***Update from Welsh Government on 31 March 2020***
All those identified as being at a very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (due to a serious underlying health issue) will receive a letter from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales by no later than the end of this week.
The letter advises people to stay at home for 12 weeks and contains a range of further information and advice, including how those who have no-one else who can support them can get medication and other essential items such as food.
In addition we have published information on our website on support for extremely vulnerable people: https://gov.wales/get-coronavirus-support-extremely-vulnerable-person
To ensure all high risk patients are contacted, GPs are being provided with a list of those who’ve been sent letters to check against their known patients. They will contact any additional high risk patients not identified to provide the advice outlined by the Chief Medical Officer.
Those who are waiting for letters should not contact their GP surgery before the end of this week.
There is a broader group of vulnerable people who have not been written to but have been previously been advised through published guidance ( https://gov.wales/coronavirus-social-distancing-guidance ) to rigorously follow the social distancing advice in order to help reduce the risk of catching coronavirus. People in Wales are not being asked to register as vulnerable but if you are vulnerable you should ask family, friends and neighbours to support you and use online services.
If this is not possible, then the public sector, business, charities, and the general public are gearing up to help. If you receive support from health and social care organisations, for example if you have care provided for you through the local authority or health care system, this will continue.
The full range of guidance on coronavirus can be found on the Welsh Government website: https://gov.wales/coronavirus
***IMPORTANT PATIENT NOTICE! Please read full article!***
Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update: 18/03/20
Following previous updates, and the most recent UK government advice, we will now be escalating our plans to help mitigate the risks of Coronavirus to both our patients and staff.
Our waiting rooms are high risk places to pick up infection, and so in the current climate we want to minimise risks for everybody by utilising phonecalls and e-consult in order to reduce the number of people who need to come to our surgeries, thereby hopefully protecting us all.
For advice directly related to coronavirus, please ring 111, and be aware they are very busy so it may take some time for them to answer. There is also an online 111 service you can use for advice - https://111.nhs.uk/service/COVID-19/
For other patients who are acutely unwell and feel they will need emergency assessment, you will need to either complete an e-consult via our website, or ring the surgery where we will arrange for a GP/nurse to call you for triage of your problem. Please do not attend the surgery without being invited, as government advice has now changed to state that those with any flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat) should self-isolate for at least 7 days or until further advice.
From Monday 16th March, all routine (pre-booked) appointments (with GPs or nurses) will automatically be converted to telephone reviews, and if we feel a face to face review is then essential we will then invite you down to surgery, but anticipate for most patients telephone review will suffice at this time. The only exception will be blood tests which will be done as booked, but we will review this into the upcoming days, and assess which bloods are required into the future. You will likely be called before the time you were originally booked in, though we cannot guarantee this.
PLEASE DO NOT TURN UP TO SURGERY FOR ANY PRE-BOOKED APPOINTMENTS AS YOU MAY NOT BE SEEN. PLEASE AWAIT A TELEPHONE TRIAGE REVIEW. PLEASE RING / EMAIL IF YOU THINK YOU MAY NEED TO UPDATE YOUR PHONE NUMBER.
We hope that the right measures will allow us to offer sufficient and necessary service to patients going forward. There will be no pre-bookable appointments available until further notice, unless made by a GP or nurse; appointments will only be given via telephone triage or e-consult. This is to ensure that patients are seen appropriately after clinical assessment, and when it is truly needed, thereby minimising unnecessary risks to both patients and staff.
We would encourage everyone who feels they need clinical advice or review, to use our e-consult service as we can nearly always respond on the same day, and can then offer appointments when necessary. However in most cases, we can deal with your issue without you needing to come down to surgery; many upper respiratory tract infections (coughs, colds etc) can be managed at home with self-medication available from your chemist. E-consult can be found easily as a pop-up banner on our website homepage.
We intend any changes we make to be proportionate and in line with other local practices. We will continue to monitor developments daily over the coming weeks and shall endeavour to keep you posted. However, we all need to be mindful this is becoming a serious public health concern with significant disruption in all walks of life; but we believe the health of our patients and staff to be our first priority, so hope you can bear with us as we do our best in this difficult situation.
***DO NOT ATTEND SURGERY FOR ANY PRE-BOOKED APPOINTMENTS***
***Use our online services.***
***Care Navigation Initiative - click on link to watch a short video about it: https://youtu.be/buN7buUkcxE
***Fantastic News! We are proud to be a parkrun practice
We are delighted to announce that we are now a parkrun practice. This will help us improve the health and wellbeing of practice staff and patients. Despite the name Parkrun, they absolutely welcome walkers - if you want to walk a bit, or walk the whole lot - that is fine. Parkrun is open to all abilities. They also need help each week with volunteers and course marshals, without which Parkrun would not be able to go ahead.
GP practices are being encouraged to link with local parkruns to become a certified parkrun practice. This is a ground-breaking initiative with The Royal College of General Practitioners and parkrun UK to see physical activity prescribed to patients instead of medication. Click on the Parkrun logo above for more information on the Pontypridd Parkrun.