**FACE COVERINGS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING INSIDE OUR SURGERIES FROM 19th JULY 2021**
The Barnard Medical Group is committed to keeping our surgeries a safe environment for our patients and staff. We therefore ask that after the 19th July 2021 (19.07.2021), patients continue to wear a face covering and socially distance when entering our surgeries in accordance with the latest NHS England guidelines. Thank you for your support and co-operation.
**COVID vaccine status**
The Government has announced that from 17 May, people can demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccine status for travelling purposes, by accessing the NHS app, or by calling 119.
People are also strongly advised not to contact their GP to prove their vaccine status. GPs cannot provide letters showing your COVID-19 vaccination status.
We are unable to issue this certificate at the practice.
Please see the Gov.uk website for further information.
Proof of your vaccination status will be available on the NHS app, which is also valuable for accessing your health records and ordering repeat prescriptions.
For more information on the NHS app please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/online-services/nhs-app/nhs-app-help-and-support/getting-started-with-the-nhs-app/
Alternatively, you can call the NHS helpline on 119 (from 17 May) and ask for a letter to be posted to you. This must be at least five days after you’ve completed your course of the vaccine, the letter may take up to five days to reach you.
Our reception team are dealing with high volumes of calls regarding the Covid19 vaccination. Our telephone lines are very busy at the moment and calling the surgery about your Covid19 vaccination could prevent a patient who needs our help from getting through. We will contact you when it is the right time for you to book your appointment either by a phone call or by text message.
We know lots of people will be eager to get protected but we are asking people NOT to contact us to get an appointment as you will not be able to book for one until we are calling your vaccination group. Vaccinations are being delivered according to priority groups identified by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), so we are asking everyone to please be patient.
More information can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-why-you-are-being-asked-to-wait/why-you-have-to-wait-for-your-covid-19-vaccine
As per NHS Guidance Entry to the buildings at both our sites is now limited - THE SURGERY DOORS ARE NOW CLOSED please use the intercom/door bell to speak with staff. Repeat prescriptions will be handed out using our letter boxes. Only attend the practice if you have been asked to by a member of our team.
All patients and visitors to NHS services must wear a face covering at all times. This includes hospitals, community clinics and GP services. Evidence has confirmed that face coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission if you are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.
The Government has set out advice for people on how to make their own face coverings easily at home, using scares or other textile items. These face coverings should cover the mouth and nose, whilst allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably and can be as simple as a scarf or bandanna that ties behind the head to give a snug fit.
Please wash your hands or use the hand sanitiser before putting on a face covering and after taking it off. Please avoid touching your face covering whilst wearing it to avoid transmission of the virus.
If you attend an appointment without a face covering, you will be provided with a face mask in an emergency.
Face mask exemption in shops and on public transport
Please note that Barnard Medical Group will NOT be issuing people with medical certificates or doctor’s notes to confirm they are exempt for wearing a facemask or covering, but you can instead self-certify as per government advice.
For more information visit:
**Notice for Patients regarding face-to-face appointments**
We know there has been a lot of discussion in the news this week about GPs providing face-to-face appointments. We wanted to explain some of the reasons why we have been offering a reduced number of face-to-face appointment s. We also wanted to reassure our patients that NHS Digital have confirmed that in July over 50% of the 22.8 million appointments carried out were conducted face-to-face.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have remained open to patients. We have offered appointments using new ways of working and new technology. We have worked hard to make sure that we remained available to speak to, and to offer appointment s to anyone who needed them.
**COVID-19 testing and 111**
NHS 111 no longer arranges COVID–19 testing for patients.
‘111’ is to make it easier and quicker for patients to get the right advice and treatment they need, and remains the contact point for patients seeking advice or treatment should they need it during the GP out of hours period.
If you require a COVID-19 test, please call 119 or visit the portal
DO NOT book a GP appointment, visit your pharmacy or go to the hospital if you think you might have coronavirus. To protect yourself and others - Stay at home and avoid close contact with other people.
**Germ Defence website**
We are letting you know about a very useful website called Germ Defence which was created by a team of doctors and scientists to give you advice that has been proven to reduce the spread of viruses in the home. It can help you plan how to protect yourself and members of your family from infection by COVID-19 and ‘flu.
It’s easy to use and only takes 10 minutes - just click on this link: www.germdefence.org/index.html?src=G83004
Please pass details of the Germ Defence website to your friends and family.
There’s a button at the bottom of the Germ Defence website for sharing by social media.
**Covid-19 Bexley Council helpline**
The Bexley Council run a contact service that passes requests on to the voluntary sector on 020 3045 5398 for social support. They can help with:
Check in and Chat Support: Provides short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness as a consequence of self-isolation.
Community Support: Provides collection of shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating, and delivering these supplies to their home.
Patient Transport Support: Provides transport to take patients home who are medically fit for discharge.
NHS Transport Support: Provides transport for equipment, supplies and/or medication between NHS services and sites. Also involves assisting pharmacies with medication delivery
**Covid-19 extremely vulnerable patients**
NHS England has sent out letters to those that they have identified by specific criteria as extremely vulnerable. If you have not received this letter and think you are extremely vulnerable then please review the list and take advice from [ or call 0800 0288 327]:
Link for extremely vulnerable registration is:
**Covid-19 medication requests if isolated abroad**
Please be aware NHS prescriptions are not valid abroad and you will need to engage with the foreign health services [ fees may be applicable].
**Covid-19 Appointment Updates**
Due to the current extenuating circumstances with Covid-19 please DO NOT come into the surgery unless you have been asked to attend a Booked appointment by a member of our team. This is to limit the Virus’ ability to spread.
GP Appointment bookings for the coming weeks will now be being booked as telephone consultations – please call our reception teams to book these as we have temporarily suspended our online booking service. Alternatively you can complete an eConsult - clink on the "GET STARTED" button below
**Covid-19 Medical Certificates/Sick Notes**
Please note following London-wide LMCs advice we will not be providing Medical Certificates or 'Fit Notes' regarding absence from the workplace related to Covid-19. If your employer requests a medical certificate please download this letter and give it to your employer.
You can also get an isolation note at https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/
**COVID-19 and Rescue Packs for patients with Respiratory Diseases**
We are aware of misinformation circulating on social media platforms regarding the issuing of ‘Rescue Packs’ for patients with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as Asthma and COPD.
Prior to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak we had a very small number of patients with COPD (Not Asthma) that were eligible for a rescue pack of antibiotics and steroids. These patients had been appropriately assessed and counselled by healthcare professionals.
If anyone has potential Coronavirus, if they are unwell enough to require antibiotics they will need to be assessed appropriately (online, on the phone and if required face to face). For this reason it is NOT SAFE for us to issue new patients with medication ‘Just in case’ you fall ill. Therefore, we will NOT be issuing any rescue packs to new patients during this time.
Inappropriate requests are slowing our staffs’ response to our patients who need us most in this time of increased pressure on the NHS.
**Repeat Prescriptions during COVID-19**
To avoid leaving the house unnecessarily to order your repeat prescriptions:
- You can get your chemist/pharmacy to order you requests for you
- Order online using your patient Access Account
If you need to drop your request into surgery in writing please use our letter boxes as the doors are now closed the surgery buildings. This is to protect us all.
**Death Certificates during COVID-19**
The current Covid-19 situation is altering the way that we work at the moment and suitable temporary measures are being put in place to allow us to email death certificates to the Registrar of births, death and marriages after which we will post the original document to the Register office.
DO NOT book a GP appointment, visit your pharmacy or go to the hospital if you think you might have coronavirus. To protect yourself and others - Stay at home and avoid close contact with other people. Use the 111 coronavirus service to see if you need medical help or call NHS 111
Please be advised that due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) implications we have temporarily suspended the online appointment bookings - you can still use the online services to request your repeat prescriptions and view your medical records.
COVID-19 data sharing for health and social care in South East London