23rd March 2020
Open letter to GP patients in North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group– (Hambleton Richmondshire and Whitby CCG, Harrogate and Rural District CCG, NHS Scarborough Ryedale CCG)
As a result of the current COVID-19 outbreak, primary care is facing unprecedented demands on its services. In addition, we are also facing substantial staffing shortages due to those needing to self-isolate in line with current guidance.
We understand that many people will be feeling anxious and uncertain in these challenging times.
In response to the pressures across healthcare the way in which primary care operates is changing to enable us to continue to provide services where they are most needed. Practices will be working to minimise face-to-face contact with patients in order to:
- reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus;
- to protect our most vulnerable patients and staff; and
- enable clinicians to continue to care for those patients who need it most.
The vast majority of consultations will now be done via phone, e-consultations or video consultation. Non-urgent work is being stopped or postponed until there is capacity to do so. Practices are working together as networks to manage this unprecedented demand. Patients may find that they are assessed by a neighbouring practice if needed.
Clinicians will need to make case-by-case decisions based on their knowledge, experience and skills to determine whether it is safe to manage each patient without physically seeing them or whether, in some circumstances, they need to see a patient in person.
It is essential that each clinician is allowed to make the decision in the best interests of the patient, their family and also the staff looking after them under extremely difficult circumstances.
We would ask all patients to:
- Follow the current government advice on self-isolation and social distancing. Advice is being kept under constant review and you can find the latest guidance here. www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. You do not need to contact your GP practice for permission to do this.
- Use NHS111 if the first instance if you have COVID-19 symptoms and would like medical advice. Please use NHS111 online if you have access to the internet (https://111.nhs.uk/). Phone NHS111 if you do not have online access.
- Do not come to any GP practice unless you have been specifically advised to do so after a phone/video consultation with a clinician at your practice.
- Order your medication as normal. Do not stockpile medication or request medication earlier than usual.
- Do not request a sick note for any illness lasting 7 days or less or for any periods of self-isolation/social distancing.
As the Chief Medical Officer has stated, NHS services are likely to come under intense pressure as the coronavirus spreads, and we need to ensure that we have as many beds available as possible to care for patients with severe respiratory problems when the number of infections peaks.
Therefore, in line with well-established plans for situations like this, every hospital in England has now been asked to suspend all non-urgent elective operations from 15 April for at least three months, with some other procedures likely to be rescheduled before then so hospitals can train staff if needed and adapt certain areas.
Urgent and emergency cases and cancer treatments will be carrying on as normal, but we know many people waiting for treatment will be disappointed or worried. People who are affected will be contacted as soon as possible.
If you have been referred urgently to secondary care, including for suspected cancer, it is very important that you still attend these appointments. However, if you have symptoms of coronavirus or are self-isolating, please contact the relevant hospital department in advance via the telephone number on your appointment letter for their advice.
We would like to thank you for your patience and understanding at this time and as our response continues to evolve. We are fortunate to have an extremely dedicated and hard-working NHS workforce across North Yorkshire who are doing everything they can to help in this extremely challenging situation.
Further information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) from Public Health England
If you have symptoms associated with coronavirus including a new continuous cough and a high temperature, you are advised to stay at home for 7 days.
Please do not book a GP appointment or attend your GP practice.
If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home. After 14 days, anyone you live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine.
But, if anyone in your home gets symptoms, they should stay at home for 7 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
If your symptoms are serious, or get worse, NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need further medical help and advise you what to do.
Only call 111 direct if you are advised to do so by the online service or you cannot go online.
For the latest COVID-19 advice please visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
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 catch the virus by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.
- 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.
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Welcome to Springbank Health
We are the local GP service for villages between Knaresborough and York, running clinics from our surgeries in Green Hammerton and Tockwith. Please click here for our information leaflet which gives more details about us.
As a patient you will be listened to, understood and respected. We are committed to working together to offer you high quality compassionate care. We will always include you in your health decisions and to continually strive for improvement.
Extended Access Service
The Extended Access Service is an extension of your usual primary care practice. It is not a walk-in service – you need to make an appointment.
The Extended Access Service is located at Mowbray Square in Harrogate and North House in Ripon. You can get appointments here up to 8pm weekdays and on Saturday mornings. Information about the new service is available here or contact reception. To download an information leaflet about the service Click here.
The Extended Access Service is not a walk-in service – you need to make an appointment via your registered GP practice. The service is open from 6.30pm to 8pm Monday to Friday, Saturday mornings at Mowbray Square and North House, and on Sunday mornings at Mowbray Square.
Information about the Extended Access service is available here or contact reception.
Book appointments online
You can book telephone appointments with doctors using the link to online services. You will need to be registered to use this though. If you do not use online access to book appointments or request prescriptions, but would like to do so, please speak to our reception staff. When you book a telephone appointment, the GP will try to call you back as close to the time specified as possible, but it might be a little earlier or a little later that day.
The Patient Group runs free CPR courses. To book please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our dedicated team are here for you and we can offer support and treatment for all conditions, from those you may feel are minor to those which are more serious and require specialist management. Please refer to the health information on this website which can guide you to decide who to see. You can make an appointment with one of our highly qualified practice nurses for coughs, colds, urine infections, back pain etc.. and we run clinics covering a wide range of healthcare issues. The receptionists will help you get the most appropriate care. The website also allows you to do a lot from the comfort of your home such as order a repeat prescription or cancel an appointment. You can also get online access to a summary of you medical record. Please ask reception for details as we need to give you more written information about this.
Partners in Care
Once registered, we will put you and your needs first, with our healthcare professionals working together to ensure the best care is provided. This partnership philosophy extends even further and our active patient group exists to make sure that patient needs and the practice offering are always heading in the same direction.
We were pleased that the CQC (Care Quality Commission) gave us an outstanding rating and placed us in the highest band of general practice nationally. You can see more information about the report here.
(Site updated 31/03/2020)