Our thanks to the Tring & Pitstone Patient Participation Group for the following update.
In this rapidly changing world, anything we write may be out of date by the time you read it, but we hope you find the information here helpful and please email email@example.com if you would like to receive these newsletters directly.
Most of the public in Hertfordshire are protecting themselves and others from coronavirus by staying at home, in line with government guidelines. However, essential NHS services are still available for people who need them. No one should put off contacting their GP practice or dentist if they are concerned about their general health or have a worrying symptom which needs checking out. Our GP practices have put in place telephone and video appointments, and when it’s necessary, face-to-face appointments can still be carried out with a GP or nurse in a setting that is safe for both patients and staff. Those who are concerned that they have COVID-19 symptoms should go to the website www.111.nhs.uk/service/COVID-19 to check out their symptoms and get advice and information about what to do next or call 111.
Following the Easter Bank Holiday, the surgery has now reverted to the same operating method used before: if you think you need a GP appointment (unless you have COVID-19 symptoms, when you should call 111), call the surgery’s usual number and you will be assessed and if necessary a telephone (or video) consultation will be arranged with a GP. If the GP assesses that you need to be seen, you will be given a choice of locations. In Tring this will be The New Surgery on the Forge car park, other options will be Markyate or Berkhamsted. Chapel St surgery will remain closed, apart from pharmacy operations. When you order a prescription please allow five working days and do not re-order immediately after receiving your medication but wait until five working days before the next repeat is due. By following this procedure, you will ensure that all those who need medication receive it promptly. Please note that the surgery has lost some administrative staff through self-isolation and care for dependants, so please be patient when calling.
A reminder that patients of Rothschild House Surgery, Pitstone, Markyate and The New Surgery can use online consultations to check their symptoms and request a GP assessment. This only applies if you are already registered to use the surgery’s online services like repeat prescription ordering, view test results etc. using the Patient Access web site or mobile application – see https://www.patientaccess.com . An extra option is now listed “Health Advice: Contact your doctor online and get health advice”. Just enter your symptoms and advice will be provided with an option to contact a GP, if required.
Residential care homes
Hertfordshire County Council is temporarily re-opening two care homes – Nevetts in Buntingford and The Fairway in Oxhey – to provide additional bedded capacity to the local NHS for COVID-19 patients. These buildings will have been brought back from closure to operation within three weeks and provide 85 beds.
The council has also worked with other local care home providers to secure over 250 additional residential and nursing home beds countywide for onward discharge from hospital or short stay in the case of family carer arrangements breaking down. These will be funded by the pooled grant with the local NHS.
Support for people who are ‘shielding’
- Hertfordshire County Council is coordinating support for people who for health reasons are ‘shielding’ for 12 weeks, as well as others that need extra help in the community – providing food and medication, advice and support. This is being coordinated through the HertsHelp information and advice service. Call 0300 123 4044 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The council is also managing requests for food to support other settings, including hostels and food banks, which are experiencing a significant increase in demand. To date, over 6,000 volunteers have come forward and 2,000 have already been deployed, supporting the public to get the food and prescription medicines they need, and keeping in contact with those who are at risk of becoming lonely or isolated.
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting individuals and communities in many ways. If you become aware of someone who needs support and you’re not sure how best to help them, please refer them to the HertsHelp advice and information service. Either call 0300 123 4040, text hertshelp to 81025, minicom 0300 456 2364 or email email@example.com. Some useful sources of information which are regularly updated and worth repeating include:
- Rothschild House Surgery website – www.rothschildhousesurgery.co.uk or on Facebook facebook.com/rothschildhousesurgery. Includes important national information on “shielding” vulnerable patients, see also below.
- Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group – hertsvalleysccg.nhs.uk
- Hertfordshire County Council is promoting the use of TeamHertsVolunteering as the official volunteering network for the county, coordinating efforts to support those affected by coronavirus and creating a pool of trusted volunteers. If you know of or are part of a community group offering support in your area we’d be grateful if you could make #TeamHerts aware directly by visiting thvolunteering.org.uk and completing the online form. Military planners are working with the council to assist with this work. Schools are open to the children of key workers and vulnerable youngsters and teachers are rising to the challenge of supporting young people to continue to learn and stay healthy and well at home. The council is issuing information and guidance to schools on a regular basis through a web-based resource and has brought together useful information for residents at this address: www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/about-the-council/news/news-archive/coronavirus-frequently-asked-questions
- UK Gov Extremely Vulnerable Registration – gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable If you or someone you care for hasn’t already registered your specific needs, you can do so on this site or call 0800 028 8327 as soon as possible.
We believe that patients have useful ideas and feedback to share and we would also like to keep you updated by emailing you with regular updates like this during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please contact us using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
George Edwards, Chair
Rothschild House Group, Tring & Pitstone Patient Participation Group