STAY AT HOME IF YOU HAVE CORONAVIRUS SYMPTOMS
For patients concerned that they may have coronavirus or may have come into contact with someone who has, the NHS 111 online service has created coronavirus pages that tell patients what they should do based on their particular circumstances. These can be accessed at: https://111.nhs.uk/service/covid-19
Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:
a high temperature
a new, continuous cough
If you live alone and you have symptoms, however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.
If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members must stay at home for 14 days. The 14 day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. This action will help protect others in your community whilst you are infectious.
Plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home. Ask your employer, friends or family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home.
Stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible.
Sleep alone, if that is possible.
Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water.
Stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible.
You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation.
Please download the NHS app or access the NHS website (www.nhs.uk) for more detailed information and instructions.
If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online www.111.nhs.uk.
If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
If you do not yet have an electronic pharmacy nomination for your prescriptions to be sent to please can we encourage you to nominate one as this will also reduce the number of patients attending practices.
Please order medicines as normal. There is no need to stockpile medicines. Ordering extra prescriptions and buying more over-the-counter medicines than you need will contribute to disruption to the medicines supply chain, which is otherwise robust.
CHANGES TO GP SERVICES
GP services have been given a mandate from the NHS to reorganise their services to ensure that patients continue to receive a service. Patients may already have noticed that practices are no longer offering pre-bookable face to face appointments. Instead, a phone call or video consultation takes place first. If necessary patients will then be asked to attend for a face to face appointment.
GP services are being reorganised so that patients who may have COVID-19 are kept separate from patients who don’t. For example, practices are continuing to provide childhood immunisations and it is important this takes place in an environment as free from contamination as possible.
As a result of these changes, patients who need a face to face appointment may need to attend a surgery location which is different from their usual registered practice. We recognise this may cause some inconvenience to patients and we are grateful for your patience as the NHS grapples with the challenge of COVID-19.
CHANGES TO EXAMINATION PRACTICE
From now on, if you need a chest or heart examination, this will be carried out from behind you rather than in front of you. This is based on current clinical guidance to protect you and our clinicians.
The latest guidance advises that throats should not be examined and they should be treated on symptoms only. Please note that our GPs and nurses will no longer be examining anyone’s throat.
We have been made aware of some inaccurate information circulating regarding special ‘rescue packs’ for patients with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Please do not contact your GP practice for a rescue pack unless this is something you usually have and require one. You should continue to manage your condition in the usual way and if you feel you have symptoms of COVID-19, go to https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 before doing anything else.
SHIELDING AT HOME
Some people will receive a letter from the NHS to say they should take extra steps to protect (or 'shield') themselves because of an underlying health condition. This is for people who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.
As you may be aware the government have sent out more than a million letters to patients advising them that they are in an ‘at risk’ group and should socially shield themselves.
These letters were produced using hospital data and not data from GP Practices. The government then announced they would obtain GP Practice data and write to more people.
As you may have noticed, this has not happened, yet and as we have been receiving queries we thought it best to keep you updated.
There has been a delay in this process centrally by NHS England / NHS Digital. We have been informed they expect the additional letters to be issued over the next week.
We understand and share your frustrations regarding the delay in this process and politely ask you to respect our staff whilst we wait for this situation to be resolved. To clarify, it is completely out of our control and we are dependent on NHS England / NHS Digital notifying GP Practices when the additional patients have been identified.
Please rest assured we will not just rely on this central data - we know you as individuals and not just numbers so we will do checks to ensure no-one has been missed.
Thank you again for your patience.
COVID-19 and your information – Updated on 8th April 2020
Supplementary privacy notice on Covid-19 for Patients
This notice describes how we may use your information to protect you and others during the Covid-19 outbreak. It supplements our main Privacy Notice which is available on our website (www.vpmc.co.uk).
The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the COvid-19 outbreak. Health and care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health and social care services and to protect public health. Information will also be vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the outbreak. In the current emergency it has become even more important to share health and care information across relevant organisations.
Existing law which allows confidential patient information to be used and shared appropriately and lawfully in a public health emergency is being used during this outbreak. Using this law the Secretary of State has required NHS Digital; NHS England and Improvement; Arms-Length Bodies (such as Public Health England); local authorities; health organisations and GPs to share confidential patient information to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak. Any information used or shared during the Covid-19 outbreak will be limited to the period of the outbreak unless there is another legal basis to use the data. Further information is available on gov.uk here and some FAQs on this law are available here.
During this period of emergency, opt-outs will not generally apply to the data used to support the Covid-19 outbreak, due to the public interest in sharing information. This includes National Data Opt-Outs. However in relation to the Summary Care Record, existing choices will be respected. Where data is used and shared under these laws your right to have personal data erased will also not apply. It may also take us longer to respond to Subject Access Requests (SARs), Freedom of Information requests (FOIs) and new opt out requests whilst we focus our efforts on responding to the outbreak.
In order to look after your health and care needs we may share your confidential patient information included health and care records with clinical and non-clinical staff in other health and care providers, for example neighbouring GP practices, hospitals and NHS 111. We may also use the details we have to send public health messages to you, either by phone, text message or email.
During this period of emergency we may offer you a consultation via telephone or video conferencing. By accepting the invitation and entering the consultation you are consenting to this. Your personal/confidential patient information will be safeguarded in the same way it would with any other consultation.
We will also be required to share personal confidential patient information with health and care organisations and other bodies engaged in disease surveillance for the purposes of protecting public health, providing healthcare services to the public and monitoring and managing the outbreak. Further information about how health and care data is being used and shared by other NHS and social care organisations in a variety of ways to support the Covid-19 response is here.
NHS England and Improvement and the NHSX have developed a single, secure store to gather data from across the health and care system to information the Covid-19 response. This includes data already collected by NHS England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England and NHS Digital. New data will include 999 call data, data about hospital occupancy and A&E capacity data as well as data provided by patient themselves. All the data held in the platform is subject to strict controls that meet the requirements of data protection legislation.
In such circumstances where you tell us you’re experiencing Covid-19 symptoms we may need to collect specific health data about you. Where we need to do so, we will not collect more information than we require and we will ensure that any information collected is treated with the appropriate safeguards.