COVID-19 General Practice

GP PRACTICES ARE WORKING DIFFERENTLY

This page was last updated on 5th January 2021

Your GP practice is still open
But, to help keep you safe, you can no longer walk in or book appointments online. You’ll need to contact your practice via telephone first and answer some questions. You may be asked a few more questions than usual. Some practices are also using Ask My GP or EMIS Online to communicate with patients. Please be patient, these new measures will help us keep staff and patients safe during this time. The majority of conversations with a GP or nurse are now being done via telephone or video calls. But, if you do need to be seen in person your practice will arrange this with you. If you do need to go in to your GP Practice you’ll notice it will look and feel different. Here’s how:

Please be kind to your GP practice, they are working hard to get us through this!

Greater Manchester restrictions

Wigan Borough, alongside the rest of Greater Manchester are in a local restriction tier.

The Government has published a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) which covers what you can and can’t do.

Shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable

People who are identified as clinically extremely vulnerable are being advised to take additional action to prevent themselves from coming into contact with COVID-19 when transmission of coronavirus in the community is high.

You may be at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus, so stay at home as much as you can and continue to take precautions when you do go out. You can do this by washing your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face and keeping 2 metres away from people outside of your household or bubble wherever possible.

All clinically extremely vulnerable people are currently being advised to stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors carefully for exercise or to attend health appointments. If you are considered clinically extremely vulnerable you should soon receive a letter to your home address regarding advising of this. This will cover advice on:

Socialising – You cannot meet indoors with friends and family you do not live with unless they are part of your support (as part of wider regulations in place). Try to stay 2 metres away from other people within your household, especially if they display symptoms of the virus or have been advised to self-isolate.
Work – You are strongly advised to work from home if you can. If you cannot work from home, then you should not attend work for this period of restrictions.
Educational Settings – Those children whose doctors have confirmed they are still clinically extremely vulnerable are advised not to attend school whilst this advice is in place. Your school will make appropriate arrangements for you to be able to continue your education at home.
Travel – You should avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport, this includes not travelling to work, school or the shops. You should still ensure you have regular follow up and treatment for your health conditions.
Shopping – You are advised not to go to the shops. Use online shopping if you can, or ask others to collect and deliver shopping for you (friends and family, local volunteers coordinated by charities, local council or NHS Volunteer Responders).
Medicines – You are advised not to go to a pharmacy and arrange for someone to collect or a delivery.
Accessing care and support – We urge you to continue to seek support from the NHS and other health providers for your existing health conditions and any new health concerns.
Registering for support – This online service can be found at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support and is now live for you register for support.

Whilst you are strongly advised to follow these extra precautionary shielding measures to help keep yourself safe, this remains advice, not the law, so you can choose whether or not you want to follow it.

Advice for clinically extremely vulnerable children and young people

Current knowledge suggests that very few children are at highest risk of severe illness due to the virus. Doctors have therefore been reviewing all children and young people who were initially identified as clinically extremely vulnerable to confirm whether they are still thought to be at highest risk.
If you do not receive a letter or you have not yet heard from your child’s hospital doctor or GP and are concerned for a child or young person please contact whoever usually provides care for your child to check whether they should still be considered clinically extremely vulnerable. If you have already discussed this with your child’s doctors and they have confirmed your child is still considered highest risk, your child should follow the advice as set out .

NHS Volunteer Responders

This service can support you with:

• Collecting shopping, medication (if your friends and family cannot collect them for you) or other essential supplies;
• A regular, friendly phone call which can be provided by different volunteers each time or by someone who is also shielding and will stay in contact for several weeks; and
• Transport to medical appointment.

Please call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm to arrange support or speak to your health case professional for transport support. A carer or family member can also do this on their behalf. More information is available at www.nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk

Ask My GP

In response to COVID-19 some GP practices have started to use Ask My GP. This is an online system that helps patients get quicker access to the most appropriate help. Check on your GP practice website if they are using Ask My GP. If they are you can sign up to submit requests online to get a quicker response from a GP.

If your GP practice isn’t using Ask My GP, or you can’t use it for whatever reason, you can still phone your GP practice as you normally would.

We’ve produced the following fact sheet that tells you all about what Ask My GP is and how it works:

Ask My GP Fact Sheet – final

Access to health care

Any essential carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit unless they have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell).

People should continue to access the NHS services they need during this time. This may be delivered in a different way or in a different place than they are used to, for example via an online consultation, but if they do need to go to hospital or attend another health facility for planned care, extra planning and protection will be put in place.

It is normal during these uncertain and unusual times to feel anxious or feel low. You should try to identify ways of staying in touch with others Please take a look at our pages on maintaining your mental health during this time.

MANAGING YOUR MEDICINES

You can help your GP practice and Pharmacy by managing your medicines responsibly during this time:

1. Only order medicines you need for the next month.

Don’t stockpile. Don’t order early. Don’t over order. There will be enough medicine for everyone if we follow these rules.

2.Only request home delivery services if you really, really need to!

There has been an increase in the demand for home delivery of medicines. We need to make sure that these delivery services are available for people who truly don’t have any other means of getting their medicine. So, if you have friends, family or neighbours who could collect your medicines please ask them to do so.

3.Don’t ask your GP for items just because you haven’t been able to get them elsewhere.

We’ve seen an increase in people ringing their GP practice to try and get new items on prescription. Your GP practice won’t prescribe items that you don’t normally get.

4.Order repeat prescriptions online. Registering for online services at your GP practice will enable you to order repeat prescriptions online.

You can also set up for your electronic prescription to go directly to the pharmacy of your choice.

5.Be careful if you’re buying medication online.

If you’re thinking of buying medication online it’s important to check you are buying from a registered pharmacy. You can check this out on the General Pharmaceutical Council Website.https://www.pharmacyregulation.org/

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