COVID - 19 PANDEMIC
Please continue to use 111-online for advice re possible symptoms of Coronavirus infection, including new onset constant cough, high temperature, severe flu like symptoms. There is emerging evidence that sudden onset severe loss of smell and taste may be an early symptom.
We have been working very hard to plan for how we can best cope with the challenges of COVID - 19 in the Lewes community. Below you will find some links we hope are helpful. These will be updated as time allows/as necessary so please bear with us. The GP's, Staff, Community Services, Pharmacies, Victoria Hospital, Social Services, District Council, CCG together with NHS England have been working together to co-ordinate our resources as best we can in the face of this unprecedented challenge.
We urge you all to continue social distancing and appropriate self or family isolation. YOU are the ones that can make the MOST DIFFERENCE to how we come through this. It is a time of great SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY for us all. This includes our children and younger people. Please do not go out unnecessarily or ask friends around. It is only by limiting the exponential spread of this virus that the NHS stands a chance of coping with the pandemic and providing care to those most seriously affected. This will include the vulnerable and elderly, but also many of our young and healthy patients who may have never been ill before.
Please continue to support and look out for each other in all the excellent ways we have been hearing about - reaching out on social media, running helpful errands, keeping each other’s spirits through positivity, kindness, humour, compassion, understanding, music, creativity, mindfulness and unselfish gestures. There is a lot of helpful advice on ways to manage anxiety through these times and simple things really DO help. See some of the links below.
Every Mind Matters
NHS self help #anxiety
Government Coronavirus guidelines and those returning to work - We realise that many patients will have concerns over the potential risks of returning to work. As such we have posted the following link to the gov.uk website. This offers specific advice as to how Covid risks are to be minimised in the work environment for employees, and includes advice for those in vulnerable groups or those living with someone in a vulnerable group.
gov.uk/guidance to safe working during the coronavirus pandemic
Should you have any health concerns regarding Covid risks we advise that you discuss your options with your employer.
Requesting medications and managing your existing medications
Please request your medication supplies as usual but do not stockpile. This risks other patients by depleting stocks unnecessarily. Emergency supplies of your regular medications may be obtained from your pharmacist in some circumstances. Some regular medications can be omitted for short periods of time without harm, but seek the advice of your pharmacist before doing this. See also our advice re ACE- inhibitor blood pressure treatment, ibuprofen, and asthma inhalers.
Where possible order online via Systmonline or through POD tel no: 0808 164 7678 allow extra days for turn-around and please be patient.
Contraception requests should be made as usual. We will endeavour to provide ongoing depo contraceptive services. Coil fittings and implants will be delayed, and coil-refits can safely be deferred for a few months. If in doubt see advice from our sexual health clinic, or online nhs.uk information or look at www.eastsussexsexualhealth.co.uk
Over the counter treatments
Many conditions can be treated using over the counter treatments and we urge you to do this wherever possible. Paracetamol does not need a prescription. Simple conditions such as conjunctivitis, hay fever, rashes, piles, should not need a prescription in the first instance and requests for such prescriptions may not get priority.
Maintaining good health through healthy diet is important. There is some evidence that vitamin C & D can boost the immune symptom, at the daily recommended dose, or through dietary sources.
Advice re ongoing illness
We are very aware that other medical conditions, new, urgent, or ongoing need medical attention. Please continue to contact us for advice about any new or urgent medical condition, but if it can wait a week or two, please seek online advice through nhs.uk or speak with a pharmacist.
If you think you are having a heart attack or stroke phone 999 as usual.
If you think you have symptoms of cancer such as weight loss, altered bowel habit, an ongoing cough (especially if a smoker or ex-smoker) please contact us as usual. Do not delay seeking medical advice.
Managing ongoing illnesses
We understand that people with ongoing conditions will be concerned at this time. Please use the nhs.uk advice pages, or the disease specific UK website for advice.
Our patients with ongoing conditions such as heart/lung/diabetes/kidney/ rheumatological/bowel or ongoing cancer treatment should we hope have a good idea of how to manage their condition and sufficient supplies of medication. Please continue to manage your condition as pro-actively as you are able. We have suspended all but essential chronic illness reviews at this stage. If you are worried about your condition, please contact us, or your relevant nurse specialist. If your condition is stable, your next review can be delayed. If you need blood tests (such as if you are taking Warfarin or Methotrexate) these will be arranged as usual wherever possible, although we will need to be flexible on exactly where and when. Please bear with us.
If you are a smoker please consider stopping now as a way to reduce your risks. This can be difficult at times of stress we recognise. There is a lot of good advice on ways to do this online at nhs.uk and at the OneYou website.
Were you waiting for an appointment procedure or operation?
Most routine/not immediately necessary surgery and other hospital procedures will likely be cancelled until further notice. This is an unprecedented medical crisis, so please be understanding. We know it is disappointing if we have been waiting a while and made a lot of preparations for a procedure. All being well it will happen as soon as possible when normal NHS services can be resumed. Please liaise directly with the department that was treating you in due course, rather than the surgery, and do not expect this to occur for the next few months.
Children and young people
We understand children and young people are affected by the situation. Please use some of the available resources to explain to your children what is happening in a way they can understand
Young people can be helped to understand their roles through discussing social distancing and encouraging them to engage with some of the many community support ideas going on. Yet they will just have had their rugs pulled out from under them with halted studies and life plans put on hold. Mental health and anxiety management links (see below) can be helpful.
How Coronavirus is spread
How to wash your hands
Helping children cope with stress during the covid-19 outbreak
The Mix - provides a free confidential telephone helpline and online service that aims to find young people the best help, whatever the problem.
Discussing your wishes re: your care if you get ill
We are liaising with our nursing homes residential care homes and warden controlled housing to facilitate the process of discussing individual preferences for care in the event of sudden deterioration in health. This is a good discussion to have even when not facing a viral pandemic. If you already have an advance care plan, we will know about it. If you want to make your wishes clear, with respect to not having life prolonging care in the face of severe illness, or not wanting to be resuscitated, or if you want to nominate someone to help make these choices known for you then please discuss with your family, friends or carers / wardens. We plan to produce a simplified one page form to help with this.
Please click here for information about future care planning in an emergency health situation. Please feel free to print off this document to complete it. Please try to involve your next of kin or someone clos to you in the discussion as they will be the ones the doctors talk to if you are too unwell to talk for yourself. It is not legally binding but a good document which guides you on how to record your wishes. We also have our dementia and frailty care coordinator Julie Barnett, who is able to address some of worries and concerns in these times. You can contact her on 07429 345490.
For people, who haven't a DNAR form in place, or since this year a ReSPECT care plan, please look at ReSPECT for further information. This is for residents, their relatives and your carers.
This is a particularly challenging time if you have a mental health condition and we understand the fear and confusion may at times make your condition feel worse. Try to make use of all the available online resources, and your own resources to look after your mental health as best you can. Put into practice strategies you have such as mindfulness, meditation, self-compassion, self-care, good sleep and good nourishment reducing use of stimulants or artificial sedatives. Reach out to those that you know can support you. Avoid getting into spirals of anxiety - jolt yourself out by self-distraction, doing something practical, writing a list of worries and tackling them one by one. Remind yourself this will pass.
Every Mind Matters - How to look after your mental wellbeing while staying at home
Health in Mind
Mind - coronavirus and your wellbeing
People with Autistic Spectrum disorder can be especially upset by sudden changes to routine and uncertainty. If your child has ASD create with them a revised set daily routine - ½ hour reading, ½ hour in the garden or watching out of the window, ½ hour treat time, ½ hour on the spot exercise, you-tube yoga and set meal times. Do not worry too much about achieving set education tasks online. Ask them if they would like to start a special project they can spend some time on daily. Allow them to decide what they like to do best to help them regain some sense of control. Liaise if possible with your school for additional resources.
Apply a similar principle if you are a young person or adult living with ASD. Talk to people around you about your challenges if you can
Is It Hay Fever or Coronavirus?
It is hayfever season again and predictions are that the pollen count will rise this week.
Most people who suffer hay fever will be very familiar with the symptoms – sneezes, runny nose, prickly throat, itchy eyes, cough (a ‘familiar’ cough).
Covid 19 is characterised by fever, new onset continual cough, muscle ache & fatigue, so in most cases it will be possible to tell the difference. It is safe to use all the usual hay fever remedies you can buy at the pharmacist even if you might have coronavirus.
If in doubt please seek advice from your pharmacist, or if you are concerned your symptoms mat be coronavirus rather than hay fever then contact 111.
The attached clip gives further useful advice on how to distinguish between the two.
How to help.
There are many community projects being created to link with vulnerable lonely or at risk groups.
- Lewes Corona Virus Volunteer Group – Phone Louise 07742211075 or Robert 07853946524
- The Silver Line helpline for older people 24 hours 0800 4 70 80 90 - https://www.thesilverline.org.uk/
- Text SHOUT to 85258 and a trained volunteer will chat via text
- Ringmer Good Neighbours – 07340 118758
- Ringmer Food Bank 01273 812145 - https://www.escis.org.uk/advice/support-and-advice-for-people-on-a-low-income/ringmer-food-bank/
- Ringmer Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/ringmercovid19mutualaid
- Lewes House of Friendship - http://houseoffriendship.org.uk/
- Trinity Church – Rev Jules Middleton firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sussex Mental Health 0300 5000 101 Mon – Friday 5pm – 9am and 24 hours at weekends - https://www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk/sussex-mental-healthline
- The Samaritans 08457 909090 24 hour helpline - https://www.samaritans.org/
- Health in Mind 03000 030 130 - https://www.healthinmind.org.uk/
- Staying Well Space 7 nights per week for adults aged 16+ 07384467593 - https://www.southdown.org/how-we-help/mental-health-recovery/staying-well-space-east-sussex-community-network
- Gill Blackwood
Tel: 01273 407310 or (07968) 715105 - https://www.ruralsussex.org.uk/