Flu Campaign 2020/21 – As a business, we need your support please

You may have heard the news about this year’s flu vaccine campaign. This year will be a tough year for practices delivering flu vaccines.

Why?

🔸We are still geared up for another Covid-19 rise.
🔹We will be doing vaccinations in PPE meaning changes between patients and cleans of the environment between patients.
🔸All that PPE has to be ordered, stored, shared out, restocked, disposed of.
🔹We need to maintain social distancing between patients, so no more crowded waiting rooms with a catch up from others in your community.
🔸Social distancing means we have to make innovative use of our building, with one way in, one way out.
🔹We already ordered in December 2019 the two types of vaccines required for our usual cohorts of patients within risk groups, therefore want to deliver your vaccine otherwise it may be wasted. The additional group of people means lots more vaccines needed: practices order the vaccine a year ahead, so we now need to rely on NHSE / Public Health England to supply additional stock as we have been informed they aren’t available by our suppliers.
🔸Everything takes longer: PPE, cleaning, social distancing. So a clinic for 100 people which used to be done in a couple of hours could now take 6 hours.
🔹The staff that deliver the vaccines, and the administrators who support them in the clinics are already working flat out during the week, and now face the prospect of working additional shifts to get these vaccinations done in a timely manner.
🔸It’s unlikely we will be able to run open clinics this year where patients can just turn up, so we need to set up some kind of appointment system.
🔹The number of Housebound patients has increased with some patients still needing to shield, and home visits for them take much longer and are much more risky for the staff.
🔸Many practices, including us, are running on reduced work force as they have shielding staff, or staff who cannot see patients face to face due to their own risks.

Thank you for reading this far. You may ask what is the point of this post? The main point is we found out this information the same time as you did, and although we have lots of ideas, there is still lots we need to work out, so please don’t ask to book in for a flu jab yet!

We WILL let you know by text, Facebook, website or other what the plan is. We don’t receive them until September anyway. It WILL be very different this year.
We WILL do our best as we always do. As a business we need your support more than ever, and are extremely grateful for it.

Thank you.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/most-comprehensive-flu-programme-in-uk-history-will-be-rolled-out-this-winter

23/7/2020 – Update during Covid-19

Dear Patients,

As we are all aware, the current Coronavirus pandemic has presented huge challenges over the last few months.  Nobody has been immune from the disruption, uncertainty and, at times, distress.

The practice team are normal people and we share the same fears and anxieties as all of you.  While the number of deaths from the virus is falling, coronavirus remains a very real threat to everyone, and the practice unfortunately cannot simply return to ‘normal’.  To let our guard down now would risk the safety not only of staff but also of other patients and this is not something we are prepared to do.

Face coverings of the sort worn by our staff are worn predominantly to protect the patients they are treating.  If a patient comes in who is suffering from coronavirus (and they may not be aware of this themselves) then our team are only protected by, either, social distancing from the patient or if the patient wears a face covering or mask.  It is not normally possible to socially distance if you are attending for a medical appointment.  Our team face these risks on a daily basis.  Their professionalism and commitment to you, our patients, means they shoulder this risk every day.

We are therefore asking ALL patients to wear a face covering when attending the practice for ANY reason.  Unfortunately, we cannot supply masks – the supplies of PPE are unreliable and we must preserve stocks of clinical masks for our staff so that we can protect you, our patients.  We do not expect you to wear a clinical or fluid resistant mask but a homemade face covering or scarf, even a bandana over your mouth and nose would be adequate.  You may notice that not all staff are wearing masks in all areas – this is because the areas of the practice these staff work, and their roles, mean they are able to comply with social distancing guidelines.  Patients who come to the practice without a face covering, and with no medical reason why they cannot wear one, may be asked to return home and book another appointment once they have a face covering.

We are also considering whether we need to keep our front doors locked.  We wish to avoid this at all costs but we are seeing more patients coming into the practice to make appointments or ask general questions.  The ONLY reasons for coming to the practice are to attend a booked appointment or to pick something up from us where it cannot be emailed or sent to you electronically.  Samples, prescription requests, letters etc. MUST be put in the letterbox to the right inside of the main front doors.

Please do not arrive early for your appointment and notify us upon your arrival, but please wait outside the practice until you are called in.  This is safer for patients and safer for staff.  You can wait in your car if you prefer.

We urge you if you are able to download the Rotherham Health App which allows many benefits without the need to make a phone call. These include booking appointments during the week and for weekends too. Requesting medication, viewing test results and much more!

Please understand that if our practice team become unwell we will not be able to treat patients – we are asking our patients to help us so that we can continue to help you.

We know many patients are anxious about the months ahead, managing existing and new health conditions and flu vaccinations.  We are planning to find new ways of working to ensure the safety of our patients, their carers and our staff, whilst ensuring you receive the care you need.  A huge amount of work and planning is going on behind the scenes to restart services and to keep you safe – please be patient with us.  If you have urgent concerns, please contact us, by phone, for advice.  The best source of up to date information is our Facebook page @SwallownestHealthC or our website www.swallownesthealthcentre.co.uk

Thank you for your understanding and your continuing kindness.

Swallownest Health Centre

Facial Coverings and Exemption Cards Update July 2020

The wearing of masks by staff and face coverings by the public will play a role in preventing the spread of infection so that patients and visitors can attend practices without fear of contamination. It will also reduce the risk of a whole team within a practice being required to self-isolate should one member contract COVID-19. 

It is now mandatory to wear facial coverings on public transport and it will be mandatory to wear a facial covering in shops/supermarkets from Friday 24th July 2020

To find out;

  • when you can take your mask off
  • to learn about different types of masks
  • how to be safe wearing a mask
  • if you’re exempt from wearing a mask

Please click here

Supplying face mask exemption letters to patients

Our Practice (like many others) is seeing an increase in requests from patients for letters of exemption to wear face masks in various public settings. The Government guidance suggests there is no requirement for evidence for exemption. It should be sufficient for someone to declare that they are eligible for an exemption direct with the person questioning them (e.g. bus driver).

The BMA has indicated that practices are therefore not required to provide letters of support for those who fall under the list of exemptions, or to those who do not fall under the list of exemptions.

Some transport providers are providing evidence of exemptions themselves.

Being Exempt from Wearing a Face Mask

We understand that some people can’t wear a face mask or covering because of a disability or severe distress.

The link below provides Learning Disability Exemption Cards, Autism Exemption Cards and Parent and Child Exemption Cards. Download the PDF below to print your exemption card

Click here for printable Face-Covering-Exemption-Cards

23rd June 2020 – Special Announcement from our Senior Partner Dr Robin Evans

I would like to announce that, after 32 years, I am retiring as a Partner at Swallownest General Practice in July this year.

I first came to work here as a trainee GP in 1985 for one year and, after 2 years further training in hospital, I joined as a full Partner in February 1988.

Throughout my time here I have considered it both a privilege and a pleasure to work in this community. I have seen many changes both in society and in medicine during my career, but the fundamental nature of General Practice has not changed – it is simply the process of two people (doctor and patient) trying to find the solution to a problem together. Sadly we are currently all facing the same huge problem of how to keep ourselves and our families safe during this dreadful pandemic.

I hope that you all find a way of coping and keeping yourselves healthy until things return to something like normal.

Best wishes to you all.

Dr Rob Evans

Dr Evans retired Thursday 9th July 2020

14/05/2020 – Update during Covid-19

We would like to thank you for your support, understanding and patience during these difficult times. We all need to continue to follow Government advice to ensure that we don’t create a further peak. We would kindly ask that you follow the important information in the details below:-

  • We are continuing with telephone and video consulatations for now and the clinician will advise during this should you need to attend in person.
  • If you are asked to attend the Health Centre, please do not arrive earlier than you need to as we need to ensure there are as few people in the building as possible please.
  • Please attend alone wherever possible.
  • Please wear a mask or face covering to protect you and our staff. Please find the Government link showing you how to make one https://bit.ly/2T3uUdf
  • Please kindly bring your own hand sanitiser as we do not have sufficient supplies.
  • With regards to shielding patients – Government guidance is that you should be shielding currently until 30th June. If you wish to return to work any sooner, you will need to discuss this with your employer. This is not our decision to make. Please follow Government guidance here https://bit.ly/3byOIeO
  • We have started planning on how we can make a phased return to our clinics and appointments. These discussions are being made with careful consideration for all. We are trying to prioritise based on RCGP guidance and we would kindly ask that you respect the decisions that are made.

We will update you with further information as soon as we are able.

Thank you and stay safe!

17/04/2020 – Updated consultations via telephone/video and general communications

We hope you are all coping during these strange and surreal times. As you are aware we have reduced footfall to protect you and our staff. We are consulting using different methods at present; these include telephone and video consultations. Please watch the short video attached to find out more about how this works from a patients point of view.

https://support.accurx.com/en/articles/3790662-my-gp-has-sent-me-a-video-link

It is of the utmost importance during normal times that we have the correct contact details for you so that we can communicate with you effectively to continue to care for you as best we can.

Please update your contact details on the link below, or check with us when you call us that we have the right number for you. https://www.mysurgerywebsite.co.uk/secure/cod.aspx…

Along with other changes we have made in light of the Covid pandemic; we are trying to communicate with our patients in different ways. These may include sending documents via text. Please see the link below for how this works.

Thanks again to you all for your support and understanding.

16/04/2020 – Scam telephone calls

Please note that although our clinicians are calling patients to care for them during this worrying time, and particularly those patients who are shielding; we would never discuss financial issues with our patients, unless to signpost for genuine support information for them. We have been made aware that one of the numbers calling is 0114 5534088. If we call our patients, our number will show up, unless a clinician is calling from their own phone, in which case the number would be withheld. Please take extra care and be vigilant at all times. Stay safe.

7/04/2020 – Coronavirus Update

Help for Vulnerable Residents:-

Do you need support during the covid-19 outbreak?

If you, or someone you know of, are living alone, vulnerable and have no one else to help with basic tasks, then the Rotherham Heroes volunteers are here to help.

The Rotherham Heroes Volunteer Programme is a borough-wide volunteer programme, coordinated by Voluntary Action Rotherham and Rotherham Council, to help vulnerable people across Rotherham during the Coronavirus outbreak.

For more details see the link https://www.rotherham.gov.uk/emergencies-1/coronovirus/2 or Goodsam on the details here https://www.goodsamapp.org/about

Video consultation:-

As we are restricting the number of face to face appointments, we are undertaking telephone consultations as well as video consultations. To find out more about how these work, please click the link. https://youtu.be/DI2rvhcAaIw

Easter Bank Holidays

Please note that as a result of Covi-19 and the ever increasing pressure on the NHS over the weeks to come, we are open as usual on Good Friday and Easter Monday.