Message dated 27th April 2020
Many thanks for your ongoing support during this COVID 19 pandemic. Like Easter, we can confirm that both surgeries will be open for urgent problems on Bank Holiday Friday 8th May, 8am - 6pm. Both surgeries will be contactable on the normal numbers.
We are concerned that there is 'non-COVID' illness that we are not seeing. The 'normal illness' that we would expect to see is not presenting. Therefore, please be assured that we are still open for ALL problems. The only difference is that all requests for an appointment will first receive a telephone call. We may be able to safely manage your problem over the telephone, possibly with the aid of a video call or photographs, but if we need to see you we can, and will.
Within our Primary Care Network (The 3 valleys of Chew, Somer and Cam) we have set up 'cold' and 'hot' sites. Both Chew and Harptree have been designated 'cold' sites and therefore are trying to manage 'non-COVID' patients. If you call us with symptoms suggestive of COVID 19 you may be asked to attend a 'hot' site, the nearest of which is Paulton. This is to ensure best practice for both you and us. The doctors at the 'hot' sites will be local GPs and have full access to your notes.
Whilst the south west hasn't seen the peak of cases that other areas have, and all our local hospitals are currently coping with demand, please continue to respect the social distancing and self isolation guidance as per the attached link.
This is the only reliable method we have to reduce numbers and protect ourselves, the most vulnerable in our community and the NHS.
Finally a big thank you for all the generosity and support being shown to us, the NHS, care workers and all key workers. We are frequently being told of the many of you who are volunteering your time and expertise to help all thee groups and look after the vulnerable. It goes to show what great local communities we all live in.
Drs Fenn, Sephton, Alexander (Chew Medical) and Drs Coppock, Parr and Robinson (Harptree)
Firstly, a big thank you from us all, for your understanding and patience over the last two weeks as we have changed the way we have consulted with you. We remain open to all problems but will continue to triage all consultations on the phone first whilst the Government regulations on social distancing continue.
BANES CCG, council, virgin care and 3SG have also come together to form ‘The compassionate community hub’. This service seeks to assist those who are self-isolating or shielding and those that are clinically the highest risk people in our community, who are in need of help. This can be accessed 7 days a week, 9am - 5pm on 0300 247 0500. Support is offered in multiple areas including medication delivery, food, physical and mental well being, financial advice, housing, volunteering access, family support, public health advice and council services.
Finally, a plea from us to all to please stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Restrictions have been put in pace to combat the disease and people should only leave the house for
1) Shopping for basic necessities
2) Any medical need, or providing care for a vulnerable person
3) Travel to and from work, but only when you cannot work from home
4) Exercise – alone or with members of your household
Please share this message to community notice boards, social media groups, village shops or anywhere that is felt appropriate.
We send you our best wishes for the coming weeks and thank the local community for the great support that both surgeries have received.
Dr’s Fenn, Sephton and Alexander.
We thought it would be helpful to write to advise how your two General practices are operating in the Chew Valley during the current coronavirus outbreak.
We remain open. However, we have had to make significant changes to the way we work in order to try and reduce the spread of the virus.
To get advice or request an appointment please call the surgery first. For ALL routine and urgent care appointments we will call you back on the telephone. Many problems can be safely and effectively managed over the telephone. If we feel you need to be seen then this will still happen. We will advise the most appropriate and safe way to facilitate this whilst on the telephone to you.
Appointments such as urgent blood tests, immunisations, urgent dressings, smears and suture removal will still go ahead and you will be advised on booking when to attend.
If you develop symptoms of a new and persistent cough, a high fever (>37.8) or flu like symptoms then please DO NOT come to the surgery and follow the NHS advice.
1. The person with symptoms must self isolate for 7 days
2. All members of the same household should self isolate for 14 days. If a second member of the household develops symptoms within this 14 day period then they must self isolate for a further 7 days regardless of how far into the 14 days they are. If a second person develops symptoms then all non symptomatic members of the house must also start the 14 days again. Further information about self isolation can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/
3. You are allowed into your garden or for a short walk to exercise yourself or a dog but please avoid contact with others.
4. You are advised to ask a friend to food shop/buy essentials and leave then on your door step.
5. Manage the fever with paracetamol and not ibuprofen.
6. Drink plenty of fluids to remain well hydrated.
7. If your symptoms get worse, you feel short of breath or more unwell then contact 111 who will advise on the next step
For further information please refer to the website www.111.nhs.uk
For those aged over 70, pregnant ladies or those with chronic health problems (this is people who are offered an annual flu jab) it is likely that you are shortly going to be asked to self isolate as a precaution. We know the Chew Valley is full of wonderful people who want to help and we would ask that if you are young and fit that you look out for your elderly neighbours at this difficult time.
We have been advised by NHS England not to change the volume of medications we issue in repeat prescribing as this 'may put strain on the supply chain' of medications, therefore at this stage we will continue with our normal prescribing.
How you can help us:
1. Please make it clear to the reception team when you phone them if your problem is routine or an emergency. This will ensure we call you back in appropriate time frame.
2. Please do not request your medications earlier than normal. We will get you your medications but if everyone asks for them early this blocks up the system.
If you are not already signed up to home delivery for medications and are self isolating then please consider asking a friendly neighbour or relative to collect your medication from the surgery.
The way we are operating may change as the Government advice changes or as we manage our own staff having to isolate. We will endeavour to keep you informed of any changes but please be reassured that we will continue to care for you all throughout these difficult times.
Please share this throughout the Chew Valley on social media but also to the elderly and infirm within your communities who may not have access to social media.
Dr's Fenn, Sephton and Alexander -Chew Medical Practice
Dr's Coppock, Parr and Robinson - Harptree Surgery
Accessing Care and Treatment
For information regarding separate clinics for patients with and without Coronavirus symptoms help people to continue accessing care and treatment click here