Coronavirus/Covid-19

Message From The Peninsula Practice

This video addresses three key issue relating to The Peninsula Practice.

-Why we are seeing most patients at Orford.

-Asking patients to attend Landseer Road for blood tests where possible.

-Particular reassurances for Aldeburgh Patients 

Due To The Pandemic, Our Service Has Had To Adapt To Keep Both Patients And Staff Safe, And To Manage Your Medical Care With Responsiveness, Professionalism And Compassion

Dear Patients of The Peninsula Practice

 

We are very aware that just 2 months into taking over Aldeburgh Practice, with all the changes and new processes that patients and staff were having to adjust to, COVID19 came along and wiped any residual sense of 'normal' from under everyone's feet. 

We, like everybody else, have had to make rapid and radical changes to the way we work because the coronavirus is so highly infectious and we have a particularly vulnerable population. We have many patients of Peninsula Practice suffering with the virus, some have sadly died, and we know that many people are carriers without symptoms.  That is why our decisions were, and continue to be, made with full risk assessments and in line with NHS England instructions to all practices nationally to work out 'hub' areas/sites to minimise the risk of transmission. We are lucky in that we have several sites to enable these infection control measures.

We work extremely closely with the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), keeping well abreast of the updates, guidance and information both locally and centrally (from government) as it comes in constantly.The CCG are fully supportive of our arrangements and we are working flat out with a devoted staff who are patients themselves and like us all, scared.

Here is the rationale for our current service.

We are concentrating our resources for all face-to-face patient contact to happen at a single site - Orford - that is equidistant between Aldeburgh and Alderton, providing a consistently managed service with minimal footfall so as to protect both patients and staff. This enables us to run our service with full infection control measures, and to optimise the safety of all our patients and staff.

Other practices are sharing sites to work in similar ways. We are very lucky that we can manage this as a single Peninsula Practice and as such, minimise rotation of staff, which would also be a major infection risk. We are also asking patients who have transport to go to Landseer Road for blood tests. Many local practices, and practices across Suffolk, are supported by the Landseer Road blood test service which has been a long-standing blood test service to provide for all primary care (GP) patients. (This is not a walk in service but bookable appointments are available online and by phone.)

Single-site practices are having to manage their hot/cold hubs by either separating areas within the surgery, and/or extending outside for some services. We are reviewing our services constantly but currently are reluctant to do a drive by/car park blood test service, as it is important to us that the patient is unhurried, that the patient is well before and after the test. It is also important that evidence based infection control measures are in place - not to mention issues with car park practicalities and safety, the weather and managing equipment.

We think it is reasonable to ask patients to go to Landseer Road if they are able to, and the overwhelming majority are happy to do so. We have had excellent feedback from patients having used the service, importantly that they felt the service was efficient and safely managed. There are also arrangements there to provide specific infection control measures to very high-risk patients who are shielding.  This releases capacity for other services to be provided in a timely manner by staff at the Orford branch, such as dressings, baby immunisations, vaccinations, cancer screening etc.

 If, however, a patient needing a blood test is unable to get to Landseer Road, or has a particular individual medical reason why they can't travel to Ipswich, we are seeing them at Orford. 

 We respect that sometimes patients might have transport difficulties and we urge them to let us know if this is the case. So far we have not had any individual patients tell us that they cannot get to Orford if they are not housebound.‚Äč  We have also had to consider staff capacity, which has been significantly reduced at different times; and of course we must also protect those staff that might be considered more vulnerable than others, yet are able to work. Therefore much of the non face-to-face work continues at Aldeburgh and Alderton, including telephone consultations, processing of medications, chronic disease clinics, and by using the most helpful video consultations that we want to encourage our patients to use where clinically indicated.

 We also have to consider the limited supply of PPE which is needed almost exclusively only at Orford, and with constant monitoring.

The fear and vulnerability that any change brings has been amplified by this pandemic and we are doing everything in our power to provide a safe and responsive service. We are constantly reassessing what we are doing, why we are doing it, and what all the impacts are - both positive and negative. 

We are currently looking at a phased recovery plan, considering all sites, and are taking action towards improved access by prioritising the most vulnerable first.

If you have any concerns about the clinical service being provided by us please let us know directly, rather than using or indeed believing social media posts, which can cause inadvertent but significant risk to patient care.

We appeal to our patients for kindness and understanding. There is no normal. We treat every patient as equally precious with great respect, professionalism and care.

With very best wishes,

Dr Lindsey Crockett, Mrs Linda Deabill and all the Peninsula Team

 

Blood Pressure Monitoring for Patients with Hypertension and Diabetes

We urge patients with Hypertension and Diabetes to have their own Blood Pressure monitoring machines, you can purchase one from the surgery for £15. This will minimise patients having to attend the surgery and is safer way to check your Blood Pressure in your own home (often a patient will register a false high level reading in the surgery leading to over treating).

WHY THE PENINSULA PRACTICE IS WORKING THE WAY IT IS DURING THE PANDEMIC CORONAVIRUS/COVID 19 CRISIS

Some patients’ are asking where are all the doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses working during this time.   We want to assure you that our capacity is currently good and that all our staff are working across all sites.

Peninsula Practice has four sites covering Bawdsey to Saxmundham. With coronavirus spreading, NHS England instructed all GP practices to do risk assessments and ensure that we minimise risk of infection to all patients and staff alike. We must ensure that capacity for clinicians to assess and see patients is managed safely and that the PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) we have is used as conservatively as possible whilst stocks are difficult to get.

Orford Surgery is therefore the one site where urgent cases needing to see a clinician, and/ or urgent bloods, dressing etc, need to be taken, are seen. Orford Surgery was chosen, because of its central location – roughly equidistant between Alderton and Aldeburgh.

Orford is manned daily by a small number of clinicians able to see patients face-to-face. All appointments at Orford Surgery are strictly scheduled; patients cannot turn up at Orford Surgery and expect to be seen.  All patients are being screened on site at Orford before they enter the building.

Meanwhile at Aldeburgh and Alderton the rest of our staff are working hard to manage the service, taking calls and processing the necessary tasks.

Alderton dispensary is open for dispensing patients to collect / arrange collection of medication.

We are very grateful for your patience, as we have adapted to changed working arrangements in order to ensure your medical needs are met, that you are kept safe, and that our staff are able to work in a safe environment, so that we are able to sustain the service to you all.

 

ALDERTON DISPENSARY NEW CLOSING TIME

From 30th March Alderton Dispensary will close at 18.00 hours

Practice Update

If you’re thinking of calling your GP surgery please remember this: 

  • Prescriptions cannot be put in for early collection, we are trying hard to provide a 5 day turnaround (with some supply issues) for those that are due each month. Your future medication will not be available until it is due.
  • Inhalers are being issued to the patients who have them prescribed as a regular repeat.  If you are concerned please go to Asthma UK for advice.
  • Paracetamol is not available on prescription unless you are already being prescribed this for an existing chronic condition.
  • The surgery can’t advise you whether you should or shouldn’t self isolate if you are at risk, we have a considerable number of patients - please follow the guidance on NHS 111 online service.
  • If you are due to have a routine appointment and it’s cancelled, please try and understand the unprecedented strain we are having at the present time.
  • Please don’t shout at your GP staff when they cannot do these things because we will still make sure you get the medication you NEED and we will still provide the best possible care - over the phone or Face to face if absolutely necessary.

    & remember all NHS staff are doing this to help keep you safe.

5 WORKING DAYS FOR PROCESSING REPEAT PRESCRIPTIONS

PLEASE ALLOW 5 WORKING DAYS FOR YOUR REPEAT PRESCRIPTIONS TO BE PROCESSED. THIS MEANS FOR EXAMPLE THAT IF YOU ORDER YOU REPEAT PRESCRIPTION ON MONDAY IT SHOULD BE READY FOR COLLECTION ON THE FOLLOWING MONDAY.

Due to the current crisis we are experiencing disruption and delay in supply of medications to the surgery. We are asking for your patience and understanding as our staff are working under extreme pressure.

Due to the Coronavirus/Covid-19 we are quarantining all paper prescription requests for 24 hours before touching them.

We urge all patients to request their repeat medication online which reduces infection risk as well as minimising delays in getting them processed. If you are not already online please ask our Care Navigators for a password. You do not need to present ID for online prescription services.

Please do not ask for more than a month of your routine repeat prescriptions. We cannot issue more than 1 months supply as this will adversely impact on our stock. 

All repeat prescriptions for dispensing patients can be collected from Alderton Surgery.

Repeat prescriptions slips will be picked up from Orford Surgery on a daily basis.

Repeat prescriptions slips will be picked up from Hollesley on Monday & Thursday.

To avoid unnesscary trips you can drop off  your repeat prescription slips earlier BUT your prescription will not be processed before its due date.

Information Update

  • The surgery is operating an urgent and necessary service only (including essential blood tests; baby immunisations; midwife service etc).
  • Patients coming to stay in their second homes must arrange their repeat prescriptions with their registered surgeries (which can be sent electronically from them to local pharmacies). We cannot register anyone as a temporary resident unless for immediate and necessary treatment.
  • Many of our staff need protecting due to having conditions posing them at higher risk - we are very lucky to have several sites to enable them to work in the ‘engine rooms’ at Aldeburgh and Alderton and for those able, to see patients at a separate site (Orford).
  • We are expecting secure laptops to be delivered soon to enable those very high-risk staff to be able to work from home.
  • There is only a few clinical staff who are currently able to see and visit patients face to face.
  • We are using telephone triage and consultations for all appointments.
  • We are expecting webcams from the CCG to be able to do more video consultations so to protect patients from the risk of visiting where possible.
  • We want to encourage patients to access online prescription ordering - with a password from our Care Navigators they can get set up easily and quickly (no ID is needed).
  • We are asking for patience and tolerance as our staff are doing everything possible to help. Many patients are understandably angry with the reduced service and comments need to be directed to Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) not our Care Navigators.  Please click this link to find out more about PALS.

 

Face To Face Appointments

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, for the safety of our patients and staff all face to face appointments will be seen at Orford Surgery by appointment only.

We encourage all patients to request repeat medications online; see online services, however where necessary paper repeat requests can be posted through the letterbox at Orford. These are picked up daily and taken to Alderton for processing.

Please allow 5 working days for processing. All repeat prescriptions for dispensing patients can be collected from Alderton Surgery.

All other clinical staff will be at the Alderton or Aldeburgh surgeries conducting telephone triage and other roles within the practice.

Thank you for your patience and tolerance during these unprecedented times.

Temporary Closure of Hollesley Surgery

Due to the pandemic Hollesley Surgery is currently closed.

All repeat prescriptions for dispensing patients can be collected from Alderton Surgery.

Repeat prescriptions slips will be picked up from Orford Surgery on a daily basis. 

Repeat prescription slips will be picked up on Monday & Thursday from Hollesley.

Transparency

Please be aware that we may use new providers or suppliers to help us quickly adapt during the outbreak and continue your care effectively. For example, we may use a new provider for video consultations. We may not be able to add these to our transparency materials right away, we apologise for this but please be assured all our processors are bound by contract to protect to your data.

 

Anti-Inflammatory Medications

There has been concern about the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) in relation to Covid-19 following a statement by the French Health Minister (a clinician) advising against the use of ibuprofen.
This statement was based on provisional information reported from French care settings which UK authorities have not seen and is, to date, unpublished. There is no current literature on the impact of NSAIDs use in Covid-19.

There appears to be no evidence that NSAIDs increase the chance of acquiring Covid-19. In view of the current lack of clarity the Committee of Human Medicines (an advisory body of MHRA) and NICE have been asked to review the evidence. It is therefore suggested that, in the interim, for patients, who have confirmed Covid-19 or believe they have Covid-19, that they use paracetamol in preference to NSAIDs.
Those currently on NSAIDs for other medical reasons (e.g. arthritis) should not stop them.
This position will be kept under constant review.
Professor Stephen Powis
NHS England Medical Director

Holiday Canellations

If you have had to cancel a holiday please contact the relevant people (flight operators/tour operators/insurance) and ask them to send you a formal claim form.

If there is a medical section requiring a clinician to complete please send to the surgery only after you have completed all other sections.