Coronavirus update 23 March 2020
This is an unusual news post as it is both a news post and guidance for our staff.
It is being put here so that everyone knows what is going on and why, and also how to provide feedback - all ideas are very welcome in these trying times.
Through all of this our purpose is to ensure that you spend as little time in our waiting room, possibly being exposed to others as possible, to protect our staff without whom we cannot make this work, and to do our best to deliver the highest quality healthcare we can, circumstances be damned.
Read on to see how your team is going to be managing things in the coming days to weeks:
Please DO NOT bring additional family members to the surgery. ONLY those who are being treated and those ESSENTIAL may be brought. Keep additional family members at home, or leave them in vehicles. The usual safety rules apply though so please don't leave unattended children at home or in cars.
WASH YOR HANDS before you leave home (to avoid taking bugs) and on return (to avoid bringing them home) If you cannot wash your hands on arrival, your journey is probably not to somewhere essential.
DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE - hard, but try.
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE - please keep 1-2m from all our staff and other people, as much as you can, spread out.
Staff will be wearing 'mufti' - T Shirts, jeans and scrubs. This is because they are easy to wash daily. Please understand this does not show disrespect.
DON'T DROP IN - we love to see you. Usually. Just not now. Why not give us a ring and we will see what we can do over the phone.
IDEAS - all are welcome - please share on our facebook page.
We DO NOT anticipate a shortage of influenza vaccine. Although last year there was a bit of a run on it and a few people missed out, there are 400,000 MORE vaccines available this year than last. Of course, we want them all to be used, but we will first give the vaccine to those at highest risk and then later to everyone else.
As of Sunday 22/3/2020 we have NOT received supplies of influenza vaccine. They are expected any day now. As soon as vaccine becomes available, we will inform EVERY patient who is eligible for a FREE vaccine. Those patients will be encouraged to come as soon as possible. When flu vaccine is to be given, we will ask patients who can drive or be driven to park in our REAR CARPARK so staff will please have to use the roads for now. Vaccine will be given in the patient's car, and the patient will stay for 20 minutes before driving off.
If you would like a paid-for 'flu vaccine, thank you. although they offer NO PROTECTION AGAINST COVID-19, they will help to reduce the impact of influenza on our health service. They cost $35 and will NOT be available before 14/04/2020 in line with Ministry of Health guidelines. We will happily put your name down on a waiting list and will offer vaccine first to those on the list. Staff should record this using FLUWT screening code and how many vaccines are requested. CHECK MOBILE NUMBERS ARE CORRECT This makes it very easy to collect a list and send a blk TXT to those asking for the service. Wait listed patients will get first dibs and the same administration practice, using cars where appropriate will be used.
As of 23/03/2020 ALL consultations will take place by telephone FIRST, even if you think you need to see the doctor.
The price for the consultation will be the same as if you were seen face to face. You will need to pay online by internet banking. Patients who do not pay will not continue to receive service. Sorry but it's not a free service and people not paying means everyone else pays more. Please let us know if you anticipate difficulty making payments.
TXT reminders are SWITCHED OFF to avoid confusion over appointment times.
The process will be as follows:
1. Online booking has currently been disabled. All bookings will need to be made by phone.
2. Patients who have EXISTING appointment booked BEFORE 22/3/2020 will be contacted and attempts made to manage those cases over the phone. Most of this work will be done by Dr. Hana Royal, who is currently in isolation. Where prescriptions need to be printed and signed, Reception is to print the prescriptions and the most senior doctor available will review them, sign and return to reception for passing on to the pharmacy
3. EXISTING appointments which are cleared can then be used for new patient phone calls.
4. Staff please book calls with the patient's preferred doctor. If no doctor is specified, and where possible, please book with Hana. Hana will then book in with other staff as needed.
5. From NOW ON - ALL EARLY MORNING APPOINTMENTS are for phone calls ONLY and EMERGENCIES.
6. EARLY AFTERNOON APPOINTMENTS are for vulnerable patients and those unlikely to be sick - this will hopefully soon move to lat morning too.
7. LATE AFTERNOON APPOINTMENTS are for people with coughs, colds, sore throat and non-covid-like flu symptoms.
8. Possible COVID19 cases will be referred to the community testing centre in town.
9. FOLLOW-UP appointments and scheduled reviews will be at the doctor's discretion, but where possible should take place by phone, rather than in person.
It is VERY important that children get all their immunisations ON TIME and this has not changed. Our nurses will still be seeing patients for routine immunisations. We WILL NOT be sending TXT reminders.
All routine cervical screening is suspended. The risks of coming to the doctor exceed the benefits EXCEPT for patients who have previously had ABNORMAL smears. We will get back to this in a few months.
We still have to provide you with high quality care - if the doctor needs to consult, they need to consult with you. The only exception is over 80s will not be required to be seen every 3 months unless there is a good clinical reason. We realise that a lot of added value will be lost here, but it is about keeping you safe after all.
Further information will be forthcoming in the near future and this page will be updated as required. Updates will be notified via Facebook.
Loop the Loop: Les Chatfield