Covid 19 Support Advice
Supporting you during COVID 19
This is an imensely challenging time for us all and we are trying to do all we can to provide safe and approriate care to you. With so much change and uncertainty we will continue to keep this page updated with any information we think may help. We want to assure you that whilst a number of routine appointments have been suspended we are open to provide clinical support for all medical needs you have except the testing for COVID 19.
Caring for you safely. We are not allowing patients to directly book face to face appointments at the moment to help stop the spread of the virus. We are , however, more than happy to discuss your case over the phone offering advice and guidance.In some cases we may be able to consult by video link using mobile phones. Use the AskNHS App to book a call back if you are 16 or over or call the surgery to arrange a telephone consultation. If clinically appropriate , we will invite you to attend the surgery for an appointment at a designated time. If you are asked to attend please ring the bell at the surgery when you arrive or call us to tell us you have arrived and then wait in your car until called by the clincian.
Children. It is important to stay well at this difficult time so please contact us if your child is poorly with any symptoms that cause you concern. This is just as important if you are worried that your child has a non Covid related condition. It is really important you continue to use your GP practice - especially if your child is feeling unwell or has a condition like asthma or diabetes. The staff at Berryfileds Medical Centre are still here for you, even though we are having to do things a little differently. Please don't be afraid to call us if you are concerned about your child's health.
Wearing of Face Masks. To be safe and comply with Govt direction all adults and children over 11 years must bring and wear a face mask when attending the Practice. In line with Public Health England guidance all children over 3 years are encourage to wear a mask.
Managing an ongoing condition. We encourage patients with Long Term conditions to use the self help advice we have provided on our Long Term Condition pages.
Latest Advice on Shielding
You will have seen that the Government has updated the 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 today. 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 2m 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.
The Government has also confirmed that it will be reviewing shielding guidance alongside wider changes to social distancing, including plans to write to those on the shielding patients list with information about next steps on shielding after the next review on 15 June.
Vulnerable Patients - Definition, Social Distancing and Shielding
We have received a large number of enquiries regarding letters to patients who are high-risk of severe illness from coronavirus. There is a national “list” of patients who are medically vulnerable and therefore should be “shielded”. We hope to add some clarity to this:
There are TWO LEVELS of self-protection being talked about:
- We are ALL being advised to social distance.
- This is particularly important for certain individuals: This group includes anyone who is over 70, and any adult under 70 who receives a free yearly NHS flu jab for medical reasons. You can find more information here.1
- For this group, there are no additional measures beyond you being aware of the importance of social distancing.
- This group WILL NOT receive a letter advising them to shield or practice self-distancing. You should already know who you are on the basis of public broadcast messages.
- There is a selection of patients who have been identified as particularly vulnerable to problems if they get coronavirus because of their medical conditions.
- These patients are subject to particularly stringent measures known as shielding. This group of people should receive a letter from NHS England advising them that they must shield.
- If you are shielding, you should stay at home at all times for a period of at least 12 weeks. Avoid going out for food and medicine. Ask a friend, neighbour, or family member to bring your supplies where possible. More information can be found here.2 You can ask for help from volunteers here.3
- This group will need assistance from society to manage over the coming weeks (e.g. priority food deliveries) so councils are creating a database of these people so key services know.
- You cannot decide for yourself to be on the list of patients needing shielding. It is decided on the basis of certain medical conditions and medicines identified by detailed searches in hospitals, GP practices, and other NHS specialists centres. Please note: not everyone has yet been identified, so more people may still get a letter.
- If you think you have a condition which means you should be shielded but you have not yet been written to, you (or your carer) can self-report using this link4. You do not need to ask your GP to do it for you.
If you have received a letter saying you need to be shielded and you have medical problems that are not currently being addressed, please do contact us.
Please do note that as a practice we are unable to:
- Put in “special requests” for shielding for patients who do not meet the medical criteria.
- Write individual letters for patients.
- Provide “sick notes” for patients who are isolating. Isolation notes can be requested through www.gov.uk/coronavirus
- Provide letters to employers regarding home working advice. Employers should follow Government advice or consult their occupational health department.
- Prescribe more than one month of medication in one go.
Abuse - please do not suffer in silence
If you are being abused and need help call 999 and then if you are calling from a mobile press 55 to alert service that you cannot talk.
Here are some other links that maybe helpful:
Please see an update about Wycombe Women’s Aid services at the current time.
Please find this very resourceful web link Safe Lives Domestic Abuse, all in one place.
Patients with Disabilities and Learning Difficulties
Learning Disability England has produced a series of information on its website designed to explain, provide essential information, and keep people in touch with each other.
Are you a Carer?
If so it is sensible you make an emergency plan to give details of the care you and others are providing in case you are taken unwell yourself. Here is a link to an Emergency Plan you can complete. Please forward any queries to Carers Bucks.
Have you told us you are a Carer - see our Carer Advice page by clicking here and fill in an online form to let us know your details.
Registering a Death
We have been advised that the process for registering a death has changed and should where possible be completed online - here is a message from the Registrar:
From Tuesday 31st March 2020 death registrations can only be made by families completing an on-line form on the Buckinghamshire Council website. This will be checked against the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD) before registering. For families without access to on-line facilities, there will be an option for them to call the registrar to provide the information.
Bucks CC have been us made aware of a website they have put together to give information about additional support to help those most needy or unable to get the support they need. The link to these pages is at: https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/
New Govt Website. Offering practical advice to patients who are affected in some way by COVID 19. Inc payment of bills, access to support etc. Link: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support
NHS Volunteer Scheme. How to refer for help https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support
COVID 19 Sick Note
We are sorry but this Practice will not issue a sick note for any absence related to Covid-19 however please find an agreed template for a sick note that you can download and populate with the appropriate details.
Bereavement helpline. The bereavement work of Cruse has a special section on Coronavirus and a helpline phone number which could be very helpful. https://www.cruse.org.uk/get-help/coronavirus-dealing-bereavement-and-grief
Bereavement support during Covid19. A new charity has been set up to help people and families affected by the coronavirus. Its purpose is to provide a helpline for all who need to speak to someone in these uncertain times, when loved ones may be ill in hospital or have died. Find out more: www.nationalbereavementpartnership.org