We Are Still Here And Still Delivering.......
(Just a little bit differently…)
The Frome Medical Practice is still delivering the same level of medical care to all their patients, but like every other GP practice in the country we have had to adapt and make changes as we cope with the impact of COVID-19. Senior partner at the Practice, Dr Helen Kingston, here explains what our patients can now expect to experience upon telephoning or visiting the surgery.
We Are Open!
‘Firstly, I would wish to reassure all of our patients that we are indeed open (please note the revised opening times of 8am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday) and still effectively providing the same clinical services that we always have done, but in a slightly different way, as we prioritise the protection of our staff, our patients and our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those needing medical advice and treatment during the coronavirus outbreak are of course still able to obtain this.
What is important is that if you already have an appointment for any of the following clinics /services, then you attend them (unless you have the symptoms of coronavirus or live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus):
If you visit the Practice you will notice it is now divided in to 3 distinct treatment areas. The reason that we have taken these steps is to keep everyone as safe as we can and to minimise any risk to those visiting the practice. The 3 new treatment areas for patients are as follows:
- Respiratory Assessment [Area 3]
- Shielded Patients [Area 7]
- Main Patient Population [Areas 1 & 2]
Before Visiting The Practice
Please avoid visiting the Practice unless you have an appointment already booked. To talk with one of our Care Navigators about making an appointment call 01373 301301. We currently need to speak to all of our patients before an appointment can be made. We apologise for this inconvenience but this is a necessary measure at the current time.
During the COVID-19 outbreak we have had to temporarily suspend our online booking service. This means our telephone lines are extremely busy at the current time and I would ask for your patience and understanding when calling the practice.
When you speak to our Care Navigators, they will ask you a series of questions in order to be able to assess your need. Following the call with the Care Navigator, it may be possible to support you via a telephone or video conference with one of our clinicians. If need be then we will arrange for a face to face appointment with one of our health care professionals at the practice.
If you have the symptoms of coronavirus, please do not visit this practice, any hospital or pharmacy, but instead use the NHS 111 coronavirus service for advice on what you should do.
On Your Arrival At The Practice
If you have been asked to attend for a face to face consultation with one of our clinicians, then you will notice that on arrival at the building the previous main entrance to the Practice is now closed. Anyone queueing outside this door will most likely be waiting to enter St Aldhelms’ Pharmacy which is in the same building.
If you are attending because of suspected infection of COVID-19 then please read details about the Respiratory Assessment Area below.
All other patients should proceed to the door into the café area.
Please note that anyone entering the medical centre must now wear some form of face covering. This could be a scarf, bandana or homemade mask. Ideally, a surgical mask should not be used as it is important that they remain available for frontline NHS and Care staff. Wearing a face covering will reduce the risk of spread of coronavirus from anyone who is infected but pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic.
Respiratory Assessment Area [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 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.
Shielded Patient Area [Area 7]
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. 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.
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.
These are challenging times as our practice has had to change and adapt. I would however like to thank our patients for all their help and support. I know that we can rely on this support in the future, which really does make a big difference. So, a big ‘Thank You’ to everyone!’
You can read all our latest information and find out more about coronavirus on our website here.
Published: May 9, 2020
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