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