Chastleton Medical Group
1st May 2020
It is sometime since I have written so here is an update regarding services at Chastleton Medical Group.
But before I go further a couple of words of thanks are needed.
Firstly thanks to you, our registered patients for being understanding and adapting to the many rapidly deployed changes to our services. We are especially thankful to those individuals and organisations that have directly helped with providing PPE – Durham Johnston School, Framwellgate Moor School, Fujifilm Diosynth, Durham School, Park View School and Durham University Chemistry Department.
I would also like to say a special word of thanks to the carers, nurses and staff at our local care homes who are enduring an especially difficult time during this COVID pandemic. The duty, care and bravery they show is truly worthy of respect and admiration.
A patient asked today “When are things going back to normal?”
It’s a valid question but I think we all have to consider what the new normal will look like until we have an effective vaccine. Until then, (and even after) everything we do from shopping, holidays, pubs /leisure, gyms, workplace and health care will have to discover its new normal for the prevailing situation.
So with regards to Chastleton, before the pandemic we could accommodate anything up to 50 patients at a time in the building, rubbing shoulders with each other with amiable conversation. We ran multiple surgeries / simultaneously, baby and antenatal clinics with asthma and diabetes clinics. In a single day we could have a total footfall through the building running into the several hundred all accessing and exiting the building through a single door.
But after lockdown is relaxed, it’s evident we can’t return to this model and pick up where we left off. COVID-19 isn’t going away until we have an effective vaccine and 2nd waves of disease are predicted.
The practices (and indeed many parts of the NHS) will be open but things will feel different and we are starting to think about what the new normal will look and feel like.
- Dr first, the principle of telephone assessment before any face to face assessment, will remain because without it we cannot isolate those patients with potential COVID-19 from the main waiting area. It helps us reduce your risk when visiting the building.
- The number of people in the building at any one time will have to be significantly reduced to allow ongoing social distancing. We envisage approximately only 15 patients could be reasonably accommodated in the waiting room at a single time. This is about 1/3 the previous normal.
- In turn this has a significant impact on the timing and running of face to face appointments and how services are delivered.
- So whilst availability of face to face appointments are likely to expand compared to the last few weeks, they cannot reach the same volume that they did previously. We need to offer face to face appointments with those that need them but not necessarily all who want them.
- We have seen the rapid implementation of IT based resources within our local NHS which have helped enormously over the last few weeks. We have received positive feedback about video consultations; text messaging (including photograph attachments) and econsults which will continue to play an important role in assisting us to provide you with effective healthcare and ultimately keep you safe.
So thank you for your ongoing support and patience as we evolve our plans and find out what is the new normal when the next phase of this situation comes – the phased unlocking but with new norms.
Dr David Clifford
Text Messaging Service
Chastleton use a text messaging service for all of our registered patients aged 16 years and over. We are currently using text messages as a quick and convenient way to communicate with our patients during the Coronavirus pandemic.
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.
SMS Consent Form
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.
Diabetes Course Made Free In Response to Coronavirus
Please see below press release for further details:
Press Release Diabetes Course Coronavirus April 2020
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
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.
Patient Online - Giving you more choice in accessing GP Services
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 28/05/2020)