COVID-19

COVID – 19 VACCINATION UPDATE : 

Practices in the local Primary Care Network are working together to provide Covid-19 vaccinations at designated sites in Hexham and Ponteland.

Haltwhistle patients will be asked to attend the Hexham site, together with patients from the practices at Hexham, Corbridge, Bellingham, Humshaugh/Wark and Haydon Bridge/Allendale.

We have now invited all of our patients in priority groups 1-4 (patients 70 and over, front line health and social care staff and patients who are clinically extremely vulnerable). Patients are selected for groups by NHS England NOT Haltwhistle Medical Group.

All practices within our Network using the Hexham Primary Care centre are working to the same NHS England guidelines and HAD started to vaccinate patients in Priority group 5 (patients 65-69). After starting to invite and vaccinate patients from group 5, in date of birth order, oldest first, the government guidelines changed, and we were told to invite cohort 6 (patients aged 16-64 who have an underlying health condition and some carers) in before cohort 5. This is NOT our decision; NHS England have made this move and we must comply. Patients have been selected for this group by NHS England NOT Haltwhistle Medical Group.

Alternatively patients in Cohort 5, those aged 65 to 69 years old, have been invited via a letter from NHS England to book vaccinations at alternative venues, usually the Centre for Life in Newcastle. This is the reason you may have become aware of patients younger than yourself being offered vaccinations at the Hexham Primary Care Centre and you have been offered one elsewhere

 

We are aware that there have been some technical problems for patients when booking these appointments. This HAS been reported as a matter of urgency and ask that you DO NOT contact the surgery regarding this.

 

We would recommend you book your appointment at an alternative venue if you are able to as you will get your vaccination sooner than we will be able to offer at Hexham

 

If you are in priority group 5 and are happy to wait until you can have your vaccination at Hexham, please DON'T call us to let us know. We are aware of your vaccination status, vaccinations given elsewhere are downloaded into your medical record. Those patients who don’t manage to book their appointment elsewhere will be contacted to book an appointment at Hexham once the vaccine is available.

Because vaccines are received at short notice, it is very helpful if we have a mobile telephone number for you. We will send you a link so you can book your own appointment at Hexham. We will contact you on your landline if we don’t have your mobile phone details.

Patients enquiring if there will be a choice of vaccine, we have no information of the vaccinations available on the day. Choice is not an option for anyone unless there are medical reasons why a patient needs a specific vaccine. The Primary Care Centre deliveries vary and they get the vaccine they are given and so the same applies to patients. If a vaccination is offered and turned down because of preference, neither the NHS nor the Practice will have the capacity to invite you in again. We are trying not to waste a single dose.

 

We appreciate that this is a worrying time for everyone, we are all working very hard not only to make sure that patients are vaccinated as soon as possible but also caring for patients and all other general practice workload. The practice has not set the criteria for the vaccination programme, we are responding as quickly as we can (often at very short notice) to instructions from NHS England

Don’t call us, we will text or call you to book your COVID vaccination when we are able to do so.

Our staff are currently working under a lot of pressure organising vaccine appointments and working at the vaccination hub in addition to all of the GP practice workload. Many thanks to patients who have given us positive feedback and thanks for the work we are undertaking. Please can we ask for staff to be treat with respect at all time. We appreciate your support and understanding.



Sheilding

Week commencing 15.02.2021 another 1.7 million patients have been added to the shielding patient list. we have been made aware a number of our patients are included within the new list and have been contacted centrally to inform them of this. This group of patients will be invited for a COVID vaccine very soon.

Further patient information and guidance available on the below websites :

https://digital.nhs.uk/coronavirus/risk-assessment/population

 

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/people-at-higher-risk/

 


 

Recovering from COVID

Recovering from COVID-19 can have a physical and mental impact on a person, it has been recognised that some people who have suffered from COVID-19 can take longer to recover than others but there are steps that can be taken to help this process.

https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/ is a website available to help you or someone you know to better understand what has happened and what might expected as part of the recovery process.


Vaccination News:

Covid Vacc

At the beginning of December we had the wonderful news that the first vaccination against covid-19 had been approved for use in the UK and they began the first phase of the programme on the 8th December 2020.

 

We have been receiving calls from patients asking for more details but at the present time we have no further information about the timing of any vaccine deliveries locally or when different groups of patients will be vaccinated.

 

Patients are advised that they will receive a letter or be contacted in due course once it's time to arrange their vaccination. The letter will include all the information you will need to book an appointment. We believe that a temporary vaccination centre will be erected in a Hexham site soon or you may be asked to go to a different surgery to the one you usually attend to get your vaccine. Your appointment will only take around ten minutes and you will need to stay at the surgery for 15 minutes after you receive the vaccination.

 

Please do not attend or call the surgery about the vaccine or to get an appointment until you receive your vaccination invitation letter so phone-lines are open and clear for patients who need medical attention. Your support is appreciated.

 

Find out more about the roll out at : nhs.uk/covidvaccine

 

For up to date national restrictions please follow the link https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know to find out about the new guidelines and what you can and cannot do

The link below provides useful information on the vaccine or see below the printable version of the Covid Vaccination – adults guide.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-guide-for-older-adults/covid-19-vaccination-guide-for-older-adults

 Covid Vaccination - Guide For Adults

Remember ‘Hands. Face. Space.’:

• Hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds

• Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet

• Space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)

 

 


 

Covid-19 Vaccine FAQs

 

Q: How do vaccines work?

A: Vaccines greatly reduce the risk of infection by training the immune system to recognise and fight pathogens such as viruses or bacteria.

 

Q: Why do I need a Covid-19 vaccination?

A: The pandemic has cost the lives of 1.5 million people so far and has infected 65 million. While vaccination is not compulsory, vaccination is the best way of beating this virus and getting back to normality. The vaccines that are being developed and approved by MHRA are safe and fully recommended.

 

Q: How is the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine delivered?

A: It is given as an intramuscular injection into the arm (like the flu jab)

 

Q: Why are two doses needed?

A: The first dose primes the immune system to the virus and the second dose makes the immune response stronger. You will need to have both doses to be fully protected against Covid-19. There are a number of other vaccines that require a second dose or boosters (such as Hepatitis B vaccine).

 

Q: How quickly after the second dose can I be considered protected?

A: You can be considered protected seven days after the second dose.

 

Q: Will I need another booster every year like flu vaccine?

A: We don’t know this yet and more work is being done to look into this and how long immunity lasts for.

 

Q: Will the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine provide lifelong protection against Covid-19?

A: We don’t know this yet but it is likely to give protection for many months if not years.

 

Q: Why do I need to have had the flu vaccine first?

A: Vaccination is the best way to protect you, your family and your patients from flu. There must be at least seven days between receiving a flu vaccine and the Covid-19 vaccine. It’s recommended you get your flu vaccine as soon as possible, so you can also be protected against Covid-19 as soon as you are offered that vaccine.

 

Q: Is the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine safe?

A: Yes. The UK Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved the vaccine on 2 December 2020. This agency has assessed all the data from clinical trials involving thousands of participants and has deemed the vaccine safe.

 

Q: What’s the process of testing a vaccine and how have Covid-19 vaccines been developed so quickly?

A: Any new medications including vaccines are rigorously tested and trailed before being licenced for use. This process often takes many years and has different phases. Due to the pandemic, finding a vaccine was the main focus of governments and the scientific community. This meant that funding and resources were rapidly available. All of the critical phases / stages that must be included in drug testing were carried out. They were scheduled in a different way to make the process as efficient as possible without compromising safety.

 

Q: Have the vaccines been tested on enough people?

A: Yes. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been tested on more than 44,000 people. To put this in context, of 13 common vaccines approved between 2000-2011, the average number of participants was 27,000 (range 2,700- 86,000) highlighting that the number of people it has been tested on is well within the expected number for a vaccine.

 

Q: How effective was the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine?

A: Pfizer/BioNTech evaluated 170 cases of Covid-19 in trial participants. Of these cases, 162 occurred in the placebo group and eight in the vaccine group. This means the vaccine is 95% effective.

 

Q: Is there anyone who can’t have the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine?

A: There are very few people who can’t have the vaccine. However, current guidance states that the following groups should not have the vaccine at present:

 

  • Individuals participating in a clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccines
  • Where an individual has a bleeding disorder AND their doctor recommends against IM or small dose injections on the balance of risk, which may include consideration of anticoagulation therapy status.
  • Pregnant women, unless an underlying condition makes the individual at very high risk from COVID-19 and exposure cannot be avoided
  • Breast-feeding mothers.
  • Any person with a history of a significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine or food (such as previous history of anaphylactoid reaction or those who have been advised to carry an adrenaline autoinjector).

 

Q: How long should I wait after the vaccine before planning a pregnancy?

A: It is advised that you should avoid pregnancy for two months after the second dose.

 

Q: What if I want to try for pregnancy before I’m vaccinated?

A: The advice for women is that you should not get vaccinated if you are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy within three months of the first dose.

 

Q: Will the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine affect my fertility?

A: There is no evidence that the vaccine has any impact on fertility.

 

Q: Will the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine stop me passing Covid-19 onto unvaccinated people?

A: We don’t know this information yet.

 

Q: Will I get a certificate to prove I’ve been vaccinated?

A: We are awaiting guidance from the government about certification.

 

Q: I’ve already had confirmed Covid-19 infection. Do I still need to be vaccinated?

A: Yes. It is still unclear how long immunity lasts so vaccination is still recommended. It should be deferred until clinical recovery and at least four weeks after onset of symptoms or four weeks from the first PCR positive test result in those who have no symptoms.

 

Q: What if I have asymptomatic Covid-19 infection at the time of vaccination?

A: Vaccination of individuals who may be infected or asymptomatic or incubating COVID-19 infection is unlikely to have a detrimental effect on the illness.

 

Q: Will I still need to wear PPE after being vaccinated?

A: Yes, you will still need to adhere to all infection, prevention and control practices which remain the safest way to avoid spreading the virus – remember hands, face, space.

 

Q: If I am part of the asymptomatic testing programme, will having the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine cause me to have a positive test (on either the PCR or lateral flow testing kits)?

A: No. Vaccination itself will not cause a positive Covid-19 test result.

 

Q: What are the side effects of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine?

A: The side effects which you could experience with the vaccine are similar to those seen with other vaccines and can include a mild fever for the first 48hrs after vaccination (please note isolation is not required unless Covid-19 suspected). Local reactions at the injection site are common and include pain, redness and swelling. Other potential side effects include fatigue (4%) and headache (2%). They will usually resolve after a few days and medication such as paracetamol can be used if needed.

Q: Might there be long term side effects of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine we don’t know about yet?

A: This is extremely unlikely. The way vaccines work mean that any side effects are usually experienced in the first few days and the data we have shows that is the case for this vaccine. The MHRA will be monitoring the situation closely.

 

                

   

Practice News

 

In line with new Government recommendations, it is a requirement for patients to wear a face covering when entering the surgery. If you do have an appointment we would be grateful if you could come with your face covering on – covering your nose, mouth and chin. This can be in the form of a mask, scarf or handkerchief of any sort of fabric. This is to help lower the risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19.

 

Unfortunately we are unable to supply face masks to anyone entering the premises due to lack of supply but they must be worn to enter the building.

 

A text message has been sent to all with a mobile number on their record.

If you have not received a text message but think you should have or would like to receive texts in the future please contact the surgery with your mobile number and we can update your record to allow for this. The text messaging service is a great way to get free, up to date information from the practice.

If you have not received a text message but think you should have or would like to receive texts in the future please contact the surgery with your mobile number and we can update your record to allow for this. The text messaging service is a great way to get free, up to date information from the practice. 

Appointments

All GP and Practice Nurse appointments will initially be by telephone - Please ensure we have your up to date telephone contact details.Please only attend the surgery if you have been given an appointment to attend - Please attend alone unless you require a parent/carer to be present, please wear a face covering at all times and observe the 2m social distancing rule.

 

Prescriptions

Unfortunately we are unable to supply face masks to anyone entering the premises due to lack of supply but they must be worn to enter the buildiIf you have a paper prescription request, please leave the requests in the external post box (black post box on the wall to the left hand side of the main entrance.) Alternatively you may call the surgery on 01434 320077 and select option 2 leaving your name, date of birth and items you require or order your prescription online. Please ensure you allow up to 4 working days for your request to be processed.

 

Cervical Smear Appointments

We are operating our cervical screening as normal, appointments are availalbe at the GP surgery and can b ebooked over the telephone on 01434 320077 or online. We also can access smear appointments at the Corbridge Hub on evenings and weekends if you find it difficult to attend during our core hours.If you have received your smear letter and haven't booked an appointment then we would encourage you to do so.

 

E-Consult

We have introduced a new way for patients to contact the practice using an online facility called E-Consult, this service will enable any patient to make direct contact with the practice through a series of questions and prompts simply by clicking the blue banner on the home screen of the website patient information, question or query will be sent direct to the practice via a secure email facility and the practice will respond by the end of the next working day.

 

NHS.UK INFORMATION SUPPORT LINKS

 

General NHS advice 

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

For expert information and advice on how COVID-19 impacts specific palliative or  long-term conditions and how to manage your condition during the pandemic.

 

Cancer

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/

HIV and AIDS

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hiv-and-aids/

Alzheimer’s disease

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alzheimers-disease/

Sickle cell disease

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sickle-cell-disease/

Chronic kidney disease

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/kidney-disease/

Cystic fibrosis

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cystic-fibrosis/

Motor neurone disease

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/motor-neurone-disease/

Depression

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/clinical-depression/

End of life care

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/end-of-life-care/

End of life care – Changes in the last hours and days

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/end-of-life-care/changes-in-the-last-hours-and-days/

 

 

Other Patient information links

 

Pituitary/ adrenal insufficiency (including steroid sick day rules)

https://www.endocrinology.org/news/item/14050/Coronavirus-advice-statement-for-patients-with-adrenal%2fpituitary-insufficiency

 

Underlying lung disease (British Lung Foundation)

https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/coronavirus

 

People with Asthma

https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/triggers/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

People with Diabetes

https://www.diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news/coronavirus

 

People affected by Stroke

https://www.stroke.org.uk/news/coronavirus-information-people-affected-stroke

 

Pregnant women

https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/

 

Children/young people T1 diabetes

https://jdrf.org.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-people-living-with-type-1-diabetes/

 

People with Heart/circulatory disease

https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/news/coronavirus-and-your-health

 

Older people

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/conditions-illnesses/coronavirus/# 

 

Young people with anxiety

https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/what-to-do-if-you-re-anxious-about-coronavirus/

 

Adults with anxiety

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/

 

People with Rheumatoid Arthritis

https://www.nras.org.uk/news/coronavirus-what-we-know-so-far

 

People with cancer

https://breastcancernow.org/about-us/media/statements/advice-coronavirus-people-cancer

 

People with inflammatory bowel disease

https://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/news/updated-wuhan-novel-coronavirus-advice

 

People with Parkinson’s disease

https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/news/understanding-coronavirus-and-parkinsons

 

People with Multiple Sclerosis

https://www.mssociety.org.uk/about-ms/treatments-and-therapies/disease-modifying-therapies/covid-19-coronavirus-and-ms

 

People with liver disease and liver transplant

https://britishlivertrust.org.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-health-advice-for-people-with-liver-disease-and-liver-transplant-patients/

 

People with kidney disease including dialysis

https://www.kidneycareuk.org/news-and-campaigns/coronavirus-advice/

 

People with epilepsy

https://www.epilepsysociety.org.uk/news/epilepsy-and-coronavirus-09-03-2020#.XnD_g8CnyEc

 

Mental Health and Abuse Support Services

 

  • Northumberland Domestic Abuse Services

Supporting anyone affected by domestic abuse in Northumberland

01434 608030 10am-4.30pm Monday to Friday

https://www.nda.services/

  • If U Care Share

Support for those affected by suicide

www.ifucareshare.co.uk Tel: 0191 387 5661

  • Grace Rape Crisis

Counselling service for victims of sexual abuse

gracenrc.org.uk Tel: 0800 035 2794

  • Tyneside and Northumberland Mind

Counselling for those affected by suicide or a traumatic death.

www.tynesidemind.org.uk Tel: 0191 477 4545

  • Talking Matters Northumberland

Psychological Therapies

www.tmnorthumbeland.org.uk Tel: 0300 3030 700

 

  • Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Children and young person’s primary mental health

www.northumbria.nhs.uk/ primary-mental-health Tel: 01661 864 588

  • ADAPT

Keeping People Connected Short-term support service for people who have learning disabilities and/or autism

adapt-ne.org.uk Tel: 01434 600 599

 

  • Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

24-hour access to mental health care, advice and support

www.cntw.nhs.uk/needhelpnow Tel: 0303 123 1146 (for all ages in need of an urgent response)

  • Cygnus

Mental health and wellbeing services Bereavement and generalised mental health counselling

www.cygnussupport.com Tel: 01670 853 977

  • BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service)

Pregnancy termination and counselling

www.bpas.org Tel: 03457 30 40 30

  • Barnardo’s

Services for children and young people:

  • Sexual abuse counselling
  • Bereavement counselling
  • Trailblazer group work

www.barnardos.org.uk Tel: 0191 212 0237

 

 FAQ’s

 

Is the GP Surgery still open ?

 

Yes, we remain open.  BUT we ask that you DO NOT attend the surgery unless you have been advised to do so by a member of our team.  Appointments are being done via telephone and when helpful GPs and Practice Nurses can use video consulting. When you request a GP or Practice Nurse telephone appointment, we cannot specify which doctor or nurse will ring you or give an exact time due to workload demands but will specify which day the call will take place.  Please help us by ensuring we have your up-to-date telephone number and keep your phone to hand to take the call. Please bear with us if the phones are busy or there are delays in returning your calls.

 

Should I come to the Surgery ?

 

Please do not arrive unannounced as you will not be seen.  While most people with COVID-19 will have symptoms such as new persistent cough or a fever, some people will have no symptoms at all but will be spreading the virus. We are trying to ensure our team can stay healthy so we can help our patients.  We also do not want to inadvertently pass on the virus to our patients.  So we have to weigh the risks to you and us of face to face consultations, versus the risk of you not being seen face to face.  The fewer patients we see, the less chance there is of the virus being passed on. However, there are some patients who have to be seen for regular blood tests and immunisations, the Doctor or Nurse will assess the need for this. 

 

What about ordering medication ?

 

We are processing medication requests as normal.  All of the pharmacies are experiencing very high workloads and are asking for longer to have your medication ready for collection/delivery.   Please note paper prescriptions requests usually handed in at the surgery should be left in the letter box on the outside of the building. If you would like to order your prescription over the telephone, call 01434 320077, select option 2 and leave your request on the messaging facility. 

 

How can patients help ?

 

Currently the best and most important thing you can do is STAY AT ALERT, STAY SAFE. If you do have to attend the surgery, for example for an appointment such as a blood test, please keep your visit brief, use the hand sanitiser provided in the waiting room and stay 2 meters apart from other patients and staff where possible.   Even if you have a booked appointment do not attend if you have symptoms of COVID-19.  Please help us to stay healthy so we can help others.

 

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