We wanted to let you know that we are still here for you, even though we are working a bit differently. We have made changes so that we can provide the safest possible care for patients and keep our staff safe too.
Please contact us if you need a consultation with a GP, nurse practitioner or nurse. Do not save things up – it may adversely affect your health in the long term.
What we are doing to keep everyone safe:
- Reducing face-to-face encounters by using alternative consultation options.
- Reducing the number of staff in the practice, to reduce overall interactions for staff; GPs are working from home when they can.
- Longer face-to-face appointments so that there is time to clean between patients.
- Seeing our patients with respiratory symptoms in a different part of the building, so they don’t come to the main entrance. In the winter months, we may use East Way as a venue for this service
- Checking that people entering the practice do not have Covid-like symptoms.
- Minimum number of people in the waiting room and trying to have a one-way system through the practice. To do this, we are keeping the door locked at present, to avoid too many people in the building. You can help by coming at the correct time.
- Using Personal Protective Equipment (face masks and visors, aprons and gloves) and cleaning up the entrance / exit areas after every patient coming in.
- Asking all visitors to wear a face covering, to protect those around them, and to use hand sanitiser on the way in.
- Minimising numbers of people coming to the practice – please consider having your prescription sent to a designated pharmacy, even if only whilst restrictions are in place.
- Continuing to offer vital immunisation programmes to protect babies, children and adults.
- Regularly reviewing the safety measures that we take to see if they need to change.
We can offer (via the practice team):
- Telephone consultations, with the option to change to video consultation in call if that is agreed to be beneficial.
- eConsult – a secure online consultation service available through the eConsult link on our website www.stalbansmc.co.uk . You choose the topic that you wish to discuss and fill in a tailored questionnaire which then comes through to the practice and is forwarded to a GP. You will get a reply by 6.30 p.m. on the next working day. The GP assesses the information provided and can either issue a prescription for treatment, email you back with advice, or set up a telephone, video or face to face appointment depending on the circumstances. The eConsult system has been developed by GPs and the questionnaires are very detailed – it also has a safety net built in. For example, if you give certain “red flag” answers then you will be prompted to get in touch with us more urgently and are not permitted to complete the questionnaire.
- Face to face appointments with GP – the GP will decide if this is necessary and agree a time with you.
- Face to face appointments with nurses – we will make you an appointment for the procedures that the nurses are carrying out. We have reintroduced most services (see below for information on restricted services).
Other services that are available for you to contact direct:
- NEW Self-referral physiotherapy service online at www.mskdorset.nhs.uk . complete the referral form on the site and a physiotherapist will be in touch. This is only available online, so if you don’t have access to the internet, speak to a GP or nurse practitioner at the practice.
- Direct access Eye clinic – if you have an acute eye issue, contact 0800 112 0070. A specialist nurse practitioner will assess you on the phone and may offer a face to face appointment if needed.
- Steps2Wellbeing offer mental health support – you can self-refer online at www.steps2wellbeing.co.uk , by phone on 0300 790 0542, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
- LiveWell Dorset offer support with cutting down on alcohol, weight management, exercise and smoking cessation. You can register online at www.livewelldorset.nhs.uk or call them on 0800 840 1628
There are some services that we cannot offer or are offering on a reduced basis:
- Ear Syringing – we are not able to do this as the process generates droplets in the air (an aerosol generating procedure) which increases the risk of transmission of virus from an infected person.
- Spirometry – we are not able to do this as it is another aerosol generating procedure. In addition, the people who usually have spirometry have impaired respiratory function which makes them potentially more vulnerable to infection.
- Joint injections – these may still be done once the GP has weighed up the risks and benefits of the procedure. The concern here is that the procedure involves an injection of steroid, and steroids are known to reduce a person’s immunity. This may render someone receiving a joint injection more vulnerable to infection, though the scientific evidence here is not conclusive either way.
So, PLEASE, get in touch if you need our help.