UPDATED FRIDAY 15TH JANUARY 2021
COVID Vaccination queries
Click here to read the leaflet – why do I have to wait for my COVID vaccine?
COVID Vaccination update from Craig Lee, Practice Operations Manager (updated 13.01.2021)
I am pleased to confirm that we are working as part of a group of practices from across Hyndburn to provide the Covid vaccination. Our group was one of only 280 GP surgeries nationally, to provide the first wave of Covid vaccinations. We received our first shipment in mid-December and we have been working hard to ensure we vaccinate as many people, as quickly and as safely is possible.
The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine has received much publicity and it’s limitations have been widely reported; the need to keep it refrigerated at very low temperatures, the difficulty in moving the vaccine around and the short shelf life make for very challenging times. Therefore, all vaccinations will take place at our designated vaccination hub, Acorn Primary Health Care Centre. In time and as other vaccinations become available this may change.
Our group of 10 surgeries will only receive 975 vaccines in each shipment, combined we look after over 80,000 patients. Therefore we are following national and local guidance with regards to which patients will receive the vaccination first; namely those patients over the age of 80 years of age and key workers. To be fair we have started with the eldest patients first and are working back down through the age brackets. We are also working hard on plans to vaccinate our care home residents and staff; this is likely to be using the AstraZenica vaccine.
If patients have been selected to be vaccinated the surgery will telephone them to make an appointment. Please do not contact the surgery to enquiry about eligibility, as we have limited staff, and this could lead to an extended wait on the telephones. Due to the limitations of the vaccine, housebound patients and being asked if they can make arrangements to be brought to the Acorn Centre as the surgery is unable to provide home visits. It is hoped in the future and perhaps with a different vaccine, home visits will be possible, but there is no confirmed plan for these at the time of writing.
We will be sending both clinical and admin staff to help run the vaccination hub and we apologise ahead of time if it takes longer than usual to answer telephone calls or get an appointment to see a health care professional. We may also need to re-arrange some clinics to allow staff to attend the vaccination hub. I would like to thank all patients for their understanding and continued support during these difficult times. Whilst we endeavour to limit the impact of the day-to-day operations of the surgery, some impact is inevitable.
Whilst this vaccine has the potential to bring to an end the pandemic, we are not there yet and I must remind everybody to remain vigilant, maintain social distancing and follow all national and local guidance. Those patients that receive the vaccine will need 2 doses and it is only 7 days after the second dose that full immunity is gained. Clearly there has been national guidance around when this should happen – 12 weeks after the first dose and this is the schedule we are working to. By working together, we can beat this terrible virus and this letter should be welcome news to our patients.
Practice Operations Manager
13th January 2021
Covid Vaccinations FAQs – updated 13.01.2021
Which patients are eligible for a vaccination?
We are following national and local criteria when we invite patients for a vaccination. We will gradually work our way down the priority list beginning with the oldest patients and Healthcare staff.
How are patients being invited?
We will telephone you to invite you to a clinic. We are notified just before each delivery, so we only have a short window to contact patients. Our first delivery arrived on 14/12/20 and we had to deliver all vaccinations within 3 days.
Where will patients be vaccinated?
We are working with 9 other local surgeries to deliver all the vaccinations from one central site, the Acorn Primary Care Health Centre on Blackburn Road BB5 1RT.
The team is now contacting all care homes to arrange vaccinations and there will soon be a plan for housebound patients.
Is the vaccine safe?
The vaccines are approved by the British regulator, the MHRA and were deemed safe to vaccinate patients with. Everybody who receives the vaccination is monitored for 15 minutes after administration to ensure they have not had any reaction to it.
Can a patient be accompanied by family or friends to help them?
We ask if you are able to make your own way safely to site to have the vaccination that you do so to help us limit the amount of people in the vaccination centre and maintain social distancing. However if you have mobility problems or need the support or assistance of a family member or friend, they are permitted to attend with you, we would just ask they also wear a face mask and abide by all social distancing rules throughout.
Can patients have the vaccination if they have allergies?
It is only patients with Epipens that are currently excluded from receiving the vaccine. Staff should check if patients use/have been issued with an Epipen. If so they should be refused the vaccine. No other restrictions are in place for other allergies, but it is best practice to ask the patient to make the vaccinating clinician aware of any other allergies, on the day. All patients will be monitored, in a manned, observation post for 15 minutes post vaccination.
Can patients have the vaccination if they are on Warfarin?
Patients are currently being told they can be vaccinated if they are stable, although we are trying to seek clarity around exactly who is defined as stable. At this point patients are advised if they are on Warfarin they can book an appointment but need to raise it on the day with the nurse. As soon as more clarity is provided we will make this information available.
Is there a wheelchair on site?
Yes, one is available on the day. Please alert one of the marshals (in high visibility jackets) when you arrive and they can organise this.
Suspected coronavirus (COVID-19): Important information to keep you safe while isolating at home
Click on the link to download the NHS COVID Isolating at Home Safety Netting Leaflet
For all of the most up to date information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) please click on the link to visit the Government Website
National COVID alert level – Tier 5 – National Lockdown
For all information about the current restrictions please click on the link to visit the National Lockdown page on the Government Website
Let’s Do It For Hyndburn
Hyndburn Borough Council have launched an initiative to urge people in Hyndburn to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
- Stay at home if you or anyone in your household has any symptoms of Coronavirus
- Wash your hand regularly using soap and water and carry hand sanitiser when you go out
- Keep 2 metres distance from people not in your household
- Avoid handshakes and embracing when meeting anyone outside of your household
- Wear a face covering in enclosed spaces
- Avoid or limit large gatherings inside
Please click on the link to visit the Let’s Do It For Hyndburn section of the Council’s website for more information about what is happening in our area.
IMPORTANT – Change to Self-Isolation advice
You should now self-isolate for 10 days if you have any symptoms of coronavirus
Face covering advice
Please remember that from Friday 24th July everyone over the age of 11 must, by law, wear a face covering on public transport, in shops and in supermarkets. It is also recommended to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This includes when you come into the Practice for an appointment.
When you wear a face covering make sure you:✅ fully cover your nose and mouth❌ don't touch the front of it✅ wash your hands before & after putting it on or taking it off✅ wash the face covering regularly with your normal laundry Updated guidance: https://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
Posted by nhs.uk on Thursday, July 23, 2020
Please click on the link to see the rules for face coverings in England.
Please note that we are unable to provide any form of exemption certificate or letter if you feel that you, or a member of your family, cannot wear a face covering for any reason.
Appointments Update Friday 26th June
From Monday 29th June we are making some changes to how we manage our appointments. As the Coronavirus pandemic has developed, we’ve had to adapt and change how we work. We will continue to operate a triage (assessment) first model; patients must ring to obtain an appointment which will be triaged (assessed) by one of our clinical staff.
Please try to contact us as early as possible in the day to allow us time to accommodate your request.
Clinicians, where possible, will treat over the phone or manage the problem remotely- e.g. by asking you to send photos or connect by video link. For those patients that are invited in, the clinician will make you a suitable appointment which is likely to be during the afternoon. These measures have been put in place to help maintain social distancing and protect patients and staff as much as possible.
If you request an appointment please try to ensure you are available to receive a telephone call from one of the clinicians that day. Unfortunately we are unable to provide a precise time for this, but the receptionist will be able to advise if this will happen in the morning or afternoon. Please note that this may come from a blocked or withheld number.
Following recent government advice all patients visiting NHS buildings should wear a face covering. On arrival at the surgery you will be asked to wear one by staff so please bring your own if possible.
We have tried to balance the demand and supply of appointments, but in the current situation we have to work differently and this has presented its own set of challenges. Please bear with us over the coming days and weeks as we continue to evolve our appointment system.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION – PLEASE DO NOT ATTEND THE PRACTICE UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN ASKED TO DO SO BY A MEMBER OF THE PRACTICE TEAM
RING the Practice on 01254 282282 between 8.00AM AND 6.30PM Monday to Friday for all General Enquiries – including appointment requests
RING the Prescription Hub Helpline on 01254 226880 09:30am – 11:30am & 2:00pm – 4:00pm Monday to Friday for all prescription enquiries
Please note that calls from the Practice may come from an unknown number as many of our staff are working from home at the moment. If you are asked to submit a photo as part of your consultation you may find it helpful to read our patient information leaflet first. Please DO NOT send any photos of intimate areas. There is no cost to send your photos. Please note that photos may be stored as part of your medical record.
Please click on the link to view or download our Guide on how to take a useful photo to help a clinician diagnose your condition
Please click on the link to view or download our COVID-19 Patient Information Leaflet
Coronavirus symptoms advice
If you or someone you live with has any of these symptoms – a new, continuous cough, fever or loss of smell or taste (also called anosmia) – the advice is stay at home for ten (10) days to stop the risk of giving coronavirus to others.
Cough and loss of smell or taste can persist. You do not need to keep self-isolating after ten (10) days, unless you have a high temperature or are unwell.
Please click on the link to visit the self-isolation and treating coronavirus page of the NHS website.
Help us help you get the treatment you need
While everyone is being told to stay at home, it can be hard to know what to do if you’re unwell.
- For help from a GP – use an online service or app, or call the surgery.
- If you need to contact a GP do not come to the Practice in person.
- Call the practice on 01254 282282. We will then give you advice about what to do.
- A phone or video call with a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional may be booked for you. Please note that this call may be from an unknown number as many of our staff are working from home at the moment.
- You’ll only be asked to visit the surgery if absolutely necessary.
- Your GP surgery may be very busy at the moment and you may have to wait longer than usual to speak to someone if it’s not urgent.
- For urgent medical help – use the NHS 111 online service, or call 111 if you’re unable to get help online.
- For life-threatening emergencies – call 999 for an ambulance.
- If you’re advised to go to hospital, it’s important to go.
Advice for all patients
It is important that you continue to access the appropriate medical services during this pandemic. The current advice from the Government and NHS England is Stay Alert, Stay Safe and Stay At Home whenever possible. Health Appointments are included in the few reasons that you can leave your home however you should not come into the Practice unless you have an appointment or have been asked to come in.
All appointment requests are clinically assessed and you will be reviewed over the telephone or by video appointment wherever possible. Please note that this call may be from an unknown number as many of our staff are working from home at the moment.
If you are asked to attend the Practice please follow all instructions that you are given:
- Do NOT bring anyone with you to your appointment unless it is absolutely necessary
- Do NOT arrive more than 10 minutes before your appointment
- If you have been asked to contact us when you arrive do NOT come into the waiting room until we call you
- Please respect ALL social distancing advice – both inside and outside the Practice
- Please wear a face covering to attend the Practice. Please click on the link for advice on how to make and wear face coverings.
Can you help us?
You will have seen in the news that it is recommended to wear a face covering when attending a medical appointment.
Lots of patients attend necessary face to face appointments at the practice without bringing their own face covering.
This puts both the patient and our team at risk of catching Coronavirus.
We give them a clinical mask to wear whilst they are in the Practice which is then discarded and depletes our stocks.
The face coverings you make will be given to the patient to keep so they can go on protecting their health after they leave.
We need your help as soon as possible to ensure we can keep our supplies of surgical masks to be used where they are clinically needed.
Please click on the link for instructions for a simple sewn face covering
Staff and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)
We are now asking our clinical staff to wear Personal Protection Equipment (Glasses, masks, gloves & aprons) at all times when in face to face consultations. This is to protect our staff AND our patients. If you are bringing any children to an appointment please prepare them for this as our staff won’t look as smiley and welcoming as usual!
Please respect Social Distancing requirements when queuing either inside OR outside the Practice and when sitting in the waiting rooms.
Advice for Diabetic patients
Please click on the link to view or download the Ketoacidosis Advice Leaflet for Type 2 Diabetics
Please click on the link to view or download the Diabetes & COVID-19 factsheet produced by the Primary Care Diabetes Society which includes advice for managing your Insulin if you are unwell.
Advice for parents
Please click on the link to view or download advice for parents whose children are unwell produced by the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health
Support for shielding, vulnerable and isolated patients
The Hyndburn Hub is open between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Their telephone number is 01254 388111 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hub Team consists of a huge number of charities and organisations who are able to support a wide range of needs.
Alternatively you can now call the NHS Volunteer Responders on 0808 1963646.
Please click on the link to view or download background information and frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Important message about prescription ordering
Please do not ask for more medication than you need. As with Supermarkets, Pharmacies need to ensure that they have enough stock for everyone. Practices can offer post-dated prescriptions or electronic repeat dispensing prescriptions. That means that you don’t need to order as often as your next prescription is already there at the pharmacy but you will still only receive one month’s supply of your medication at a time.
Please click on the link to visit the East Lancashire CCG website.
We would encourage patients on regular repeat medications to register for online access. You can do this by emailing email@example.com and a member of staff will call you back during working hours. You will be asked to confirm your identity and answer some simple questions. We can then email you the information you need to register with your preferred online access provider.
The prescribing hub based at Acorn Primary Health Care Centre now has an email address – firstname.lastname@example.org – to support patients who are unable to order online. This email is in place to support our patients to order their medication to minimise person to person exposure during the covid-19 pandemic. Our teams are working very hard during these challenging times to continue providing support to our patients in a safe manner. Thank you for your support and understanding. Your prescription will be ready within 48 hours provided it has been approved by your GP.
If you have any queries after you have ordered your prescription please contact our query line 01254 226880 which is open from 09:30am – 11:30am & 2:00pm – 4:00pm Monday to Friday
All prescriptions can be sent electronically to a chemist. If you have not already registered for this service you will be contacted before your prescription can be issued.
Message to patients from the GP Partners
The coronavirus outbreak and the national guidance that has resulted requires us to work differently as a Practice in terms of how we offer services to you that is safe for both patients and staff.
If you have contacted us to book an appointment you will realise that we have started to ask clinicians to call you back to assess that request. In order to minimise the risks to you and to the workforce we are required to regulate the number of people coming into the practice so as to protect vulnerable patients. Where requests can be safely managed through a telephone consultation we will be doing that. Please note that these calls may be from an unknown number as many of our staff are working from home at the moment. If we feel you need to be seen face to face then we will arrange a time to do that.
Please help us by ensuring that you follow the latest government advice in general by practicing social distancing and regular hand washing.
If you have a persistent cough or fever likely due to Coronavrius, you and those you live with will be required to self-isolate at home as per current advice.
If you are due to be seen in a face to face appointment that has been pre-booked but find yourself unwell with cough or fever or unable to attend because someone in your house is unwell, please do not attend the practice, ring us on 01254 282282 and we will change it to a telephone call.
If you require a note for your employer to cover this you can download one from the NHS 111 website
In line with current guidance, practice staff with underlying health conditions that place them at higher risk than normal should they contract COIVD 19, will not be working from within the practice or seeing patients face to face for the foreseeable future. They will be contributing via remote working including telephone consultations, where this is possible.
Further advice & useful links