expected that the problems will get worse before they get better, and that over the coming months many thousands, or perhaps even millions, of people will become unwell, some with very serious consequences.
What are we doing about it?
The NHS, including General Practice, will not be able to cope with large numbers of people becoming unwell, whilst also trying to carry on with normal activities.
This means that, under direct guidance from NHS England, we have taken the difficult decision to suspend normal activity in General Practice.
What does this mean?
From Monday 16 March 2020 you will no longer be able to:
- Book an appointment online
- Come to an open access (“sit and wait”) clinic
- Attend for “routine” health problems
- Be seen by a clinician without answering some basic health questions beforehand
Furthermore, we will need to:
- Only see people in the surgery who have an urgent medical need
- Do much more of our routine care on the telephone and perhaps online
- Use special precautions if we have to see anyone in the surgery who might be infected with coronavirus
I think I need an appointment, what should I do?
If you feel that you have a medical need, unrelated to coronavirus, which cannot wait, please telephone the surgery. The reception team will take your number and a clinician will then phone you back to discuss how we can help. You may be:
- Given advice over the phone
- Directed to another service
- Invited to come in for an appointment
Please do not come into the surgery in person, as you will be asked to return home to await a telephone call.
We try as much as possible to continue doing the important things such as immunisations, injections and urgent wound care. Our reception team will guide you regarding what we are able to keep doing.
Why are we doing this?
It is vitally important that, in the current crisis, the NHS does not collapse because of overwhelming numbers of people becoming unwell at once. This means that we must:
- Prioritise people who have an urgent medical need
- Reduce the number of people coming into our surgeries to prevent the spread of infection
- Protect our staff so that they can keep giving care to those who need it most
We also expect that, just like the general public, many of our staff will become unwell, and will need to follow official guidance to stay at home for prolonged periods. Reducing our workforce in this was will severely restrict our ability to operate a normal service.
What can we do together?
The elderly and those with chronic health problems are most at risk from this new infection. Please keep an extra special eye out for them and do whatever you can to help keep them safe and well.
Please follow official guidance and isolate yourself if you have:
- A fever
- A persistent cough
- Been in contact with someone who has Covid-19
Please do not contact your GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital if you have concerns about Covid-19 infection. Instead, please log onto NHS 111 services:
or telephone 111 if you do not have internet access
We will continue to care for your medical needs as much as we are able to, but we ask you to consider all of the above points and to think carefully before using General Practice services. The NHS can only survive this crisis if we all act responsibly and understand the exceptional nature of the current circumstances.
Beech Tree Surgery
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(Site updated 04/08/2020)