Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We are open! But we've made some changes...

Portsdown Group Practice is open and can see patients - HOWEVER it's not business as usual.

We have worked hard to stay open during lockdown and have made frequent changes to how we deliver care to ensure patients continue to receive it.

Now that lockdown is easing we want to bring patients up to date with how we are running our services and how best to access them. We would like to thank all of our patients for their continued support during this crisis.

Our primary objective is to provide accessible care for all patients whilst protecting the lives of our patients and staff. In line with national guidance, when booking an appointment, you may be booked in for a phone call with a clinician first before being offered an appointment in the surgery. We also have the ability to carry out video consultations with patients that have a smartphone. We are utilising these appointment methods in order to keep face-to-face appointments available for patients that need a physical assessment.

We request that if your query is not urgent, please use our eConsult page to contact us.

When visiting a site, patients will be met by a member of the team at the door to check that they are well before entering the building.

Patients that attend for face-to-face appointments will be seen by a clinician wearing full PPE. Areas are cleaned in between appointments. This means that face-to-face appointment capacity is reduced. An example of this is our phlebotomy service which is usually a 5 minute appointment is now 10 minutes. We have limited capacity in the waiting room as we promote social distancing.

COVID is still here which means we have had to change how we operate by creating 'hot sites'. 'Hot sites' are used to see patients with temperatures or respiratory issues. This is to keep patients attending for other appointments safe. As a result you may be asked to attend a different site depending on what sort of appointment you need.

We kindly ask that all patients attending the surgery wear a face mask in line with government guidance.

Coronavirus Information (COVID-19)

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss of smell of tase - this means if you have recently developed a loss of smell or taste, most noticible when eating.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

Use the 111 coronavirus service to find out what to do.

 

Temporary Changes To Our Services

Due to Coronavirus we have made some temporary changes to our services.

  • We require ALL patients aged over 2 years old to wear a face covering if they are visiting any Portsdown Group Practice site.
  • We have changed our prescription process. You now need to nominate a pharmacy for us to send you prescriptions to electronically.
  • Tempoarily closed our Heyward Road and Paulsgrove branches.
  • Routine Appointments will be held at our Somerstown and Crookhorn branches.
  • Temporarily suspending online appointment booking.
  • We have reduced some of the services that we offer, such as minor surgery, face to face respiratory reviews and travel clinics. 
  • Routine appointment telephone lines are open between 10am and 1pm Monday - Friday
  • General enquiries telephone lines are open between 2:30pm and 5:30pm Monday - Friday
  • Any samples such as urine, stool, swab with no paperwork attached should be dropped off at our Somerstown or Crookhorn brances

These changes will remain under constant review and will be lifted at the appropriate time.

Vaccination Appointments

While coronavirus has put limitations on all our lives, it is important that you or your baby or child still have routine vaccinations. They protect against serious and potentially deadly illnesses and stop outbreaks in the community. We recommend that you attend your next scheduled appointment – see www.nhs.uk/vaccinations for details on when they are due.

 Travelling to and from your appointment

When travelling to and from your appointment, please follow guidelines which include travelling by car, bike or on foot if possible, keeping a safe distance from others and washing your hands regularly. For more details, go to www.gov.uk and search ‘staying safe outside your home’.

 When attending your appointment

 When attending your appointment, we will be putting in place a range of measures to minimise any risk of COVID-19:

  • social distancing measures will be observed;
  • we may have asked you to attend your appointment at a clinic that is not at your usual venue;
  • the appointment may take longer than usual.

Due to the ongoing response to COVID-19, our service may have a reduced number of appointment slots available. If you choose not to attend your appointment, please contact your GP practice. It is always helpful for us to know why so we can help you with any concerns you might have. If you still don’t wish to attend the appointment, it can be offered to someone else.

 You must NOT attend an appointment if you or any member of your household are suffering from any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 or are self-isolating. If this applies to you, please contact your GP practice so that you can reschedule your appointment for a different time.

Coronavirus COVID-19 recovery course

If you have recently left hospital following treatment for COVID-19 infection, we reccomend that you complete the recovery course available here.

The course will help you maximise your recovery and look after your health.

Latest News

We have temporarily closed our Heyward Road and Paulsgrove branches. This is to protect patients and staff. Patients will continue to be seen at our other sites during this time.

We have temporarily suspended our online appointment booking functionality. This is to protect patients and staff from COVID19 (Coronavirus). To contact the practice, use eConsult, or telephone us on 02392 009191. 

We would like to encourage patients to not to walk in to our surgeries during this time unless you have an appointment. This is to minimise the risk of virus transmission to patients and staff.

If you are self-isolating you need an isolation note from NHS online. Click here to get an isolation note.

If you have symptoms such as a newly developed cough or a fever above 37.8 degrees celsius, you should stay at home and self-isolate for 7 days. This advice relates to people who have travelled as well as those that have not travelled recently.

If a member of your household has been told to self-isolate for 7 days due to a cough, high temperature or other virus symptoms, you must also self-isolate for 14 days. This is because it may take longer than 7 days before symptoms develop.

Please do not call the surgery or NHS 111 regarding coronavirus unless you need help with your symptoms. 

Please visit the dedicated NHS 111 coronavirus website: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 for further information.

To protect yourself and others, do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital.

Information for shielding patients

If you have received a letter advising you to shield then this information relates to you:

You may have seen that on 31 May 2020, the Government has updated its guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 and have been advised to shield. The update from Government comes into effect from 1 June 2020. In summary the changes are:

  • The advice for people identified as clinically extremely vulnerable is that they should continue to shield until at least the 30 June but from 1 June, they can spend a short period of time outdoors each day with members of their household, still maintaining 2 metre distance from others.
  • If the shielded person lives alone, the Government is advising they can meet one other person from a different household, maintaining strict social distancing. The advice is that this be the same person each time.
  • Important aspects of Government’s policy and guidance remain the same. Apart from going outside once per day, a shielded person should continue to avoid all non-essential face to face contact. This means they should still not go shopping or to pharmacies.
  • The support for shielded people remains in place and unchanged.

What changed on 6 July

The government has made some changes to its guidance for people who are shielding because the transmission of COVID-19 in the community has gone down. The changes from 6 July are:

  • you no longer need to socially distance from people you live with
  • if you want to, you can meet in a group of up to 6 people outdoors, including people from other households
  • you may also form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household if you want to, but one of the households in the ‘support bubble’ should be a single adult household (either an adult living alone or with children under 18 only). You can all spend time together outside and inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to socially distance
  • the government support offer has been extended: you can still get a food box, care and/or medicine delivery until 31 July if you want them, and have registered online by 17 July. If you have been recently advised to shield there is more information on the page below outlining on the support available to you below
  • the latest evidence indicates that the risk of serious illness for most children and young people is low. All children and young people should continue to shield until 31 July. A clinical discussion with your paediatric specialist or GP will be needed before any child or young person is removed from the shielded patient list. Health services will be in touch with children and their families over the summer, ahead of the new school term, to discuss what the new evidence means for them personally in the longer term. Families, carers and young people do not need to make immediate contact

What will change from 1 August

From 1 August, the government will pause shielding unless the transmission of COVID-19 in the community starts to rise significantly.

This means:

  • the government will no longer be advising you to shield
  • the support from the National Shielding Service of free food parcels, medicine deliveries and care will stop
  • NHS Volunteer Responders will carry on delivering the food you buy, prescriptions and essential items to you if you need it
  • you will still be eligible for priority supermarket slots (if you have registered by 17 July)

You may still be at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus, so stay at home as much as you can and continue to take precautions when you do go out. You can do this by washing your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face and keeping 2 metres away from people outside of your household or bubble wherever possible and in any case at least 1 metre with protective measures in place.

From 1 August, you’ll be advised you could go out to more places and see more people, for example, the advice is:

  • you can go to work, as long as the workplace is COVID-secure – but carry on working from home if you can
  • children who are clinically extremely vulnerable can go back to school (when the rest of their class goes back)
  • you can go outside to buy food, to places of worship and for exercise – keeping 2 metres away wherever possible and in any case at least one metre with protective measures in place

This guidance will be updated with these changes on 1 August.

 

Advice for parents and carers of children with asthma

 

Although the risk of children having more severe covid illness is extremely low, if your child has had a shielding letter they must continue to shield. 

 

All other children with asthma can return to school as the government recommends.

 

If someone else at home is shielding then the child can go to school and must follow strict hygene and social distancing advice at home and school.

 

We urge you to read Asthma UK's Back to School advice.

 

Speak to your GP or asthma nurse first if your child's asthma is poorly controlled.

Other Languages

You can accdess up to date information regarding coronavirus in other languages via the 'Doctors Of The World' website. To access this information, please click here.

Self-isolation Advice

How long to stay at home

  • if you have symptoms of coronavirus, you'll need to stay at home for 7 days
  • if you live with someone who has symptoms, you'll need to stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person in the home started having symptoms

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.

If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

Read NHS advice about staying at home.

Isolation Note

If you are self-isolating you need an NHS isolation note for your employer. To obtain an isolation note, click here.

How to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus (social distancing)

Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.

It is particularly important for people who:

  • are 70 or over
  • have a long-term condition
  • are pregnant
  • have a weakened immune system

DO:

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds

  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work

  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze

  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

  • avoid close contact with people who have symptoms of coronavirus

  • only travel on public transport if you need to

  • work from home, if you can

  • avoid social activities, such as going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and cinemas

  • avoid events with large groups of people 

  • use phone, online services, or apps to contact your GP surgery or other NHS services

DONT

  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean 

  • do not have visitors to your home, including friends and family 

 

If you're at high risk

High risk patients have been contacted either directly by the NHS or by Portsdown Group Practice.

If you have been classed as in a high risk category, the government would liek to know if you require additional support. Please advise them here.

 

How coronavirus is spread

Because it's a new illness, we do not know exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person.

Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.

It's very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.

Pregnancy advice

If you're pregnant and worried about coronavirus, you can get advice about coronavirus and pregnancy from the Royal College of Obstretricians and Gynaecologists.

Travel advice

There are some countries and areas where there's a higher chance of coming into contact with someone with coronavirus.

If you're planning to travel abroad and are concerned about coronavirus, see advice for travellers on GOV.UK.

Treatment for coronavirus

There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus.

Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses.

Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.

You'll need to stay in isolation, away from other people, until you have recovered.

Domestic Abuse

Measures announced over recent weeks to tackle coronavirus (COVID-19) have seen people’s day-to-day lives drastically altered. These changes are essential to beat coronavirus and protect our NHS.

The government acknowledges that the order to stay at home can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse. There is never an excuse for domestic abuse, no matter what the circumstances are.

For anyone who feels they are at risk of abuse, it is important to remember that there is help and support available to you, including police response, online support, helplines, refuges and other services. You are not alone.

The household isolation instruction as a result of coronavirus does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is not always physical violence. It can also include, but is not limited to:

  • coercive control and ‘gaslighting’
  • economic abuse
  • online abuse
  • verbal abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • sexual abuse

What signs to look for

If you believe that you or someone else could be a victim of domestic abuse, there are signs that you can look out for including:

  • being withdrawn
  • having bruises
  • controlling finances
  • not being allowed to leave the house
  • monitoring technology use such as social media platforms

Where to get help

If you believe you are being abused, or worried you may commit domestic abuse, please use the services on this page.

If you suspect that your neighbours or those in your community are victims of domestic abuse, we encourage you to report it to the police.

Local help can be found on the Portsmouth City Council website here.

The Safer Portsmouth website can also offer help here.

Call 999

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police - the police will continue to respond to emergency calls.

If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, dial 999, listen to the questions from the operator and respond by coughing or tapping the handset if you can. Then follow the instructions depending on whether you are calling from a mobile or a landline.

If you call from a mobile

If prompted, press 55 to Make Yourself Heard - this will transfer your call to the police.

Pressing 55 only works on mobiles and does not allow police to track your location.

If you call 999 from a landline

If only background noise can be heard and BT operators cannot decide whether an emergency service is needed, then you will be connected to a police call handler.

If you replace the handset, the landline may remain connected for 45 seconds in case you pick up again.

When 999 calls are made from landlines, information about your location should be automatically available to the call handlers to help provide a response.

National Domestic Abuse Helpline

Refuge runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which you can call for free, and in confidence, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247. Its website provides guidance and support for potential victims, as well as those who are worried about friends and loved ones. It also has a form through which you can book a safe time for a call from the team.

Refuge’s website includes a range of resources on identifying the signs of domestic abuse, and a safety guide for women and children who are living with a perpetrator. It also features a tech abuse chat-bot with step-by-step instructional videos on how to secure devices such as phones and laptops. Look for the pink button in the bottom-right corner.

Women’s Aid

Women’s Aid has a range of direct services for survivors, including a live chat service and an online Survivors’ Forum. They have developed additional advice specifically designed for the current coronavirus outbreak. You can also find your local domestic abuse service on their website. They also provide information on the support helplines available in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Men’s Advice Line

The Men’s Advice Line is a confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse and those supporting them.

Telephone: 0808 801 0327

Galop - for members of the LGBT+ community

Galop runs the National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse specialist helpline.

Telephone: 0800 999 5428

Email: help@galop.org.uk

Hestia

Hestia provides a free mobile app, Bright Sky, which provides support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know.

Chayn

Chayn provides online help and resources in a number of languages about identifying manipulative situations and how friends can support those being abused.

Sexual assault referral centres

Sexual assault referral centres continue to provide non-judgmental advice and support services to victims and survivors of sexual assault or abuse.

Interviews, forensic examinations and sexual health and counselling services are offered in a comfortable environment where staff will ensure that victims and survivors will be managed safely to comply with coronavirus guidance. Please call your local sexual assault eferral centre to arrange care and support, which may be provided in person or remotely depending on your needs.

‘Honour’-based abuse

If you are suffering abuse from your family or community because they say that you have compromised their ‘honour’, or if they are trying to force you into marriage, you can get help. Karma Nirvana runs the national honour-based abuse helpline.

Telephone: 0800 5999 247

Email: support@karmanirvana.org.uk

 

Summary Care Record (SCR)

The Summary Care Record (SCR) is a basic summary of your medical information. 

Access to SCR information means that care in other settings is safer, reducing the risk of prescribing errors. It also helps avoid delays to urgent care.

At a minimum, the SCR holds important information about;

  • current medication
  • allergies and details of any previous bad reactions to medicines
  • the name, address, date of birth and NHS number of the patient

Additional information in the SCR, such as details of long-term conditions, significant medical history, or specific communications needs, is now included by default for patients with an SCR, unless they have previously told the NHS that they did not want this information to be shared. There will also be a temporary change to include COVID-19 specific codes in relation to suspected, confirmed, Shielded Patient List and other COVID-19 related information within the additional information.

All patients registered with a GP have a Summary Care Record, unless they have chosen not to have one. The information held in your Summary Care Record gives health and care professionals, away from your usual GP practice, access to information to provide you with safer care, reduce the risk of prescribing errors and improve your patient experience.

Your Summary Care Record contains basic information about allergies and medications and any reactions that you have had to medication in the past.

Some patients, including many with long term health conditions, have previously agreed to have additional information shared as part of their Summary Care Record. This additional information includes information about significant medical history (past and present), reasons for medications, care plan information and immunisations.

During the coronavirus pandemic period, your Summary Care Record will automatically have additional information included from your GP record unless you have previously told the NHS that you did not want this information to be shared.

There will also be a temporary change to include COVID-19 specific codes in relation to suspected, confirmed, Shielded Patient List and other COVID-19 related information within the additional information.

By including this additional information in your SCR, health and care staff can give you better care if you need health care away from your usual GP practice:

  • in an emergency
  • when you're on holiday
  • when your surgery is closed
  • at out-patient clinics
  • when you visit a pharmacy

Patients that wish to opt-out of having a SCR should complete this form and return it ot the practice.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and your information

The ICO recognises the unprecedented challenges the NHS and other health professionals are facing during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The ICO also recognise that 'Public bodies may require additional collection and sharing of personal data to protect against serious threats to public health.'

The Government have also taken action in respect of this and on 20th March 2020 the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care issued a Notice under Regulation 3(4) of The Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 requiring organisations such as GP Practices to use your information to help GP Practices and other healthcare organisations to respond to and deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to look after your healthcare needs during this difficult time, we may urgently need to share your personal information, including medical records, with clinical and non-clinical staff who belong to organisations that are permitted to use your information and need to use it to help deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. This could (amongst other measures) consist of either treating you or a member of your family and enable us and other healthcare organisations to monitor the disease, assess risk and manage the spread of the disease.

Please be assured that we will only share information and health data that is necessary to meet yours and public healthcare needs.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has also stated that these measures are temporary and will expire on 30th September 2020 unless a further extension is required. Any further extension will be will be provided in writing and we will communicate the same to you.
Please also note that the data protection and electronic communication laws do not stop us from sending public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email as these messages are not direct marketing.

It may also be necessary, where the latest technology allows us to do so, to use your information and health data to facilitate digital consultations and diagnoses and we will always do this with your security in mind.

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