COVID-19 / CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC – 03/04/2020 10:51am update

PLEASE DO NOT ATTEND THE PRACTICE, LOCAL PHARMACY OR BORDERS GENERAL HOSPITAL IF YOU THINK YOU MIGHT HAVE CORONA VIRUS

We would like to inform patients that we are working extremely hard to make contingency arrangements to respond to the above situation. Advice from Scottish Government and NHS Borders is changing on a daily basis so we are having to make rapid changes to our advice and preparations. Please be assured that we are doing everything we can to continue normal service whilst protecting patients and staff from spread of the virus. We ask for your tolerance of the disruption that is inevitable over the coming weeks and patience in dealing with members of our practice team. We will do our best to provide updates for patients on this site but please be advised that by the time information is posted it may already be out of date. The websites listed below provide further information.

For the foreseeable future, all appointments for both routine and urgent matters will be conducted (at least initially) by telephone. Urgent and emergency problems will be prioritised. We will deal with routine enquiries as we are able where this is possible over the phone. As we are now primarily working over the phone, we would ask patients to kindly ensure that they remain available for a call back. Currently, we are losing a significant amount of clinical time due to missed calls, engaged callers and patients being unavailable when we return a call. We would be grateful if patients would help us to minimise this inefficiency. We have a policy of making two attempts to contact patients by phone. We hope to start using the NHS “Attend Anywhere” video consultation facility this week but please note that access to this is strictly by invitation only.  

We are continuing to provide as many of our core services as possible whilst we are fully staffed. Some of our chronic disease monitoring (such a diabetic clinics, blood pressure checks and asthma reviews) have been postponed until we can return to normal service. Home visits will be strictly limited to those who are housebound and completely unable to attend the medical practice. All requests will remain subject to the discretion of the clinical team.

From Monday 30th March, Scottish Government have announced that the cervical, breast, bowel, abdominal aortic aneurysm and diabetic retinopathy screening programmes have been suspended.

Changes to service from Monday 23rd March

From today, anyone with general enquiries or possible symptoms related to Coronavirus should contact NHS24 by dialling 111 not the GP practice. NHS24 will triage calls and provide appropriate information. If NHS24 deem that a patient needs to be seen in person then attendance at a “hub” will be arranged. The practice should no longer be contacted regarding these matters. Please do not attempt to obtain advice from the practice about Coronavirus related matters as this will result in unnecessary delays for you and others as well as an increase in the workload of our reception team.

To assist with infection control, many members of the practice clinical team have now opted to wear medical scrubs rather than their own clothes. If you need to be clinically assessed regardless of your current symptoms, the clinician attending to you will be wearing a face mask, clear plastic eye visor, a plastic apron and gloves. Please do not be alarmed by these measures as they are there to keep you, other patients and healthcare workers safe.

When visiting Eyemouth surgery, where possible, please use the post boxes outside the front door to drop off specimens and medication requests to reduce footfall in the building. If you have full sharps bins to return to the health centre then please store these in a safe place at home until the pandemic conditions are lifted. If you need to enter the building then please use the hand gel provided in clearly marked dispensers mounted on the walls in both Eyemouth and Coldingham surgeries.

Attending the Practice

If, after your call has been triaged by a clinician, you are asked to attend the practice at a designated time, we ask that you attend alone whenever possible. If you require assistance into the waiting room then please ensure that this is limited to one person only. With immediate effect, clinicians will only permit the patient to enter into a consulting room unless there is a compelling reason for someone to accompany them during the consultation. This rule is being implemented for the safety of our team as we are only screening index patients for suitability to attend.

Self-Isolation

As of late Monday 16th March, new advice was issued regarding self-isolation.

Anyone with a cough and / or fever should self isolate for 7 days.

Household contacts of anyone unwell with a cough and / or fever should also now self isolate for 14 days. If during this 14 day period a household contact becomes unwell then a further 7 day period of self isolation is required (even if this extends beyond the initial 14 day period).

This is explained on the NHS Inform website (see link below)

https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

To obtain a note for your employer whilst self-isolating, please use the link below and refrain from contacting the medical practice.

https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note

Medication

Over the past couple of weeks, we have experienced an enormous increase in demand for medication items. There are also delays and interruptions to the availability of some items from suppliers. Please do not act irresponsibly by stockpiling or over ordering medication. We will not issues items that are deemed to be clinically unsafe. Practice staff will be monitoring medication requests such that excessive demands will be declined.

Coldingham Dispensary

Dispensing services from our Coldingham surgery are currently functioning with a reduced capacity so it will take longer for medication to be made available. Please try to give us plenty of time to process your request. With immediate effect, our dispensary will only be open at the following times for the collection of medication.

Monday:           2-5pm
Tuesday: 2-5pm
Wednesday: 2-5pm
Thursday: 2-5pm
Friday: 9am -12pm

If you are unable to collect your medication at the current time or can attend but not within these designated collection times then please call the dispensary on 018907 71291 so that we can attempt to make alternative arrangements.

We will resume normal service as soon as soon as possible and apologise for any inconvenience caused by these measures.

Eyemouth Pharmacy

Eyemouth Pharmacy is currently operating shorter opening hours so it may be prudent to make enquiries before travelling to collect medication. The pharmacy may also take longer than usual to dispense prescriptions at the current time.

We would like to thank the community for the support that has been offered to our team over the past few weeks. We are grateful for all the gestures of kindness that have been shown and for the concern expressed for our welfare.

Helpful resources

National Corona Virus Helpline

0800 028 2816

NHS Inform

https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19

For travellers

https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/advice/disease-prevention-advice/coronavirus-disease-covid-19

Health Improvement Scotland

https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/a-to-z-of-topics/wuhan-novel-coronavirus/

Latest information from Scottish Government

https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/