> High temperature - this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
> New, continuous Cough - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
> Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste - this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
If you have one or more of these symptoms please seek advice from NHS 111 Online.
For further guidance relating to Coronavirus (Covid-19) please visit NHS.UK.
What you need to do
> Social Distancing - we urge you to continue to adhere to the government’s guidance of keeping 2metres from those outside of your household.
> Self Isolate - You should remain at home if you have any of the above symptoms, are waiting for a Coronavirus test result, you’ve tested positive for Coronavirus, or if you live with someone who has symptoms, is waiting for a test result or has tested positive.
> Shielding - Vulnerable patients have been informed that they must stay at home to avoid catching Coronavirus.
Government guidelines are changing rapidly. Please check Gov.uk for further updates.
Returning to work following the lockdown measures
We realise that many patients will have concerns over the potential risks of returning to work. Should you have any health concerns regarding Coronavirus risks we advise that you discuss your options with your employer.
Further guidance for employees and employers can be found here.
How we are managing the pandemic
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.
Our four sites have been repurposed to accommodate the need to contain the Coronavirus, reduce the risks to patients and staff, and allow us to continue to provide a service to our community. Although our doors have been closed to drop in visits we are still offering a number of pre-booked appointments.
River Lodge - ‘Hot Site’- GP assessment site for patients with Coronavirus symptoms. Patient will have booked in by NHS 111 to attend the large unclosed marquee. This offers privacy to patients travelling on foot or by car to be assessed by a GP in full PPE.
School Hill - ‘Cold Site’ - Offering some pre-booked appointments with Nurses, HCA’s and GPs from all our merged surgeries. A new video intercom has been installed at the back entrance to the surgery for patients to inform Reception of their arrival, a marquee has been erect for patients to wait under in bad weather.
Anchor Field - ‘Cold Site’ - Again a marque has been introduced to offer further appointments. Although we have called this a ‘Drive thru’, as patients can be seen in their car, it is accessible to those travelling on foot.
St Andrew’s - ‘Cold Site’ – This site has predominantly been closed since the start of the pandemic. This was to offer our vulnerable staff a safe place to work. As Government and NHS guidelines have developed we are now able to offer some limited pre-booked nurse appointments. We are looking to offer more appointments here very soon.
If you are asked to attend the surgery for a pre-booked appointment
> We are asking all Patients to wear a form of face covering. This can be a scarf or equivalent should you not have access to a facemask.
> All patients will be temperature checked by a member of the clinical team prior to entry to any of our buildings.
Further information and helpful links
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 (0808 808 4994, 11am-11pm) 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
Health in Mind
Every Mind Matters
NHS self help #anxiety
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
Local Support and Community Groups
There are many community projects being created to link with vulnerable lonely or at risk groups.
> Lewes Coronavirus Volunteer Group - Louise 07742 211075 or Robert 07853 946524
> The Silver Line - helpline for older people 24 hours - 0800 4708 090
> Text SHOUT to 85258 and a trained volunteer will chat via text
> Ringmer Good Neighbours - 07340 118758
> Ringmer Food Bank - 01273 812145
> Ringmer Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group
> Lewes House of Friendship
> Trinity Church – Rev Jules Middleton firstname.lastname@example.org
> Sussex Mental Health - 0300 5000 101 Mon-Fri, 5pm-9am, 24 hours at weekends
> The Samaritans - 08457 909090 24 hour helpline
> Health in Mind - 0300 0030 130
> Staying Well Space - 7 nights per week for adults aged 16+ - 07384 467593
> Rural Sussex - Gill Blackwood - Village Agent - 01273 407310 or 07968 715105