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South Warwickshire Members Newsletter

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Covid -19 Vaccine - Spring Dose
22 Mar, 2022

In February, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised a spring dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for:

  • adults aged 75 years and over
  • residents in care homes for older adults
  • individuals aged 12 years and over who have a weakened immune system

The NHS will contact those who are eligible to make a spring booster appointment, so people should wait until they hear from the NHS. The NHS will prioritise those whose clinical need is greatest, as it has throughout, starting with those who have had a bigger gap since their last dose, then working through the cohort to invite others who have waited less time. Everyone who is eligible will be offered a top up between three and six months over the Spring and early Summer.

Information for GP websites re: 5-11 at-risk vaccinations
31 Jan, 2022

Vaccinations for 5-11 year-olds at-risk

  • The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that 5 to 11-year-olds who are either in a clinical risk group or are a ousehold contact of someone who is immunosuppressed should be offered two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, with a minimum interval of eight weeks.
  • This means around half a million children nationally will soon be invited to take up their jab. 
  • The JCVI has set out criteria for determining who should be offered vaccination within this group and clinicians will be responsible for identifying children in their care who are eligible.
  • Information on eligibility can be found in the Green Book, chapter 14a in the section on children aged 5-11 years and tables 3 and 4.

How will I know if my child is eligible?

  • GPs and hospital specialists have been asked to identify 5 to 11-year-olds who are eligible. For children eligible as a household contact, we will write directly to the person who is immunosuppressed. 
  • Parents and guardians will be notified if their child should get the vaccine and told how they can book an appointment. The NHS will be in touch in the coming weeks if your child is eligible, so it’s important that parents wait to hear from us and do not contact their GP.
Don't Delay Your Covid Booster Jab - Book Now
21 Dec, 2021

In order to protect yourselves, your families and the NHS please ‘grab a covid vaccine jab’.

You can book your booster jab …or indeed your first or second jab using the links below. You may also get a text message from your local GP offering appointments

Don’t delay …BOOK NOW

Book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Find a walk-in coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination site - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Covid-19 Booster Vaccination - Update 13th Dec 2021
13 Dec, 2021

The NHS vaccination programme will offer every adult the chance to book a covid-19 booster vaccine by the end of the year to protect the nation against the Omicron variant.

As part of the biggest and fastest vaccine programme in health service history, online bookings are available for all those in their 30s and above from today.

The best way to get your vaccine is by booking online at www.nhs.uk or by calling 119 – please do keep checking availability as appointments are loaded onto the system every day. The website and phoneline are understandably very busy and we thank you for your patience when booking.

The national booking service will then open up to everyone aged 18 and over from Wednesday this week.

The NHS is prioritising bookings for boosters and is urging people to book a slot to guarantee their vital jab. Some sites offer walk-in appointments where no appointment is needed. Please check here for clinics with walk-in availability and their opening hours www.happyhealthylives.uk/vaccinationdrop-ins

GP teams have been asked to clinically prioritise their services to free up maximal capacity to support the covid-19 vaccination programme, alongside delivering critical appointments such as cancer, urgent and emergency care. This might mean that for some people, routine appointments are postponed as part of the national mission to roll out boosters.

Scientists are very concerned about the spread of Omicron due to the speed with which it spreads and because two doses do not appear to provide much protection but thankfully, a booster dramatically improves this.That is why the Government has asked the NHS to prioritise boosters over other routine care.

We appreciate your support and understanding – and urge you to come forward for your vaccination as soon as possible.

Patient Access Emails
9 Nov, 2021

EMIS Health have received reports from both Patient Access users and people who have never registered for the service, that they have received Covid passport emails purporting to be from Patient Access.

They would like to share the following guidance from Patient Access:

  • EMIS Health advise users of Patient Access to check the name and email address of the sender; all emails from Patient Access will come via an email address that ends in @patientaccess.com.
  • EMIS Health advise users never to click on any log in links that you receive via email but to visit the site via the address bar of your browser instead so that you know you are on the genuine Patient Access log in page. You can find more information and guidance on our information security page here: https://www.patientaccess.com/security
  • EMIS Health strongly advise users to set up their Memorable Word security feature, as well as using biometrics (fingerprint ID) if they use the app.
  • Email addresses used to register for Patient Access account are secure. They do not share any data and no data is ever saved or stored on any device you use to access Patient Access.
School Flu Vaccination Programme
5 Oct, 2021

The school flu vaccination programme is going ahead this year. All schools will have completed their flu clinics by the end of the year. Some clinics have been pushed back slightly to accommodate the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination clinics that are currently taking place in schools. There is no need to contact your GP about the school flu vaccination programme – you will hear from your school as usual in due course.

Covid Booster(Studley Site - Arden PCN)

Patients have started to receive text messages inviting them to have their third 'booster' dose of the Covid vaccination. You should be able to make a booking by using the text system. If you are unable to do this then we do have a number you can call to complete the booking by 'phone. Patients without a mobile number in their record will be contacted by the Primary Care Network call centre directly by 'phone. 

IF YOU HAVEN'T HAD A TEXT OR CALL YET, PLEASE DON'T CALL THE SURGERY. We can't move you up the queue nor find out where you are in the queue. The third dose has to be given six months after the second dose so if you know when your second dose was given you should be able to work out when you are likely to be called, but please be patient!

Covid-19 Booster

You may have received a text from the NHS national booking service to book your Covid-19 booster vaccination. 

Please be assured your local vaccination team will also be providing this service and will be in touch very soon so there is no need to contact your GP practice. 

And don’t forget your booster will only be given six months after your second dose.

We look forwards to seeing you soon at your local vaccination centre. 

Covid-19 Vaccine for 12-15 year olds

The government has announced that all children aged 12 to 15 in England will be offered one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Invitations for the vaccine are expected to begin next week (20-26 September). 

The vaccination programme for this age group will be delivered through schools, not via GP practices. Parents and guardians of those eligible will be contacted when it’s their turn to get the vaccine. 

Covid-19 booster jabs are expected to be offered to eligible groups in the coming weeks.   The booster jab should be given at least six months after your second dose of the vaccine. 

The NHS will contact you when it is your turn to get the booster vaccine, so please don’t contact the NHS. If you are invited, it is vital you attend so that you have the best possible protection against Covid-19.

URGENT NEWS ABOUT BLOOD TESTS
27 Aug, 2021

A supplier to the NHS has advised us of a global shortage of some equipment used for taking blood tests.

Anyone who needs a test for urgent health problems will still get one, but where your clinician recommends that it’s safe to do so, then you may be asked to come back for a test at a later date, or your appointment may be rescheduled.

Given the nature of the shortage, we cannot give an exact date for when the test will be rescheduled, but please be assured that if your condition or symptoms require it, then you will get a test, and we will be re-booking your test when supplies become more easily available.

If your condition or symptoms change or get worse, please contact the NHS as you would normally.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update
9 Aug, 2021

You may have seen in national news items that the Government are considering extending the vaccine offer to 16 - 17 year olds.

There is nothing you need to do now - you will be contacted and invited for your vaccination as soon as the programme is up-and-running.

We are currently waiting for the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to update and publish. We are also currently awaiting guidance on the vaccination of 12 - 17 year old clinically vulnerable children and will be in touch as and when we have further information.

Latest update by NHSD regarding Type-1 Opt Out

The current NHS Digital (NHSD) extract of GP data for Research purposes (known as the GPDPR) has been delayed due to NHSD wishing to review the way in which this data will be collected, to conduct more public involvement and information about the plans and change the way in which patients can opt out of the extract of their GP data.

Currently the only way to opt out is to complete a Type 1 opt out form and return this to the practice. There was a deadline of the 1st September but this deadline has been removed (see below):

However, this extract will not be taken until the NHSD have changed the way it will take the data and respect the patient’s choice for using their data.  NHSD are introducing the following changes to the opt outprocess which will mean that patients will be able to change their opt-out status at any time:

  • Patients do not need to register a Type 1 opt-out by 1st September to ensure their GP data will not be uploaded.
  • NHS Digital will create the technical means to allow GP data that has previously been uploaded to the system via the GPDPR collection to be deleted when someone registers a Type 1 opt-out.
  • The plan to retire Type 1 opt-outs will be deferred for at least 12 months while we get the new arrangements up and running and will not be implemented without consultation with the RCGP, the BMA and the National Data Guardian.

This means that you can opt out at any time in the future and NHSD will delete data that they already have taken for research purposes, the deadline of the 01/09/2020 has been delayed until a new system of opt out is developed.  Hopefully, this will be a simple centralised approach via the NHS app or NHS website to avoid paper form and administration work for your GP.

We will update you when we know more about the NHSD plans to change how you can control who has access to your data.

For further information on this - please click here.

Infection prevention control guidelines to remain in place

The highest priority for the NHS remains the safety of staff, patients and visitors. While COVID restrictions will end in many settings in England from 19 July, everyone accessing or visiting healthcare settings must continue to wear a face covering (unless they are exempt) and follow social distancing rules.

Public Health England’s infection prevention control guidelines and hospital visiting guidance are therefore set to remain in place for all staff and visitors and across all health services including hospitals, GP practices, dentists, optometrists and pharmacies to ensure patients and staff are protected.

Read the infection prevention control guidance for further details.

GENERAL PRACTICE DATA FOR PLANNING AND RESEARCH DATA COLLECTION

Patients wishing to register a Type 1 Opt out from the NHS Digital General Practice Data for Planning and Research collection which starts on 1st September 2021 should download this form and return it to the Practice.

More information on this data collection can be found here.

Video - How the NHS uses your patient data from GP practices to improve health and care

Information on Covid Vaccine Certificate

Please do not contact the surgery to enquire about covid vaccination certificates.

We are unable to issue this certificate at the practice.

Please see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/demonstrating-your-covid-19-vaccination-status-when-travelling-abroad for further information.

Proof of your vaccination status will be available on the NHSapp, which is also valuable for accessing your health records and ordering repeat prescriptions. Refer Online Services page to download it.

Alternatively you can call the NHS helpline on 119 (from 17 May) and ask for a letter to be posted to you. This must be at least 5 days after you've completed your course of the vaccine, the letter may to take up to 5 days to reach you.

Latest update on Appointment System

At the end of last week there was much noise in the press about how NHS England were telling GPs that they were now going to have to see patients face to face again and receptions were going to be open. The implication being that this wasn’t what had been happening since the pandemic started. 

In reality the majority of GP practices, like ourselves, have been open and seeing patients in person throughout the last fifteen months but doing more of their work remotely. Ironically the same evening the Prime Minister’s news conference was broadcast much of the content of which was about the potential threat of the India variant and the need to consider the delaying of lockdown easing.

For the time being therefore we will continue to initially speak to patients before seeing them face to face. There are three main reasons for this. Firstly, we might be able to sort out the problems over the phone and save you time and an unnecessary visit. Secondly it is sometimes more productive to undertake investigations based on what you have told us (eg blood tests, x-rays) and then see you with the results afterwards for an examination. 

Thirdly we still do need to see patients with possible Covid symptoms in an isolation room at the rear of the building and unless we speak to you before your appointment, we aren’t going to be able to arrange this. If anyone fancies sharing a waiting room with patients with suspected Covid please let us know and we can explain why this isn’t a good idea. Incidentally online consultations, which is a form of remote consultations, is a contractual requirement from NHS England that we have to offer, unlike Friday’s letter which was only guidance. This is the eConsult system available through our website.

We would like to get back to a point where patients can decide whether they want a face to face or ‘phone consultation without speaking to anyone first but we don’t feel it is safe to do that yet. We are however working towards allowing online booking of ‘phone consultations as our next step in returning to normal.

Finally, just a plea about the use of the comments section of these posts. We have deliberately left these on and are happy to receive comments, however we are unable to respond to any comments made by individuals about their care due to confidentiality reasons. If you do have any comments or concerns about an aspect of your care, please contact us directly and we would be happy to speak to you.

Appointment system

From tomorrow (Wednesday) we are changing the way we run our appointment system. Fifteen months ago we 'temporarily' changed our system to operate one combined triage list which all patients were placed on. They were then contacted by the doctor, with face-to-face appointments arranged as needed. This has served its purpose well, but we now need to change it back to something more like our previous system.

We will still be operating a primarily telephone triage system, but each doctor will now have their own lists, with timed appointments. Therefore, we you call you will be given a time at which the doctor will contact you to discuss your condition and, if needed, see you to be examined or arrange investigations like blood tests. These 'phone appointments will be ten minutes long as with our previous appointment system and we would ask you to try to keep within this time. Assuming this change goes well we will begin offering online bookable telephone appointments for patients soon. The eConsult system, available through our website, will still be operating in parallel with the new system.

Online Access

Many patients use the 'Patient Access' app and site to order repeat prescriptions and (when they are available again) book appointments. You can actually do all of this through the NHS App which also doubles as a record of your Covid vaccination status once you have had it. We will therefore nolonger be gving out new PIN codes for 'Patient Access' and, for new users, ask you to use the NHS App instead. It's very easy to sign up to the App (you just need a form of ID) and existing users of Patient Access can obtain codes off this site to make transferring even easier.

https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/online-services/nhs-app/

Patient call-ups  

Over twelve months ago at the start of the Covid pandemic, in line with national guidance, we paused some of our more routine work mainly to limit the footfall in the surgery. Fortunately, as the rates of infection have dropped and more of our population are now vaccinated, we are able to re-start these services. We will therefore start calling patients in for their routine checks (in most cases in their birthday month) and medication reviews. Where we can do these checks remotely by ‘phone or text we will still do so, but obviously blood tests and some measurements can only be done in person at the surgery. 

We will try to do all the checks needed on one visit to the surgery. We will, of course, be keeping social distancing measures in place and we ask you to respect these whilst at the surgery. Finally, we are making more use of text messaging to contact patients and if we don’t have your current mobile number please let reception know as soon as possible.

Lateral Flow Tests

As you will no doubt have seen COVID lateral flow tests (LFT) are now available to everyone. They have been used in school and some workplaces for some time. It is important, however, to understand the limitations of these test. We talk about tests having a sensitivity (the ability of a test to pick up whether you have the disease) and a specificity (how likely a positive test is to be a true positive result).

The LFT has a reasonable specificity, but a less good sensitivity, compared to the PCR test (the one you go to the test centres for). So you may be falsely reassured you don't have COVID when you do actually have it. For this reason the LFT is NOT THE TEST TO DO IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS and even if you have done it and it is negative you need to arrange a PCR test (which is more sensitive but still not 100% accurate) and self-isolate if you have a new cough, fever or have lost your smell or taste.

If the LFT is positive you probably have got COVID but you Still need to confirm this with a PCR test.

First Contact Practitioner

We will shortly be welcoming a 'First Contact Practitioner' (FCP) to our team. They are an experienced physiotherapist and they will be assessing patients who want help with new musculoskeletal problems. They will provide an initial assessment, not follow-up appointments (hence the 'First Contact' in their title), without the patient having to see the GP first. 

They won't be providing physiotherapy themselves, but as part of their assessment they may recommend physio as a treatment as well as self-help or hospital referral.

To make best use of this service our receptionists will be asking patients who ring up for appointments whether they have a NEW musculo-skeletal problem and those that have will be offered an appointment with our FCP instead of the GP if they are in agreement.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Advice in your region: England | Scotland | Wales | Northern Ireland | Ireland Get the latest NHS information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Check if you or your child has coronavirus symptoms 

Find out about the main symptoms of coronavirus and what to do if you have them. 

Self-isolation and treatment if you have coronavirus symptoms 

Advice about staying at home (self-isolation) and treatment for you and anyone you live with. 

Testing and tracing 

Information about testing for coronavirus and what to do if you're contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service. 

People at high risk 

Advice for people at higher risk from coronavirus, including older people, people with health conditions and pregnant women. 

Social distancing and changes to everyday life 

Advice about avoiding close contact with other people (social distancing), looking after your wellbeing and using the NHS and other services during coronavirus. 

GOV.UK: coronavirus – guidance and support 

Government information and advice.