Changes To How We Work

To Our Patients

How times have changed recently!  Please take time to read and share this as it gives details of some of the changes to the way we work. 

Covid-19 has affected us in many different ways and our prime concern has been to continue to keep our patients and staff safe.  For this reason, along with other surgeries in the country, Newton Place has had to change the way it operates.  The surgery receives regular updated guidance from the government, as well as from NHS England, which we are compelled to follow.

We are aware that some of these changes may be difficult to understand and accept for patients as well as clinical staff.  However, once again, the priority remains the safety and well-being of everyone.

covidd-19 information

One of the major changes that has taken place is the introduction of telephone consultations.  This has had an impact on the availability of telephone lines.  We are aware that some patients are having problems getting through to the surgery on the telephone.  We are currently experiencing an unprecedented demand but we are answering as soon as we possibly can. To help alleviate this problem we are going to install more incoming telephone lines. Patients can be assured that we are doing everything we can to get through all the calls as quickly and efficiently as possible.

If patients are experiencing difficulties contacting us by telephone there are several other options available dependent on the reason for the call.

  • To consult with a GP/clinician on the day, patients can complete an eConsult form via the surgery website and, therefore, do not need to ‘phone the surgery.
  • For administration queries, patients can also complete an eConsult form via the surgery website and select the ‘I want administrative help’ option.
  • For prescription queries, patients can email our Prescribing Team directly on newton.prescriptions@nhs.net
  • For any on-going issues, appointments with nurses, ‘flu clinics, etc. patients need to ‘phone the surgery to arrange an appointment.

Our patient co-ordinators are the first point of contact for our patients and they are trained to allocate patients to the most appropriate member of the team.  In order to do this they will ask questions about your condition to complete an eConsult form. This will only occur if the patient is unable to complete an eConsult form online themselves.

Our doctors and nurses are trained to conduct telephone consultations and the surgery has been advised to triage patients by telephone first, but if they need to see a patient in person, that patient will be invited to attend the surgery whilst following the government guidelines regarding Covid-19.  For the safety of all patients and staff, the number of patients entering the surgery has to be monitored and restricted. We are trying to find alternative ways to meet our patients’ needs including video consultations and the use of home blood pressure monitors.

During these difficult times, the surgery is extremely busy looking after our 18,897 patients, (as at the beginning of October 2020). So, a few statistics for you.

  • The average number of telephone calls answered within a week is 1809
  • On some days patient co-ordinators are answering 54 telephone calls per hour
  • On average the surgery receives 130 completed eConsult forms from patients per day
  • We are offering nearly 200 blood test appointments per week as well as around 500 other nurse/health care assistant appointments.
  • We are currently offering around 650 dedicated ‘flu vaccine appointments per week which includes Saturday morning clinics.
  • Additionally, there are a variety of appointments available in our late clinics (6.30pm onwards) which are open to all patients in Faversham.
  • Average number of documents received by post in one week is 1637 – this number does not include emails
  • Our workflow team deals with an average of 1180 letters per week which involves corresponding with hospitals, arranging appointments for patients and coding conditions on the patients’ records
  • In an average week the doctors carry out 811 routine telephone consultations as well as 160 face to face appointments plus eConsult triage, home visits as required and the checking of blood and x-ray results.
  • Our secretarial team deals with an average of 150 to 175 referrals to secondary care per week. 

Our prescribing team process over 500 repeat prescriptions requests per day.  Each prescription is then checked and signed electronically by the doctors after they have finished their daily appointments.  Some days, an individual doctor might have in excess of 100 prescriptions to check and sign. The surgery policy states that repeat prescriptions will be ready for collection from a pharmacy in 4 days and our team strive to keep to this timeframe.

The Urgent Treatment Centre at Faversham Medical Practice has replaced what was previously known as the Minor Injury Unit.  This facility is now bookable through NHS 111 and is available to all patients within the Faversham area regardless of their registered surgery.  The Urgent Treatment Centre is open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week and is able to treat a wide range of conditions from minor injuries to minor illnesses.

Dr Alastair Gould
Senior Partner
October 2020

Coronavirus: EVERYONE MUST STAY AT HOME

Coronavirus has reached Kent and National Guidance advises:

EVERYONE MUST STAY AT HOME, THIS INCLUDES PEOPLE OF ALL AGES - EVEN IF YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS OR OTHER HEALTH CONDITIONS

“This practice is supporting vital coronavirus (COVID-19) planning and research by sharing your data with NHS Digital. For more information about this see:  https://digital.nhs.uk/coronavirus/gpes-data-for-pandemic-planning-and-research/general-practice-transparency-notice 

 

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE CORONAVIRUS SYMPTOMS

CONTINUE TO 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 more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you ususally have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

If you feel unwell enough to see a doctor, please contact reception by telephone instead.

 

⬇  USE THE NHS 111 CORONAVIRUS ONLINE SERVICE TO FIND OUT WHAT TO DO  ⬇

COVID-19 ONLINE 111 SERVICE

 ⬆  ONLY CALL 111 IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO GET HELP ONLINE  ⬆

 

Your co-operation will prevent interruption of practice services. Please can we ask you to pass this message on to any of your family and friends who may not be aware. Thank you

 

 
 

If you are immunosuppressed or have severe COPD and need to attend the surgery, please inform the reception team as soon as you can and we will make arrangements to minimise your risk whilst at the surgery.

 

GUIDANCE FOR PATIENTS CLASSIFIED AS  'MODERATE RISK'

Certain people are at increased risk of more serious illness if they catch COVID-19. If you have been offered a flu jab in previous years you will probably be in this group: it includes people with asthma, heart disease or who take certain medications which can suppress the immune system. It also includes people who are on treatment for high blood pressure, who would not have been offered a flu jab but are at higher risk from COVID.

There are people at even higher risk , with conditions such as having had a kidney transplant who have already been advised to shield themselves completely for 12 weeks. .

However,if are not in this highest risk group the national guidance does not advise you to ‘shield’, but if your risk is increased as mentioned, you should take extra precautions. This would include socially distancing, having food and other essentials delivered if possible and only going out to exercise either alone or with immediate family.  The rest of your household should support you to stay safe and stringently follow guidance on social distancing. You should work from home if possible but if you are unable to work from home, we would advise you contact your employer to carry out an occupational health assessment to ensure you are not placed at increased risk through your work.

  • If you need to contact the surgery we are available on the phone or you can complete the econsult web link via the practice website: www.newtonplacesurgery.nhs.uk/
  • We are electronically sending all prescriptions to your designated pharmacy so you do not need to attend the surgery to collect these.
  • If you wish to change your nominated pharmacy please contact your pharmacy or our prescribing team (email: newton.prescriptions@nhs.net or call 01795 530777 and ask to be put through to the prescriptions team)
  • Repeat prescriptions can be requested through your nominated pharmacy or by email to our prescribing team (email: newton.prescriptions@nhs.net).

Our local pharmacies can be contacted by phone:

  • Tesco: 0345 677 9268
  • Paydens: 01795 532 784
  • Newton Place Pharmacy (Day Lewis Pharmacy): 01795 597 509
  • Boots: 01795 532 173

There are several local groups that you can access for deliveries and community support:

  • Faversham town council community support: 01795 503286
  • Kent county council: 03000 41 92 92.

We appreciate this is a difficult time and your mental wellbeing is also important to us. Faversham Counselling Therapy Services are still running and can offer counselling to patients either by phone or video consult. If you would like support from them you can complete an online self-referral form at https://www.fcstalkingtherapies.org/contact .

There is now a service providing mental health support every evening 6-11pm : Details are here : https://www.mhm.org.uk/kent-safe-havens

 ​

HOW TO GET A FIT NOTE FROM NHS 111 ONLINE:

There are a number of questions asked before an isolation note is issued. Please click HERE to read the types of questions asked.

This service is only for people who:

  • have symptoms of coronavirus and have used the 111 online coronavirus service

  • have been told by a healthcare professional they have symptoms of coronavirus

  • live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus

To obtain an isolation note, please click HERE

 

ADVICE TO PATIENTS WHO ARE TAKING CERTAIN BLOOD PRESSURE AND HEART DISEASE MEDICATION:

There has been a lot of attention in the media around whether people taking certain medications for their heart and for blood pressure are more susceptible to COVID 19 infection. This includes patients taking ACE inhibitors (eg ramipril, lisinopril and perindopril), Angiotensin receptor antagonists (eg candesartan, losartan and valsartan) and combinations of the above.
We have had a statement released from EKHUFT and the lead cardiologists for heart failure and heart disease as well as advice from the European Cardiology Society, the European and British Hypertensive Societies and the British Association of Nephrologists (kidney specialists).
They have all said that:
PATIENTS WHO ARE TAKING THESE MEDICATIONS SHOULD CONTINUE TO TAKE THEM
There is NO good quality evidence at present that these medications make patients more susceptible to COVID -19 or lead to more severe infections in those already infected
If there is a change in this advice we will contact all patients taking these medications to inform them of this and our new advice.
If there is a change in this advice we will contact all patients taking these medications to inform them of this and our new advice.
Dr Vanessa Short
On behalf of the GP partners at Newton Place Surgery

 

ADVICE TO PATIENTS AROUND THE USE OF ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEDICATIONS IN COVID-19:

There has been a lot of concern in the media around the use of anti-inflammatory medication in relation to COVID-19 infection.  This follows a statement made in France by the French Health Minister.
NHS England have released a statement on 17/3/2020 which states:
‘There appears to be no evidence that NSAIDS (eg ibuprofen, diclofenac or naproxen) increase the chance of acquiring COVID-19. There is a current lack of evidence around the use of these medications in treating the symptoms of COVID-19. ‘
NHS England have requested that NICE review the evidence and this is awaited
In the interim the recommendation is:
  1. For those patients currently taking NSAIDs for other medical reasons (eg Arthritis) you should continue on them
  2. For patients who have confirmed COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 it is recommended that you use PARACETAMOL in preference to NSAIDS (eg ibuprofen, diclofenac).
This position is being kept under review – when the guidance changes we will inform you of this.
Dr Vanessa Short
On behalf of the GP partners at Newton Place Surgery

 

WHAT DO I DO IF I AM PREGNANT AND AM SHOWING SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS?

Generally, pregnant women do not appear to be more severely unwell than the general population if they develop coronavirus. As this is a new virus, how it may affect you is not yet clear. It is expected the large majority of pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu like symptoms.
If you are pregnant, and are worried about coronavirus, you can get advice about coronavirus and pregnancy from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists by clicking on this link:

Click here

 

GUIDANCE ON SHEILDING AND PROTECTING THOSE DEFINED AS VUNERABLE:

Shielding is a practice used to protect extremely vulnerable people from coming into contact with coronavirus.

You are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks from the day you receive your letter. Please note that this period of time could change.

 

How do I know if i am vunerable?

People falling into this extremely vunerable group include:
  • have had an organ transplant
  • are having certain types of cancer treatment
  • have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
  • have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
  • have a condition that makes you much more likely to get infections
  • are taking medicine that weakens your immune system
  • are pregnant and have a serious heart condition

The NHS in England is directly contacting people with these conditions to provide further advice.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SHIELDING, PLEASE CLICK HERE
 
 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, YOU CAN VISIT THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

Coronavirus - NHS 111 Online Service: take this questionnaire if you think you have symptoms

Coronavirus - Commonly asked questions

Coronavirus - the risks, symptoms, prevention and treatment

Coronavirus - the government response

Published: Mar 6, 2020