The NHS in Hounslow 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.
I have symptoms of Coronavirus
If you have symptoms associated with Coronavirus including a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a sudden loss or change of sense of taste or smell, you are advised to stay at home for 10 days. Do not attend your GP practice, hospital or pharmacy. If your condition gets worse and you need medical advice or if your symptoms do not resolve after 10 days please contact NHS 111 using their online service or contact NHS 111 by telephone if you do not have online access. Click HERE to book a coronavirus test. If your test result comes back negative, you no longer need to self-isolate.
Someone in my household has symptoms of Coronavirus
If someone in your household has a raised temperature, a new continuous cough or a sudden loss or change of sense of taste or smell, ALL household members are advised to stay at home and self-isolate for up to 14 days to avoid spreading the infection outside the home. After 14 days, anyone in the household who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine.
But, if anyone else in the household gets symptoms, they should stay at home for 10 days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they’re at home for longer than 14 days. The most up-to-date public guidance is always online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
Please see the visual graphic below:
I have recently returned from abroad
If you have recent returned from abroad you may need to self isolate for 14 days. Please review the latest government guidance by clicking HERE
If you develop symptoms of a cough or a temperature you should self isolate for 10 days in line with the current advice.
I have symptoms and want to be tested for Coronavirus
If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can ask for a test to check if you have the virus. Full information about the service is available HERE and you can request a test by clicking HERE.
Key workers should request a test via the gov.uk website, by clicking HERE
The tests are not suitable for children under 5 years old.
Thornbury Road Centre for Health is unable to arrange any Coronavirus testing.
How is Coronavirus transmitted?
Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also be infected by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.
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 regularly, 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.
You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at Further information is available on www.nhs.uk
Useful Guidance Documents
1) Online Appointment Booking Currently SUSPENDED!
In line with updated advice from the NHS, as of 12th March 2020 online booking of appointments (including via the NHS app) has been SUSPENDED. To book an appointment please contact the practice via telephone on 020 8630 1036 and select option 2.
Please continue to use the online services to order your medication .
2) Appointment Booking using the Automated Telephone Booking System Currently SUSPENDED!
As of 13th March 2020 booking of appointments using Patient Partner – our automated telephone booking system has been SUSPENDED. To book an appointment please contact the practice via telephone on 020 8630 1036 and select option 2 to speak to a receptionist.
You can still use the automated system to check an appointment already booked or cancel an appointment.
3) All Appointments are Moving to Telephone Triage
From Monday 16th March the practice will be offering telephone appointments only. The clinician calling you will try and manage your problem over the phone. Only if absolutely necessary will we arrange a face to face consultation.
4) DO NOT come to the surgery unless you have a booked appointment
Please do not attend the surgery unless you have a booked appointment. Attending the surgery unnecessarily could put yourself and other patients at risk. Whilst the practice will take every precaution to prevent patients infected with Coronavirus from attending the surgery, during the first few days of an infection a patient may not display any symptoms but may still be able to infect other patients.
If you need to contact the practice, please call us on 020 8630 1036 OR preferably contact us by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
5) Procedure when attending a booked appointment
If you are attending a booked appointment at the practice:
- Wear a facemask
- Only arrive 10mins ahead of appointment time and only be accompanied if needed (maximum of one carer per patient)
- Check in for your appointment at reception
- Wait outside of the surgery front door if physically able to do so and your clinician will collect you when it is time for your appointment
- No toilet facilities available. Use toilet at home before arriving.
The clinician you see will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) including; gloves, apron, face mask, goggles, face shield.
6) Sick Notes / Fit Notes / Med 3 Certificates for employers…
Due to the current pandemic and pressure on General Practice, we are prioritising the urgent medical needs of our patients and will not be providing a medical certificate for Coronavirus related absence.
By law employers may use their discretion around the need for medical evidence if an employee is absent from work for more than seven days due to sickness. We would ask employers to apply this discretion to help support NHS general practice provide care for our population rather than being asked to fulfil unnecessary administrative tasks.
If your employer is still requesting a sick note, please download this form to complete and return to your employer.
7) Letters for High Risk Patients – Social Distancing
On Monday 16th March the UK government announced a package of measures, advising those who are or may be at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. Patients who are at ” Very High Risk” will receive a letter either directly from NHS England, from the hospital or from the GP practice.
People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:
- people who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication
- people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment
- people with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma or COPD (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
- people with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)
People who do not fall into this group, but who are consider at higher risk than the general population will not be proactively contacted but have instead been asked to take steps to reduce their social interactions in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus.
This group includes those who are:
- aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
- under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds):
- chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
- problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
- those who are pregnant
The practice / NHS will not be providing letters for patients who fall into the wider at risk category.
We have provided the following form that you can download and print to support your need for stringent social distancing:
8) BIG Changes to health services in our area
NHS staff are working flat out to cope with an unprecedented health emergency. We need the public to help us by following our advice and using NHS services in the right way.
Please click HERE to read the latest information for the public about changes to NHS services in NHS NW London
9) Covid-19 Antibody Testing
Antibody testing is currently NOT AVAILABLE to the wider public. Please do not contact the practice to arrange an antibody test unless you fall into one of the following categories:
- Staff working in a Hounslow general practice
- Staff working in Hounslow CCG
- Staff working in a Hounslow Care Home
- Staff working in a Hounslow Pharmacy
If you are employed in one of these sectors outside of Hounslow, please check with your CCG regarding local testing arrangements.
10) Face masks or coverings
Face masks or coverings are now mandatory in most public areas.
We understand that some patients will be anxious about wearing a mask especially those with certain medical conditions.
GP’s are not required or in a position to provide exemption letters for patients who believe they should be exempt from wearing a face covering.
The current guidance suggests there is no requirement for the public to provide medical evidence for exemption from wearing face masks therefore a self- declaration should be sufficient.
Please go to the GOV.UK link below for more information on the use of face coverings. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own
For specific requirements in reference to public transport, shops or other areas where masks are required please contact those specific companies for further information.
11) Please bear with us…
The practice and staff are under an enormous amount of pressure , as is the wider NHS. Whilst we have been working very hard to reduce our telephone waiting times, it is inevitable that the wait times to get through to reception are going to increase during this period. We are experiencing a large increase in the number of telephone calls coming through to reception and this will further increase with our advice for patients not to attend the practice unnecessarily.
As with the rest of the population, we will also expect staff members who develop symptoms of Coronavirus to self-isolate for 10 days, which means we may have less staff available to answer the telephones.
The Coronavirus situation is evolving rapidly, please keep an eye on our website and facebook page for further updates.
Last Updated 17/08/2020