Covid-19 Update – 30/03/2020

Dear Patients and Friends,

I want to take some time out of the furious preparations we have been engaged in to communicate with you and let you know about just some of what we have been doing.

These are extraordinary times and I know everyone is very worried about themselves, relatives and friends. I know you are also worried about NHS capacity and our ability to cope with both the virus and all the usual significant illnesses we normally treat.

I know access at Glenlyn has been a concern for many of you for a long time, but that is because we don’t turn our back on any sections of the community that need a vast range of different sorts of care.

Fortunately, Dr Strickland and Dr Kapoor have been at the forefront of solving these access issues through Surrey NHS leadership and change and have been developing and evaluating strategies and systems for working at scale and remotely for some time. We have strong working relationships with local Acute Hospitals, Surrey County Council, Princess Alice Hospice and the other East Elmbridge Surgeries. Last year we formed a consortium to take over the running of Community Nursing Service and this has helped us integrate them mre closely with General Practice.

These relationships and this work to fix the problems of NHS access and continuity of care put us in a uniquely strong position to rapidly accelerate and put in place a lot of plans that were slowly being introduced. This will enormously strengthen our ability to deal with Covid.

We have been working furiously over the last couple of weeks to get these done. They are wide-ranging and some are more logistical than patient facing, so I will list the most important ones here.

New Website for All Practice Contacts

  • The only exception is people without internet access (and no family/advocate with internet access)
  • All appointment requests
  • All Prescription queries EXCLUDING repeat prescription requests (Please download the free NHS App or continue to use Patient Access for all regular repeat prescription requests.)
  • All Sick/Fit notes
  • All other queries

The website Please have a look at it. It is very easy to use.  Start by clicking on the most appropriate ‘Room’ for your query.  You will find a lot of self-help advice (such as in the Wellbeing Centre room) and if you need help from our Patient Services Team a good place to start is the Reception and Enquiries Room.

There are YouTube videos you can look at if you are interested in how it works from our end.

Main advantages:

  • Available 24/7
  • Solves telephone congestion problem
  • Allows reception staff to triage request and send to most appropriate person.
  • Allows a direct digital response
  • A secretary, admin, HCA, nurse or doctor will respond with a message, phone call or will give you an appointment for a telephone consultation or a face to face consultation
  • Video Consulting: Doctors and Nurses have easy access switch to a video consultation where needed

Electronic Prescriptions

  • All patients on repeat/regular prescriptions will need to nominate a pharmacy to receive prescriptions electronically
  • Most patients have already done this
  • No collecting prescriptions at reception

Electronic Repeat Dispensing

  • this allows us to pre-authorise between 6 to 12 months of prescriptions
  • duration depends on individual medication safety and patient conditions
  • patients do not need to request medications from the surgery every 2 months
  • patients can liaise directly with pharmacy to collect prescription in interim
  • only request from the surgery at the end of the authorised period
  • We will be assessing individual patient suitability and safety behind the scenes as rapidly as we can over the next few weeks

 Remote Consultations and Communication

  • Telephone – as much as possible we will consulting by telephone
  • Video – clinicians have easy ability to initiate a secure video consultation within a telephone consultation if there is something they need to see. All you need is a smartphone
  • Website response – you may get an email notification informing you of a response directly to your Website query. This can allow responses from you for questions, answers and clarifications
  • Individual Text Messaging – we use bespoke system to communicate to you
  • Mass Text Messaging – we can send campaign messages via text (e.g. updates like this, flu campaigns, health reminders)

Covid-19 Hot Hub at Giggs Hill

We have rapidly turned Giggs Hill surgery into a Covid-19 “Hot Hub” that will serve patients from all the East Elmbridge surgeries. It is effective from today.

  • Non-Covid patients will be seen at Glenlyn in East Molesey: “Cold Hub”
  • Covid patients will be see at Giggs Hill in Thames Ditton: “Hot Hub”

We have done this to reduce cross infection risk to all patients and staff.

  • Please do not enter either Glenlyn or Giggs Hill without an appointment
  • ALL appointments at both sites will be arranged after triage by a nurse/doctor
  • We are allowing 111 to triage patients to this Hot Hub, so please still use the 111 online service as a starting point if you have Covid symptoms
  • Please Remember: The vast majority of you who get Covid will not need to see or even speak to a doctor. Please start with the 111 online Covid service.
  • This Hot Hub is for the sickest of patients that need a face to face consult

This is an excellent clinic, set up in a very short time frame.

Community Medical/Nursing Response

  • As well as working in the Hot Hubs, Dr Strickland and Dr Kapoor are working at Molesey Hospital and in the community alongside Community Matrons to treat the elderly and vulnerable patients.
  • Molesey Hospital is very likely to become filled with both recovering and palliative elderly patients
  • Molesey Hospital was interestingly originally built as a fever hospital

Community Care

  • The local neighbourly care has been humbling
  • Please look out for those who live close to you that might be isolated anyway or isolating due to Corona
  • Join or form a street WhatsApp group or Neighbourhood Watch
  • Colets Gym have organised an Outreach program to help isolated people
  • Surrey County Council has set up a helpline for Surrey residents seeking support from the community, or who want to help others.
    • The helpline is number is 0300 200 1008 and will run Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 17:00.

End of Life Care

  • have you taken time as a family to talk to elderly/frail members about what to do if they deteriorate?
  • From Covid or from other conditions
  • now is a good time to have frank and open family discussions
  • we find that most frail/elderly patients do not want hospital admissions with invasive tests and treatments that are unlikely to be successful or improve quality of life
  • it’s not an easy conversation to start, but the mutual understanding afterwards is liberating for the patients and prevents a lot of misunderstandings and even guilt for survivors

A Huge Thank You

I want to say a huge thank you to all our amazing staff. They work under extraordinary pressure all the time anyway, but this crisis has really revealed their dedication, willingness and uncomplaining self-sacrifice to their colleagues, to the NHS and most importantly to all of you, our patients. They will never have experienced such rapid change or worked under such immense professional pressure, let alone their personal and family concerns.

The outpouring of love and support with the hand-clapping last Thursday was very emotional for most of us and very much appreciated.

Lastly, please take this virus seriously.

  • Social Distance diligently. Don’t visit family/friends outside of your immediate household
  • Self-isolate – if you are in a high risk group or if your household has symptoms
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Don’t touch your face without washing your hands before AND after
  • Be Healthy – reduce/stop smoking ( or 01737 652168), reduce/stop alcohol, get regular exercise, eat healthy food – this will help you fight the virus if you do contract it

We will all come out of this better in a number of different ways as individuals, communities and organisations. In the meantime look after yourselves and look after each other.

Dr Richard Strickland and Dr Ash Kapoor

Glenlyn Medical Centre