Primary care FAQ's

To support patients, we have produced some FAQ's regarding changes to the way primary care services are accessed during the coronavirus pandemic. 

GPSERVICES

Is my GP practice still open?

Yes, you can still contact your registered GP practice on the usual phone number. However, when contacting them, you will undergo an assessment (called triaging) of your needs to determine whether you may or may not have Covid-19 symptoms. Wherever safe and appropriate to do so a member of your practice clinical team will undertake your consultation via telephone or through a video consultation.

If after the initial assessment, your doctor or other clinician feels that you require a face-to-face consultation then this will be arrange to take place.

So that the risk of infection to staff and other patients is minimised and to help slow the spread of the virus, all patients with Covid-19 symptoms who require a face-to-face appointment will be required to attend a specific GP practice in your local area. This may not be your registered practice.

This might mean that your usual GP practice building is closed temporarily, but you will still be able to access GP services as detailed above. If you have an appointment with another service which is usually provided from this building (eg ante-natal clinic) your practice will contact you separately to advise where this appointment will take place).

 

Will I still be able to see my named GP?

To minimise the risk of infection to patients and staff, practices have changed how they work, which includes working with other local GP practices to make the best use of combined facilities and staff. Practices are now working together in groups across their local areas (we call these primary care networks). Within these groups, GPs have set up shared home visiting services and will be running essential face-to-face services from certain sites. This might mean that your usual GP practice building is closed temporarily, but you will still be able to access GP services. If you have an appointment with another service which is usually provided from this building (eg ante-natal clinic) your practice will contact you separately to advise where this appointment will take place).

Can I still access other services from my surgery?

To minimise the risk of infection to patients and staff, practices have changed how they work, which includes working with other local GP practices to make the best use of combined facilities and staff. Practices are now working together in groups across their local areas (we call these primary care networks). This might mean that your usual GP practice building is closed temporarily, but you will still be able to access services from another building.

If you have an appointment with another service which is usually provided from this building your practice will contact you separately to advise where this appointment will take place. Services still running as usual include ante-natal clinics, all vaccination programmes for example child and baby immunisations, and hormone injections for patients with prostate cancer. If you are unsure of what arrangements are in place, contact the service directly.

Before you attend your appointment, you will be assessed to see if you have any symptoms of covid-19. The helps keep yourself, other patients and practice staff safe.

Will my loved one in a care home still be able to receive care?

Primary care is continuing to provide care home ward rounds and other commissioned services, where it is safe to do so. This will mean that services will look a little different for example virtual/skype ward rounds.

Will my blood work still take place at my surgery?

Practices are now only undertaking essential bloods in primary care for example drug monitoring – immunosuppressant, DMARDs etc., and chemotherapy, drug safety monitoring – e.g. DOACs, valproate and Warfarin checks. To minimise the risk of infection to patients and staff, practices have changed how they work, which includes working with other local GP practices to make the best use of combined facilities and staff. Practices are now working together in groups across their local areas (we call these primary care networks). This might mean that your usual GP practice building is closed temporarily, but you will still be able to access services from another building.

My loved one is in hospital; where will they be discharged to?

Services are working hard to support patients to be discharged from hospital, most people will be discharged straight to their own home, with care where appropriate. For a small number of people this will not be possible, and they may be discharged to a bed based service such as a residential or nursing home. Where appropriate an assessment for longer-term care and support needs will take place at the right time for each person’s needs.

Medication

Can I still get my regular medication as normal?

Yes, however if you are self-isolating or have been advised that you are at high risk should you be infected by COVID-19 you should not go to the pharmacy yourself. You should ask someone to collect the medication on your behalf and post this through your door, or leave it outside your door for you to pick up once they have gone.

If you do not have anyone that can collect this on your behalf then contact your pharmacy to ask whether they can deliver your medication direct to your door.

Repeat prescriptions       

If you have a repeat prescription please only order what you need when you need it. This is to help make sure everyone can continue to get the medication they need.

There is currently no shortage of medicines and we need to keep it this way. Only ordering what you need for you or your loved one will reduce waste and help us prevent the unnecessary stockpiling of medicines.

I have a respiratory condition; do I need a rescue pack?

We are aware of inaccurate information circulating on social media regarding special ‘rescue pack’  for people with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Only people who normally have a ‘rescue pack’ need one. These are only for bacterial infections and not viruses which Covid-19 is.

Please do not contact your or your loved ones GP practice for a rescue pack if it is not necessary. Dealing with these inappropriate non-urgent requests actually detracts GPs away from helping those most in need at this very challenging time for the NHS.

You should continue to manage your condition in the usual way and if you feel you have symptoms of Covid-19, go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ before doing anything else.

I am a coeliac, will I be able to get gluten free bread and pasta on prescription whilst there is a pandemic?

There are no plans to change the current guidance on prescribing of gluten free products.

Whilst there may be a shortage of some gluten free products in supermarkets at times, as with other products, it is recognised that many coeliac patients can alter their diet to replace bread and pasta with naturally gluten-free foods e.g. rice, potato. If any person is struggling to maintain a gluten free diet during this period they are asked to seek dietary advice from their GP or dietician.

Will I be able to get paracetamol on prescription whilst there is a pandemic?

If you were entitled to obtain paracetamol on prescription prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, you will continue to be able to access this (if your medical condition remains the same).

The current CCG prescribing guidance relating to the prescribing of paracetamol for short term use will not be changing as a result of the current pandemic.

Will I be able to get Calpol on prescription whilst there is a pandemic?

The current CCG prescribing guidance relating to the prescribing of paracetamol-based products eg. Calpol, for short term use will not be changing as a result of the current pandemic.

The Pharmacy First Scheme (also known as the Minor Ailment scheme) will still be running as normal for those who qualify for free medications under the scheme.

How can my pharmacy help me during the pandemic?

If you do not have anyone that can collect this on your behalf then contact your pharmacy to ask whether they can deliver your medication direct to your door.

The Pharmacy First Scheme (also known as the Minor Ailment scheme) will still be running as normal for those who qualify for free medications under the scheme. Please see your local pharmacy as your first port of call for dealing with any queries you may have on managing minor ailments at home.

By ensuring you have nominated a local pharmacy so that prescription requests can be automatically transferred electronically from your GP surgery to the pharmacy of their preference.

tices are now working together in groups across their local areas (we call these primary care networks). This might mean that your usual GP practice building is closed temporarily, but you will still be able to access services from another building.