A Statement regarding Access to Appointments at
Chastleton Medical Group
13th March 2020
As you will be aware COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic and is spreading at increasing rates through the population.
Until now, 111 and specialist services have played the major role in assessing and testing those at highest risk of having the disease, (contact of known cases or travellers returning from certain geographical areas).
Whilst this continues, it is apparent, that person to person transmission within the community is increasing and General Practices are now starting to play an increasing role in the assessment of potentially sick patients. This role will evolve and expand in response to national guidance.
In order to ensure the safety of patients and staff, we need to carry out an assessment of your clinical needs BEFORE you enter Chastleton Medical Group. This will ensure:
- Those who need an appointment can receive one and be located in an area where they are less likely to be in contact with patients at higher risk of having symptoms of COVID-19
- Some clinical problems may be assessed and treated over the phone reducing the need for you to physically visit the surgery.
- Those patients who are suffering symptoms of possible COVID-19 and are unwell / at risk of admission to hospital and have been advised they need a face to face assessment, can be assessed in an appropriate location within the surgery by staff wearing the necessary protective equipment.
A reminder that government advice as of 12th March 2020 is that people with a cough/high temperature should self-isolate for 7 days and do not need to contact 111 or their GP if their symptoms are mild. They will not be offered diagnostic testing. If they deteriorate, they should contact 111 for further advice. They would not be tested for COVID-19 unless they required hospital admission.
From Monday 16th March, patients seeking medical advice will have their contact details and a very brief history of their medical problem recorded by the reception team.
A GP or nurse practitioner will phone them back and make a clinical assessment and agree an action plan which might include advice, the issue of a prescription, a face to face appointment in the main surgery or more specific arrangements in the event of possible COVID-19.
We would discourage you from presenting at the surgery to request an appointment but if you do so then the staff will record the same details and you will be asked to leave pending a triage call from the clinician.
(If decline to leave the surgery you may not be seen any quicker as the clinical staff will deal with calls on the basis of need and you may be placed in an isolation room.)
This type of system has actually been running in many surgeries for a number of years under the title “Dr First” but is a major change for both us and our patients.
We appreciate that this change will bring some difficulties, and inconveniences but we feel that it is the best way to maintain safety for you our patients, our staff, and enable us to continue to provide effective medical care to all in the context of this evolving situation.
Important information about the coronavirus (COVID-19)
The NHS in the North East and Public Health England (PHE) are well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.
The Chief Medical Officer has announced that the country is moving into the ‘Delay’ stage of the response to coronavirus from Friday, 13th March 2020.
The new advice issued by the Chief Medical Officer is as follows:
Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:
- a high temperature
- a new continuous cough
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
Stay At Home advice can be found here
Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:
- Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
More information can be found on the NHS website here
Coronavirus and Travel Plans
The surgery is currently receiving a lot of requests for travel cancellation forms from people who want to cancel their trips due to the risk of contracting coronavirus.
Please Click Here for advice from the Foreign Office regarding travelling to specific areas of the world. Depending on your specific travel insurance policy, most insurance companies will cover cancelled trips to countries to which the Foreign Office advise not to travel. No certificate from your GP is required.
In addition, please be advised that the surgery is unable to provide letters or certificates to travel insurance companies supporting requests for refunds by patients who, without any significant medical illness, cancel their travel insurance.
Asthma Annual Review
You may have received a text message or letter from us asking you to complete an online questionnaire about your asthma. Once you have done this and submitted it to the surgery it will be reviewed by one of our clinicians. We will only contact you again if we need to discuss anything with you further. You can access the questionnaire by clicking on the following link.
Annual Asthma Review
Please note the surgery will be closed from 12pm on Thursday 19th March 2020 and will reopen at 8.30am on Friday 20th March 2020.
If you require medical attention whilst the surgery is closed please contact the out of hours service by calling 111.
At Chastleton, our staff come to work to care for others, and it is important for all members of the public and our staff to be treated with courtesy and respect.
In line with the rest of the NHS and to ensure this is fully observed, we support the NHS Zero Tolerance Policy. This means that aggrssive or violent behaviour towards our staff or any member of the public within our Practice premises will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
Where unacceptable behaviour occurs, either in person or over the telephone, a letter will be sent from the Practice Manager advising that this behaviour will not be tolerated.
Any future violation of this policy will result in removal from the Practice patient list.
We feel sure that you will understand that proper behaviour is absolutely necessary for our staff and patients and that non-observance will not be accepted.
Repeat Prescription Ordering Service
From September 2019 community pharmacies will no longer be able to order medicines on your behalf. This is to ensure safe and responsible issuing of medication and to prevent unnecessary medicine waste. for more information please click here: Repeat Prescription Ordering Service Leaflet
Repeat Prescription Requests
Please allow 48 hours notice for repeat prescription requests.
We politely remind patients that it is their own responsibility to ensure they order repeat medication in time before they run out.
Armed Forces Veterans
Chastelton Medical Group are looking to actively improve the care provided for Armed Forces Veterans. Please let the Doctor or Receptionist know if you are a veteran. Please follow the link for more information.
Priority NHS Treatment for Veterans
Diabetes Service - Newsletter
Please follow the link below to access the latest newsletter from the Diabetes Service.
Diabetes Newsletter Oct / Nov 2019
Patient information on continuity of medicine supply in the event of a no deal Brexit is available on the NHS website and can be found by following this link:
Getting your medicines if there's a no deal EU exit
New ways for your local GP practice to help you get to the right support
Across County Durham, all GP practices want to make sure their patients are seen quickly by the right healthcare professional. We know that when you are not feeling well you just want to feel better quickly.
Your GP practice staff have received specialist training developed by clinicians, to help them provide you with information about choices you have to see an appropriate person for your healthcare needs. Sometimes a GP isn't the best person to see. Within your GP practice for example a Practice Nurse (for matters including dressings, immunisations or ear syringes) may be better. You could also be directed to a healthcare professional in the community such as a community pharmacist, optician or sexual health nurse.
So now, when you contact your GP practice, receptionists may ask you a few questions to help navigate you to the best person to help you quickly. They wont try to diagnose your problem but you may need to tell them a little bit about why you are calling. You don't have to of course, the choice is yours and you can always still request to see your GP, but you may be able to be seen faster by someone who is able to provide the right care for you using 'Care navigation' to help.
Evening & Weekend GP Appointments
Need to see a GP in the evening or weekends?
GPs in central Durham are working together to offer extra GP, Nurse and Health Care Assistant appointments from 6.30pm to 9pm on weekday evenings as well as Saturday and Sunday. This service is based at Meadowfield Surgery and is only accessible by appointment.
Contact the surgery to book an available evening or weekend appointment.
Text Messaging Service
Chastleton use a text messaging service for all of our registered patients aged 16 years and over.
This service will enable us to send a text message to your mobile phone to remind you of your appointment.
Please complete the consent form at reception (copy also attached below) to either opt in/opt out of the service and to provide us with your most up to date mobile number.
Patients can opt in and out of this service at any time.
Update as of 12/09/17 - the text messaging service for test results is currently suspended. We are unsure when this element of the service will resume again.
SMS Consent Form
Patient Online - Giving you more choice in accessing GP Services
Please note between the 18th and 28th May 2020 we are changing our electronic patient record system. We will be unable to provide any online services including new registrations for online access, electronic prescriptions, appointment booking and medical record access during this time. We thank you for your patience during this time of transition.
Patient Online will help you to take greater control of your health & wellbeing by increasing online access to services. If you wish to, you can use the internet to book appointments with a GP, request repeat prescriptions for any medications you take regularly and also view your detailed coded information in your GP online record, including medications, immunisations, test results and allergies.
Please be aware that you must be aged 16 years or over to register for online access.
If you would like to register for Patient Online please speak to a member of our Reception Team. You will need to visit the surgery with a means of identification to enable us to set up online access.
(Site updated 26/03/2020)