We have put together some frequently asked questions to help our patients, and also help our team, who are getting many of the same queries come through to them.

Please remember the guidance is constantly evolving. We will update this document as often as new information comes out.

(Last update 1st May 2020)

I’m worried I have symptoms, where do I get help?

Ideally you would visit https://111.nhs.uk/service/COVID-19/ . If you don’t have online access, call 111.

What is a "continuous cough"?

This means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours. (If you usually have a cough, it may be worse).

Where can I get more information on vulnerable groups?

Information at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

I think I am in the "very high risk" group and need a letter - how do I get this?

The NHS has now provided practices with the criteria for patients who need to shield. These criteria have changed since the initial information was provided. If you are in this group, the NHS is sending you a letter. We do not have a timeframe as to when this will happen. To ensure that patients are not kept waiting, we are sending letters to everyone who is in the group to let them know the NHS letter is coming, and to give interim advice. This letter is being sent this week. Please bear in mind postal services are also disrupted.

More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

If you think that you fall into the criteria in the link above, and have not received a letter from us or the NHS, you are welcome to flag this to us using the admin pathway of eConsult https://hedgeendmedicalcentre.webgp.com/ and we will ask your GP to consider this.

My employer wants a fit note for self-isolation - how do I get this?

We are not able to provide a fit note for patients who are self-isolating. Instead you should visit https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/

Do I need to tell you or 111 I am self-isolating?

There is no need to inform anyone you are self-isolating. Contact 111 only if your symptoms need medical help.

I’ve not heard back from 111 can you help me instead?

All patients with a fever or new persistent cough who are in need of medical help should visit 111 online or call 111. 111 are extremely busy, but will give you a timeframe for a return call. If your condition deteriorates, you may consider attending A&E or calling 999, but please remember these services are also under great pressure.

111 may then ask you to contact us, or may book a telephone appointment directly with  us for your assessment. If they ask you to contact us, please tell us when you do so we can match up the electronic information that they send to us regarding their assessment.

NHS111 have told me I probably have Coronavirus. I need medical help, and 111 have told me to get medical help from  my GP - how do I do this?

Please call us for a telephone assessment from the GP, who may be able to assist you by telephone or video.

What if I've been told I have Coronavirus, or I am isolating due to a household member having symptoms, and my problem can't be dealt with over the phone?

You should call the practice for an assessment with the GP remotely initially. If they decide that you do need to be seen, you will be made an appointment at the local 'Hot Clinic'.

In line with NHS England recommendations, HEMC is now closed for face to face consultations for patients experiencing high risk symptoms of COVID-19 (new persistent cough and fever >37.8c). Patients with COVID-19 symptoms who are deemed by a clinician to require a face to face consultation will now be seen at the locality ‘Hot Clinic’ based at Bursledon Health Centre.

We have seperated the clinic for a number two main reasons: to reduce the risk to our patients and staff of cross contamination, and to rationalise our limited Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) stock.

I’m self-isolating how do I order my repeat medication?

If you have set up your account online through the NHS App or one of the other online providers, you can order your medications there. You are able to set up the NHS App yourself, which is preferable to coming to the practice to show ID. Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nhs.online.nhsonline&hl=en. App Store: https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/nhs-app/id1388411277

I’m self-isolating, and I don’t have online access

If you don’t have online access, and you are unable to leave the house, please call us to have an individual discussion.

I’ve not had an inhaler for a while can I get a new one?

If your inhaler has expired, it has run out, or you don’t currently have one, the best way to request a new one is using online services, e.g. the NHS App.

If the inhaler is no longer on your repeat medication, please submit an eConsult. If you require it because you currently have problems with your asthma / other lung disease, please use the appropriate pathway (e.g. breathing difficulties). If you have no current problems but need a new inhaler, use the administration pathway.

I’m worried about bringing my baby for immunisations, can I delay?

We are currently recommending that you still bring your child in for their immunisations, unless they have a cough or fever. We have a separate waiting room for “well” patients, and it is possible to make arrangements for you to wait in your car prior to be called in for the injection.

I’m due a blood test for my INR monitoring, should I still come in?

Yes, unless you have a cough or fever. It is important to continue monitoring your bloods for medications if you have already been asked to do this.

I’m due a blood test for my INR monitoring but I’m self-isolating, how do I get this done? Can it wait?

It is important to continue monitoring your bloods for medications if you have already been asked to do this. If you are self-isolating for 2 weeks, you can delay your test. If you are shielding, we can book you in to the first slot of the day to reduce your risk. If you are unwell, please contact the practice by telephone for advice.

I’ve had a baby recently – how will I get the baby check?

We are currently completing our baby checks at the same time as their 8 week immunisations to reduce footfall in the practice. This will automatically be booked at the same time.

Can I get three months of medication?

We are complying with national advice and issuing the normal supply of medication to prevent shortages at pharmacies. There is no need to stockpile as there is plenty of supply if everyone manages their medication responsibly.

I can’t get any paracetamol / calpol in the shops; can I have it on prescription?

We are complying with national advice and not offering prophylactic pain relief on prescription. Please speak to your pharmacist for advice on how to obtain this over the counter.

I’ve heard I shouldn’t be taking my NSAIDS (e.g. Ibuprofen); do I need to speak to a GP?

NHS England is currently recommending patients take paracetamol rather than NSAIDS if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. This is because there is some evidence that NSAIDS can affect the ability of the body to respond to this infection. Patients who take NSAIDS for other conditions can continue to take these are normal.

I want to be medically prepared – what should I have at home?

The most important measure to help make you comfortable is good hydration. Paracetamol can help with fever or pain (make sure you follow the instructions on the patient leaflet). A thermometer can be useful for small children if they are being managed through telephone or video advice from a clinician. More information regarding children and managing their illnesses is at https://what0-18.nhs.uk/

I am shielding but need to see a GP / Nurse / Phlebotomist - how can I do this safely?

We have set aside the very first part of each day for vulnerable patients. If you are able to get to the practice using your own transport, this is much safer for you than having a healthcare professional come to your home. We will book your appointment first thing in the morning, and get you to wait in your car until we are ready to see you. If you do not have your own transport, please contact us to discuss what to do.

I want to discuss my future planning with someone - how do I do this?

We recognise that the current situation will cause many people to think about their plans for the end of their life. These may include resuscitation wishes, where they want to spend their last days, who they want involved in their care. If you would like to consider this with the support of a healthcare professional, please contact us to book a "future planning" telephone appointment.

My child is due to go back to school in June, but has an underlying health condition. How do I get medical advice on whether or not they should go back?

We understand that Government advice suggests that parents should ask for a medical opinion on this. This would create  an enormous amount of work for practices, and is not practical to accomplish when they are under so much pressure. This has been escalated to the LMC (Local Medical Council) and BMA (British Medical Association)). We await their decision. We will update this question when we get an answer.

I have an underlying health condition that means attending work could put me at risk. My employer wants a letter of support from the practice detailing this - how do I get this?

We are unable to provide specific advice as we are not an occupational health service, and we are currently not doing private work, but have a  letter available for download to support our patients. https://www.hedgeendmedicalcentre.co.uk/media/content/files/Letter%20for%20employer%20of%20patient%20at%20risk.pdf

How do I get the latest information about the practice?

Facebook will be updated regularly with helpful information https://www.facebook.com/HEMC24/ or our website www.hedgeendmedicalcentre.co.uk.

Published: Mar 18, 2020