COVID-19 (coronavirus) - temporary changes to our services

(Updated 1st June 2020)

 
Thank you to everyone in our community for working together and protecting each other through maintaining physical distancing, good hand hygiene and staying at home as much as possible.  It has been hard but your commitment to this is appreciated.  Through our collective efforts we have reduced but not eliminated the coronavirus. We need to continue to  work together to stay safe in Frome as the lockdown is eased.
 
The government has updated it's advice about coronavirus, as follows: 

We can all help control the virus if we stay alert. This means you must: 

You can read more about what you can and can't do on the government website. 

CLICK HERE FOR CORONAVIRUS FAQ ON WHAT WE CAN NOW DO

If you're at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) from coronavirus (COVID-19), there are extra steps you're advised to take to protect yourself. These extra steps are called shielding.

NHS CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION

 
If you have symptoms of coronavirus, stay at home. Do not visit a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. 

Use the 111 coronavirus service to find out what to do. The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste - this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

NHS 111 ONLINE CORONAVIRUS SERVICE

 

Temporary changes to some services at Frome Medical Practice

As a result of the current situation relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) Frome Medical Practice is making a number of temporary changes to the way we deliver services, in order to protect patients and reduce the potential spread of infection.

You can read our news item about the changes at the practice here

 

Online appointment service 

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic we have temporarily suspended our online appointment service. This is so we can speak to all patients before appointments are made. We apologise for the inconvenience but this is a necessary measure at the current time.

To speak to a member of our team please call us on 01373 301301. Our care navigators will ask you a series of questions  in order to be able to assess your need. We recognise that our telephone lines are extremely busy at the current time and ask for your patience and understanding whilst we work to speak with you as soon as we can. 

If you have concerns or queries about coronavirus please do not call the practice, but visit the NHS coronavirus advice page.  If you have symptoms of coronavirus do not visit the practice, a pharmacy or hospital. Instead, please use the NHS 111 coronavirus service

 

Opening hours

From Friday 27th March we will be changing our opening hours to 8am - 6.30pm Monday to Friday.

 

Appointments it is important you still attend

If you have appointments for any of the following clinics / services it is important that you still attend them, unless you have symptoms of coronavirus or live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus: 

If you have been identified as being extremely vulnerable to coronavirus please contact us on 01373 301301 if you are due to attend an appointment at one of these clinics.

 

Advice on visiting the practice

Please avoid visiting the practice unless you have an appointment already booked. To talk to a care navigator about making an appointment please phone 01373 301301.

Please do not make an appointment if you have symptoms of coronavirus - see above for more information on this. 

If we have spoken to you and made you an appointment at the practice, or if you have a cervical screening / childhood immunisation / mother and baby check up booked, please be assured that we are taking all appropriate precautions to protect both staff and patients from coronavirus.

We are asking that all patients who need to be seen now come to the practice when invited. This is much safer for you then it is for us to send out a nurse for a visit, as it minimises infection control risks from going house to house.

If you are coming to the practice please observe a distance of 2 metres between yourself and any other patient waiting to be seen. 

If you are attending the practice for any reason, please wear a scarf to cover your mouth and nose, in order to protect yourself and others. If you are doing this when visiting the practice or when out and about please remember to wash your hands when you get home and to wash your scarf at 60 degrees.

 

Patients Attending for Respiratory Assessments (Area 3)

Area 3 is reserved for assessing patients with suspected COVID-19 infection or an infection in their household. It is situated in Area 3 so that protection is given to our patients and staff using other parts of the building.

Our Respiratory Assessment area has a separate entrance via the side of the building. This means we can see patients with possible COVID-19 symptoms but they do not come into contact with any other patients attending the surgery.

Attendance at the Respiratory Assessment Area is strictly by appointment only. If you are asked to attend the Respiratory Assessment we will go through what you need to do when we speak to you on the phone, but these are the steps you will need to take: 

  • If you need to be assessed in this area you will receive a call from one of our GPs who is working in the Respiratory Assessment Area and you will be asked to park in our respiratory assessment parking area.
  • Please bring your mobile phone with you and call us on arrival.
  • It is important that you do not enter the building until you are met by the clinician at the green gate. This is to prevent exposure to other patients or staff.
  • The clinician will be wearing full personal protective equipment and you will be given a mask.
  • Unfortunately, to prevent any risk of infection you will not have use of the toilets in the practice.

We have 6 consulting rooms in Area 3 for seeing potentially infected patients and our clinicians will all use personal protective equipment when assessing patients in this area. Patients can be reassured that at the end of each consultation in Area 3, there then follows a careful decontamination (also in full personal protective equipment) of the consulting room between patient visits. There is a strict cleaning policy for the rooms between each patient consultation. 

It is important you follow the measures we have put in place when attending such appointments.

 

Shielded Patients Who Need To Visit The Practice (Area 7)

If you are a patient at higher risk of complications from coronavirus and we have spoken to you and agreed that you need to attend the practice please be assured that we have measures in place to minimise risks associated with coronavirus. 

Area 7 is reserved for patients at higher risk from complications if they become infected with COVID-19. This area has been designed to keep them away from the main patient population.

Our Shielded Patient area is upstairs in Area 7 with its own designated set of staff who do not mix with the rest of the practice staff, including using separate rest facilities to the rest of our team.   The staff who are working in this area to provide care for our higher risk patients only do so providing they and their household members are without symptoms of possible COVID –19

If we consider you are in this category of care you will likely have had a letter telling you that you are eligible to be seen in Area 7 or alternatively a letter asking you to shield.

In Area 7 all of our staff will be wearing personal protective equipment. As with other patients in the building, you will now be required to wear some form of face covering in order to help minimise risk of infection spread.

 

Main Patient Population Area (Areas I & 2)

The majority of our patients (not covered by the above 2 categories) will be referred to Areas 1 & 2 to be seen.  If we invite you to attend the practice, on arrival at these areas you will notice that all of our staff are now wearing personal protective equipment. Additionally, all of our patients visiting the Practice (including this area) are now required to wear some form of face covering.

 

Home Visits

We have a separate home visiting team each day for those with potential COVID-19 symptoms and for those who may have an increased risk from complications. 

We have set up weekly virtual ward rounds for our care homes to minimise risk of infection to these groups.

All home visit requests are carefully assessed by phone first.

 

Do you need a repeat prescription?

We ask that if you are registered to do so you order your repeat prescriptions online.

We are also encouraging patients to sign up for the NHS App so that they can order their repeat prescriptions using the App going forward. 

If you are not registered to order online then please email repeat prescription requests to the prescriptions team.  Please include the patient name, date of birth, list of required medication and chosen pharmacy destination in your email.  

Alternatively you can use our online form for repeat prescriptions and other prescription enquiries: 

CONTACT THE PRESCRIPTIONS TEAM

If you are self isolating please arrange for the prescription to be collected by a relative / friend / volunteer. If you need to arrange a delivery please contact your pharmacy destination directly. Unfortunately we are unable to help with delivery requests as these are managed by individual pharmacies.

 

Fit Notes / Other Requests 

If you have symptoms of coronavirus or live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, you can get an isolation note to send to your employer as proof you need to stay off work. You do not need to get a fit note / sick note from your GP for this. We are experiencing a high number of calls about this but please do not contact the practice. Instead find out what to do here. 

For the time being we will be posting all fit notes to patients. This will reduce the number of people coming into the practice.

We are also asking patients to send holiday cancellation or other requests to the practice by email or by post, rather than visiting in person. 

 

Blood Tests

We will no longer be offering a drop in blood test clinic. We are asking all patients to prebook appointments for blood tests by calling 01373 301301.

 

Blood Pressure Checks

Where possible, we are encouraging patients to take their blood pressure at home. Patients can then send in their results via our online blood pressure results form.

Patients may wish to invest in their own blood pressure monitor, such as an Omron M2 machine. These are available in supermarkets, chemists or online for £20-25. If you are purchasing a monitor it is important it is an arm cuff monitor and NOT a wrist monitor. Alternatively you might be able to borrow a machine from family or friends. For regular monitoring the practice has a number of machines that can be loaned.

 

Do You Have Asthma?

If we have contacted you to say your asthma review is due (or it is overdue) please use our online questionnaire so we can update your records. You can access the questionnaire via our asthma page - click here

 

Leg Club

We have temporarily closed the leg club that is held on a Wednesday morning at Frome Football Club.  Instead, we are holding additional clinics and arranging pre-booked appointments on a Wednesday morning for users of the leg club who require dressings. Patients needing this service will have appointments pre-booked for them on a weekly basis. 

 

Young People's Clinic 

The young people's clinic has been temporarily suspended. Young people can contact the GP practice on 01373 301301 if needed and they can also access information on our Information For Young People pages. 

 

Sharing updates with you

We are doing our best to communicate informaiton about coronavirus with our patients via the website and the local press. We are also sharing messages on social media. You can follow us on Twitter, Instagram and / or Facebook.

We would be grateful if you could also share  our information with family / friends / neighbours who you are keeping in touch with who might not otherwise have access to our updates.

 

CLICK HERE FOR USEFUL LINKS TO INFORMATION ON CORONAVIRUS