We need to continue to do what we can to keep people safe from catching Covid-19. One way we can all help with this is by continuing to wear a face-covering in our practice and we are asking all patients to do that, as well as our staff. Keeping our staff safe is essential to keep operating efficiently.
We are also continuing to make sure we don’t have large numbers of patients in our waiting areas and on the premises – again this is about reducing the chance of infection when there are rising rates in the community.
The various measures we have taken, including increased use of personal protective equipment, patients wearing face masks, holding more virtual consultations, social distancing and extra premises cleans have helped protect staff, patients and visitors over the past year. Taking these steps has also enabled us to continue providing many of the non-urgent services that would otherwise have been postponed.
We want to make sure you can all be confident about accessing or visiting local healthcare services safely.
Thank you for your understanding and your cooperation with this – it makes a huge difference.
To book a vaccination online at on the National Booking System: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/ or by calling 119.
Up to date information about COVID vaccinations can be found at covid.healthierfuture.org.uk/
COVID-19 GP Access Letter April 2022
During the pandemic life has been difficult for all of us, we have had to change our lives, manage pain, illness, suffering and in some cases the death of people close to us. If people you care about have died during the pandemic, please accept my deepest condolences.
We want to reassure you that the team at your GP practice continues to be here for you and your family. As you will be aware, we have had to make changes to the way we work to be able to support you and keep you safe to ensure we can continue to provide services for you and your family.
We would like to take the opportunity to clarify how you can contact us and how we can help and support you.
How You Can Contact Us
There are several ways you can contact the practice; these are listed in a table accompanying this letter so that you can keep it handy for reference. There’s also useful information on how you can access wider support and contact details for other healthcare organisations and services, including telephone numbers for local NHS organisations in case you need to follow up a referral – the practice doesn’t have any access to the appointments of other organisations.
At the practice we (as well as all other GP practices) are experiencing a high demand for our services, and we are taking all the actions we can to provide you with the support that you need. In order to do that we need to work together with you.
We appreciate that the phone lines are very busy and not being able to get through to us can be very frustrating. We are reviewing our phone services to see what we can do to improve them so that you don’t have these problems. These improvements may take some time to implement, so thank you for your patience as they take place.
How We Are Seeing Patients
Despite the Government’s Plan B restrictions lifting on 27 January 2022, COVID–19 still remains a significant concern and taking appropriate steps to reduce the risk of infection within the practice still governs how we can use the building. We need to ensure waiting rooms do not become crowded and carry out cleaning between patient consultations. For these reasons, it is not possible for practices to see as many people in person as before the pandemic. We ask anyone visiting the surgery to please wear a facemask.
The arrangements that we do have in place for consultations with you are:
- telephone consultation
- video consultation
- In person, face to face consultation
We are working hard to make sure that you get the same high standard of care whatever type of consultation you have with us. Telephone and video consultations could be safer, quicker and more convenient for you. If during a telephone or video consultation, there is a decision that it is necessary to see you in person then an appointment will be made for you to come to the practice.
Your consultation will be made with the professional who can best deal with your query. We rely on the expertise of our colleagues who are: nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, healthcare assistants, physiotherapists and doctors. This enables us to have a large volume of appointments available for people each day and ensures that you get the right care from the right professional.
Our reception staff are trained to sign post you to the right health care professional for your need as efficiently as possible and will ask for the reason you are contacting the surgery. We understand you may feel reluctant to share personal medical information, but please be assured our reception staff are there to help and your information will be treated in the strictest confidence.
The successful roll out of the booster programme means that our practice can now resume routine appointments after some of these were paused in mid-December to divert resources to delivering more vaccinations during the Omicron wave. We are now urging patients who have held off contacting their practice with more routine issues over recent weeks, and those who are due to have health checks, to come forward.
Support for patients with urgent health concerns and for clinically vulnerable patients or for people with an ongoing health condition has continued throughout. We continue to be here for you. Please don’t hesitate in contacting us.
How To Get Involved
If you would like to become more involved in how the practice works, We would like to invite you to become part of our Patient Participation Group (PPG). This is a group of patients, carers and practice staff who meet to discuss practice issues and patient experience in order to help improve the service. If you would like to become part of the group or have a discussion with one of the members the contact details are on the list below.
If you do have any comments or feedback you would like to share you can also do this by contacting our Practice Manager Geraldine Acraman. We’re always looking for ways to improve our services, and if something has not met your expectations or you’d like to share a positive experience, we would like to hear about it.
Thank you very much for your time. We are confident that as a team of patients and professionals we can continue to look after one another and ensure that the services you need are available for you.
Dr John Onuorah
|You can contact Addison House Surgery in the following ways|
Phone lines are open from 08.00 – 18.30
|In person||You are welcome to come to reception to:|
– Book Appointments
– Drop Off Samples
– Drop Off Letters
|In writing||Addison House Surgery,|
Or drop them off at the surgery
|For repeat/routine prescriptions |
All prescription requests should be in writing preferably online or via your pharmacist.
|– Drop Off a written request in the box in the waiting area at the surgery|
– Email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org order on the NHS app.
|Patient Participation Group||01279 621900|
|To follow up a referral that the practice has made for you to either the community services or a Hospital, please contact the community service or hospital||The most common organisations we refer to are:|
– Essex partnership NHS Foundation Trust
– Community and Mental Health – 0300 123 0808
– The Princess Alexandra Hospital – 01279 444 455
COVID-19 Vulnerable + High Risk Patients
Important advice to keep you safe from Coronavirus
Your safety and the continued provision of the care and treatment you need is a priority for the NHS. This letter gives you advice on how to protect yourself and access the care and treatment you need.
The NHS has identified certain group of patients at risk of severe illness if they catch Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19). This is because they have an underlying disease or health condition that means if they catch the virus, they are more likely to be admitted to hospital than others.
This letter applies to the group of patients identified below
The safest course of action is for you to stay at home at all times and avoid all face-to-face contact for at least twelve weeks from today, except from carers and healthcare workers who you must see as part of your medical care. This will protect you by stopping you from coming into contact with the virus.
If you are in touch with friends, family or a support network in your community who can support you to get food and medicine, follow the advice in this letter. If you do not have contacts who can help support you go to www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable or call 0800 0288327, the Government’s dedicated helpline.
If, at any point, you think you have developed symptoms of coronavirus, such as a new, continuous cough and/or high temperature (above 37.8 °C), seek clinical advice using the NHS 111 online coronavirus service (111.nhs.uk/covid-19/). If you do not have access to the internet, call NHS 111. Do this as soon as you get symptoms.
You, or the person you care for, should:
- strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) – these symptoms include high temperature (above 37.8 °C) and/or a new and continuous cough
- not leave your home
- not attend any gatherings – this includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces e.g. family homes, weddings and religious services
- not go out for shopping, leisure or travel
When arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact
- keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
- use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services
- regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds – ask carers or support workers who visit your home to do the same.
The rest of your household should support you to stay safe and stringently follow guidance on social distancing, reducing their contact outside the home.
In your home, you should:
- minimise the time you spend with others in shared spaces (kitchen, bathroom and sitting areas) and keep shared spaces well ventilated
- aim to keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from others and encourage them to sleep in a different bed where possible
- use separate towels and, if possible, use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household, or clean the bathroom after every use
- avoid using the kitchen when others are present, take your meals back to your room to eat where possible, and ensure all kitchenware is cleaned thoroughly.
If the rest of your household are able to follow this guidance, there is no need for them to take the full protective measures to keep you safe.
You will still get the medical care you need during this period. We are considering alternative options for managing your care and will be in touch if any changes are needed. Your hospital care team will be doing the same.
We also advise that:
- Carers and support workers who come to your home
Any essential carers or visitors who support you with your everyday needs can continue to visit, unless they have any of the symptoms of coronavirus. All visitors should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, on arrival and often.
It is also a good idea to speak to your carers about what happens if one of them becomes unwell. If you need help with care but you’re not sure who to contact please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable.
- Medicines that you routinely take
The government is helping pharmacies to deliver prescriptions. Prescriptions will continue to cover the same length of time as usual. If you do not currently have your prescriptions collected or delivered, you can arrange this by:
- Asking someone who can pick up your prescription from the local pharmacy, (this is the best option, if possible);
- Contacting your pharmacy to ask them to help you find a volunteer (who will have been ID checked) or deliver it to you.
You may also need to arrange for collection or delivery of hospital specialist medication that is prescribed to you by your hospital care team.
- Planned GP practice appointments
Wherever possible, we will provide care by phone, email or online. But if we decide you need to be seen in person, we will contact you to arrange your visit to the surgery or a visit in your home.
- Planned hospital appointments
NHS England have written to your hospital to ask them to review any ongoing care that you have with them. It is possible that some clinics and appointments will be cancelled or postponed. Your hospital or clinic will contact you if any changes need to be made to your care or treatment. Otherwise you should assume your care or treatment is taking place as planned. Please contact your hospital or clinic directly if you have any questions about a specific appointment.
- Support with daily living
Please discuss your daily needs during this period of staying at home with carers, family, friends, neighbours or local community groups to see how they can support you. If you do not have anyone who can help you, please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable.
This letter is evidence, for your employer, to show that you cannot work outside the home. You do not need to get a fit note from your GP. If you need help from the benefit system visit https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit.
- Urgent medical attention
If you have an urgent medical question relating to your existing medical condition, or the condition of the person you are caring for please contact us, or your specialist hospital care team, directly. Where possible, you will be supported by phone or online. If your clinician decides you need to be seen in person, the NHS will contact you to arrange a visit in your home, or where necessary, treatment in hospital.
To help the NHS provide you with the best care if you need to go to hospital as a result of catching coronavirus, we ask that you prepare a single hospital bag. This should include your emergency contact, a list of the medications you take (including dose and frequency), any information on your planned care appointments and things you would need for an overnight stay (snacks, pyjamas, toothbrush, medication etc). If you have an advanced care plan, please include that.
- Looking after your mental well-being
We understand that this may be a worrying time and you may find staying at home and having limited contact frustrating. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour, which can make you feel worse. Simple things you can do to stay mentally and physically active during this time include:
- look for ideas for exercises to do at home on the NHS website
- spend time doing things you enjoy – reading, cooking and other indoor hobbies
- try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise regularly, and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs
- try spending time with the windows open to let in fresh air, arranging space to sit and see a nice view (if possible) and get some natural sunlight. Get out into the garden or sit on your doorstep if you can, keeping a distance of at least 2 metres from others.
You can find additional advice and support from Every Mind Matters and the NHS mental health and wellbeing advice website.
Further information on coronavirus, including guidance from Public Health England, can be found on the nhs.uk and gov.uk websites.
Dr John Onuorah
Addison House Surgery
Harlow. CM20 1DS
List of diseases and conditions considered to be very high risk
- Solid organ transplant recipients
- People with specific cancers
- People with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
- People with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
- People having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
- People having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
- People who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
- People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
- People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
- People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
- People who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired