Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, how you contact your GP surgery will be different at the moment. This is to limit face to face contact where possible and help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Face to face appointments are available to all patients, but you may be asked to discuss your conditions over the phone or online first to assess what would be most appropriate for you.
In addition to face to face consultations, many GP practice are offering consultations online or over the phone. This can be a convenient and flexible way to receive healthcare but if you would prefer to see a GP or healthcare professional in person then this will arranged for you.
Important information to keep you safe while isolating at home
Ways to see healthcare during Coronavirus:
- Call Handbridge Medical Centre on 01244 680169 to arrange a telephone or video contsultation appointment.
- Submit an econsult (a confidential online form) to receive a response from a clinican by the end of the next working day.
- Call NHS 111 or go to NHS 111 online
- Download the NHS app to order repeat prescriptions and check your symptoms.
Please note the latest advise surrounding Coronavirus is constantly under review and as such may change/differ to advise given on the practices website, for the most accurate and up to date information we recommend you check Gov.UK
For information on what to do if you have symptoms scroll to '01. What to do if you have symptoms.'
For information on what all patients and members of the public should be doing scroll to '02. What to do; everyone.'
For information on how to correspond with us whilst the doors are locked scroll to '03. What to do whilst the surgery soors are locked.'
For information to help with anxiety surrounding the Coronavirus scroll to '04. Managing Anxiety surrounding Coronavirus'
For local support and services available scroll to '05. Local Support and Services'
For Domestic Violence/Abuse support scroll to '06. Domestic Violence & Abuse Support'
For advice for Parents with unwell children scroll to '07. Advice for Parents with unwell Children'
For advice on the COVID-19 Vaccine scroll to '08 - COVID-19 Vaccinations'
01.What to do if you have symptoms:
Stay at home for 10 days if you have either:
- a high temperature
- a new continuous cough
- sore throat
- wheezing or sneezing
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
You can organise a test online at https://www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-Coronavirus-test
Read the stay at home guidance for people with confirmed or possible Coronavirus/covid19 infection.
You do not need a GP Note if you are self isolating, simply check go through the NHS 111 isolation note service.
ONLY call NHS 111 if:
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
Use the 111 Coronavirus service
02.What to do; everyone:
Follow the above advice if you have symptoms and have travelled recently if you have not the general advise for everyone is:
Like the common cold, Coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel Coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also be infected by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.
Testing of suspected Coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict regulations. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of the hospital and returned home also in isolation. Any equipment that come into contact with suspected cases are thoroughly cleaned as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others.
Patients can be reassured that their safety is a top priority, and are encouraged to attend all appointments as usual unless the hospital contacts you to tell you otherwise.
- Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
Further information is available on gov.uk/Coronavirus and nhs.uk.
Please also check the Coronavirus Preparation List attachment below to ensure should you need to self isolate, you are as prepared as possible to do so:
Coronavirus Preparation Sheet
03. How to access other GP services (prescriptions/sick notes) etc?
Repeat Prescription Requests
- Repeat prescriptions are still being processed as usual, however we ask patients requesting to please ensure we have a nominated pharmacy to send the prescription to.
- We will not take a prescription request over the phone.
- Prescription request forms are available outside the surgery door and can be posted in the black box beside the door.
- You can still request online via Patient Access if you are registered for this service.
- If you are not already register please use the NHS app instead, the app allows you to verify your ID within the app itself. (Patient Access requires you to have presented ID at the practice and in attempt to decrease the footfall of people coming to the practice, we request patients not to do this at this time.)
- You can still request via your local pharmacy.
- You can still request via emailing us, ensure we have your name, DOB, items needed and a pharmacy we can send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Collecting Repeat Prescription Requests
Wherever possible patients will be asked to nominate a pharmacy we can send electronic prescriptions direct to pharmacies.
If you do not have a nominated pharmacy and the prescription has already been issued, you can collect from the surgery from our 'Prescription Collection' window by the surgery front door; please press the intercom if there is no one at the window.
Sick note requests
You do not need a GP Note for the first 7 days off work, you simply need to fill in a self-certification note and give this into your employer. Self certification notes are available from gov.uk.
If you have been off longer for 7 days with Coronavirus symptoms; NHS 111 can supply you with a note: NHS 111 isolation note service.
If you have been off longer for 7 days with other symptoms call the surgery on 01244 680169 if you already have a note, we can put in a request for extension, or if not you may need to speak to a GP to get a note, reception can facilitate this on the phone if needed.
Collecting Sick notes
If you have symptoms of Coronavirus you should be self isolating and send someone who has not been in close contact with you to collect the note for you and post it through your door.
Sick notes are available to be collected from our 'Prescription Collection' window by the surgery front door; please press the doorbell if there is no one at the window.
Holiday Cancellation Forms
We understand that some people wish to cancel their planned trips due to the risk of contracting Coronavirus and/or because of the impact of the virus on the area concerned.
Please click here (for advice from the Foreign Office regarding travelling to specific areas of the world.) Depending on your specific travel insurance policy, most insurance companies will cover cancelled trips to countries to which the Foreign Office advise not to travel. No certificate from your GP is required.
In addition, please be advised that the surgery is unable to provide letters or certificates to travel insurance companies supporting requests for refunds by patients who, without any significant medical illness, cancel their travel plans.
If you do cancel a holiday and need to claim on travel insurance, the insurance company will usually send you a form. If this requires a doctor’s report/opinion, please direct this to our Secretary Julie Davies who will ensure that the correct processes are followed including consents and any fee payable.
Mask/Face Covering Exemption Certificates
These cannot be provided by a GP, people who cannot wear masks for medical reasons can obtain documention reflecting this on Gov.UK
For any other queries that are not answered here, please call the reception team on 01244 680169. Do not come into the surgery as the door is opened by appointment only and you will not be able to walk in with general enquires.
04. Managing Anxiety surrounding Coronavirus
If you're struggling with Anxiety/any Mental Health issues during social isolation; you can contact the new 24 hour mental health emergency number: 0300 303 3972
Please also see the wonderful links and advise compiled by our Wellbeing Co-Ordinator; Philippa.
The NHS will follow clinical guidance for who will be vaccinated first. Although there has been a recent and encouraging announcement about the use of a vaccine recently, there is currently no timeline for the roll-out of a vaccine within GP practices.
In the meantime, we are encouraging people to have their flu vaccination as soon as possible in preparation for this winter. By protecting yourself against the flu virus, you will be also protecting family and friends.
Please click here for information on the priority groups to receive COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available, advising that vaccines should first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people aged over 80 and health and social workers, before being rolled out to the rest of the population in order of age and risk.