Coronavirus Updates

                                                                                        Useful links:
                                                                                        Face Mask Government Exemption Cards
                                                                                        Face Mask Transport Exemption Cards

                                                                                        Latest Government Information
                                                                                       Vulnerable Groups Information (Government letter)
                                                                                        NHS.uk/coronavirus
                                                                                        Statutory Sick Pay form 
                                                                                        Information about Advance Directives
                                                                                        Information for Diabetics
                                                                                        Information regarding coronavirus and pregnancy
                                    Help in the community: Pulling Together Ludlow

 

Friday 31st July

Many of you may be curious, anxious or interested to know what is happening locally here at Station Drive Surgery and also at Ludlow Hospital following the upheaval of the last few months.

At Station Drive, our nurse appointments are getting back to normal and you can book appointments for many of our usual services including cervical smears, immunisations, ear irrigation and pill checks. Our GP appointments are still being triaged initially by telephone but we are welcoming in any patients who need to be seen whilst still striving to keep footfall to a minimum to safeguard those who do come in.

Ludlow Hospital continues to run at a good capacity and it is great to see it being used for the local and wider community. The clinical team at the hospital are currently providing a higher level of care to patients, enabling earlier discharge from the acute hospital and allowing for direct admissions to Ludlow for treatment of several medical conditions previously only managed in the acute hospital.   This is set to continue.   There will therefore need to be an increase in GP cover required to care for these patients. Station Drive will be sharing the daytime ward rounds with Portcullis Surgery as we have always done, but in addition to this the Station Drive GPs have agreed to cover the hospital every Saturday and Sunday for the foreseeable future so that the current level of care at Ludlow Hospital can continue… and, in doing so, hopefully helping to secure the long-term future of Ludlow Hospital.

So although the current pressure of coronavirus has lessened recently, please be reassured that we are still working as hard as ever to keep our surgery and Ludlow Hospital open and ready for anything you may need.

Friday 24th July

In England, you must by law wear a face covering on Public Transport and in Shops and Supermarkets (as of 24 July 2020). You are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

The Government Website says you do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes (but is not limited to):
                             - young children under the age of 11 (Public Health England do not recommended face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
                             - not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
                              - if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress.
                              - For the full list of exemptions and for all the Government information, visit https://tinyurl.com/yal89tcn 
If you see someone who is not wearing a mask, please be mindful that not all disabilities are visible.

The Government Website also says this: Some people may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering. This could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or even a home-made sign. This is a personal choice and is not necessary in law.  Written evidence includes exemption cards  [which you can access via the link at the top of this page].  Those who have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering should not be routinely asked to give any written evidence of this

Update - We have been made aware that in some places, new 'cute' face masks are being promoted for babies, described as 'baby masks' or 'cute masks', and sometimes combined with dummies. There are serious concerns over the safety of them. Public Health England do not recommended face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons. The latest Government guidance says that children under the age of 11 do not have to wear face coverings.
For further guidance about children wearing a face covering, please visit https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/Cloth-Face-Coverings-for-Children-During-COVID-19

For guidance on how you make your own face covering, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

Friday 17th July

As the schools break up, we would like to wish all the children a happy summer holiday and congratulate them for coping with the upheaval of the last few months. Don't forget that all our BEAM resources for supporting children and young people are here on our website (in the news section), including a super guide written specifically for Yr6 pupils who will be moving up to secondary school in September.

Nurse appointments are slowly returning to normal, although with longer appointment times to allow for cleaning between patients, so please contact us if you think you are due a nurse review or for ear irrigation appointments. 

Friday 10th July

We continue to conduct appointments initially by phone. Anyone that needs to be seen will be invited down at a specific time. This limits the foot traffic at the surgery so that people coming in are kept as safe as possible. Please contact us if you need to speak to and/or see a doctor, and please wear a mask or face covering if you do come down. 

The Government have released their latest advice about keeping safe outside your home. Please visit www.gov.uk/enjoy-summer-safely  to see the full information.

For any children in Year 6 who progress to Yr7 in September, there is a guide on our BEAM news page https://www.stationdrivesurgery.co.uk/news/beam-information specifically designed for the children to help them with the transition.

Friday 3rd July

It was lovely to see Dr Davies being recognised as a Covid-19 Hero on the front page of the South Shropshire Journal! His extra support here at Station Drive has been vital in supporting our GPs who, alongside their usual surgery duties, have shared covering Ludlow Hospital during the day with Portcullis Surgery, and who have covered Ludlow Hospital every evening and weekend since the start of the pandemic.

In his usual generous spirit, Dr Davies shared his case of wine with our nurses and HCAs in recognition of them also being Covid-19 heros by taking on home visits to our shielded patients. Well done to them all!

Friday 26th June

We have had a lot of queries regarding our ear irrigation clinics. Unfortunately this is a service that we cannot currently provide due to the coronavirus guidelines. If anyone needs urgent treatment, we have had a letter to say Interhear in Shewsbury are now open for microsuction. Patients can call them directly on 0800 002 9503 and book in for microsuction, which will cost £65.  Update - ear irrigation clinics are being restored from August. Please contact us for more information.

Friday 19th June

Attending the Surgery: Current Guidelines
We are continuing to conduct appointments initially by telephone and offering follow-up face-to-face appointments as appropriate. We would politely ask that all patients aged 3 years and above wear a face mask or face covering if they are attending the practice for any reason. Face masks can be purchased online from a variety of online retailers and may be available in some local shops.

For guidance on how you make your own face covering, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

For guidance about children wearing a face covering, please visit https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/Cloth-Face-Coverings-for-Children-During-COVID-19

We are also asking for 2m social distancing to be maintained wherever possible and will be continuing with our separate entrance/exit to help maintain the 2m distance. Please come to the front door as usual and ring our doorbell when you arrive. We are asking patients not arrive early for appointments, as we have limited waiting space. If the waiting area is full, you may be asked to wait outside.

If you have any concerns or queries, please contact our reception staff who will be happy to help.

Friday 12th June

A notice from Pulling Together Ludlow: The government test, track and trace scheme is picking up pace now, and it’s possible some people may find themselves suddenly and unexpectedly being asked to self-isolate for 14 days. If this happens to you or someone you know please remember the PTL volunteer group is here to help with any groceries, prescriptions or a friendly voice to speak to during that time. Please call the helpline on 01584 817 250 for assistance.

Friday 5th June

Shrewsbury Optometry have let us know that they are open for emergency eye care. They are based at 4-5 Dogpole, Shrewsbury SY1 1EN and their contact number is 01743 233 486. Patients can call this number themselves. They will then be triaged over the phone first and an appointment is made if appropriate. Answer phone messages can be left and an optican will call back. An ’URGENT EYE PROBLEM ’ includes such issues as, red eye, foreign body, eye trauma, recent loss of vision, recent onset of eye pain or symptoms which suggest a recent retinal tear or detachment such as flashing lights and floaters.
Emergency eye care update July 2020 - Specsavers in Ludlow are now able to offer emergency eye care. They can be contacted on 01584 871210 if you need any help, care or advice.

Thursday 4th June

If you have coronavirus symptoms, please do not leave your home. You should visit nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 to arrange a test. 

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can ask for a test to check if you have the virus. This is called an antigen test. You need to get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms. You can ask for a test for yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms now (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste); or for someone you live with, if they have coronavirus symptoms. 

Tuesday 2nd June

We hope that any children who have been able to return to school are enjoying being back! We are not anticipating any problems, but the usual advice still applies. Please contact us if your child has any of these symptoms:
- High temperature
- New onset fever
- Cough
- Lethargic
- Diarrhea or Vomiting
For any of the above symptoms, or any other concerns, please call us on 01584 872461.

Monday 1st June

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a significant decrease in the number of patients presenting to hospital with cardiac symptoms. Please be reminded that we are here for you. If you are experiencing symptoms such as chest pain or breathlessness, please seek medical attention. You can call 111 or your GP, or - if symptoms are severe - attend A&E. 

Mental Health Awareness Week: 18th-24th May 2020

We will be posting information this week relating to Mental Health Awarenes Week. It is here on our website, under the news section, and can also be found on our Facebook page. We are living through uncertain times, so please have a look at our information and remember we are only a phonecall away if you need us.

Monday 11th May

Following the latest Government advice, we would like to remind you to stay safe. Please continue to socially distance and remain at home if possible, in order to minimise the risk of a second wave and to look after yourself and your family.

Our immunisation team (this includes children's immunisations, shingles, HPV, etc) and vaccination team (flu and pneumovacc) would like to reassure you that our programmes are fully up-to-date. We have continued to provide routine clinical care at the surgery during the corona virus pandemic, which has included immunisation & vaccination for our patients as usual.

We will, alongside all other surgeries in the UK, provide the flu and pneumovacc programme prior to winter this year. We do this in collaboration with the Royal Colleges, NHS England and Public Health England, who are best placed to advise us all on when and how to run these programmes. Our usual flu campaign - with pneumovaccs for any patients who require them - will be advertised as usual and provided from our usual sites. 

We managed to attain a 98% coverage for our flu uptake, and will strive to do the same this year.
If you have any concerns, please contact the surgery.

Thursday 7th May

Dear Patients,

As we head into the first May Bank Holiday tomorrow, 7 weeks after isolation for corona virus was enforced, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your cooperation, vigilance and ongoing support by remaining isolated and adhering to the social isolation rules. Your efforts have helped us limit the spread of corona virus and keep our patients safe.

In addition to the work we do at Ludlow Hospital daily, supporting corona virus care, we continue to see patients who require advice and examination for long-term conditions and urgent care. This includes patients with gynaecology problems, poorly-controlled diabetes, heart problems, and paediatric concerns, to name but a few.

Regular preventative medicine has continued at the surgery throughout the corona virus period. Hence all our baby, childhood & teenage immunisations, along with any catch-up immunisation programmes for MMR etc, remain up-to-date. We do not therefore need to hold any mass catch-up programmes or clinics. If you have immunisations booked, please do continue to attend as arranged.

Cervical screening is still suspended nationally. We have looked at additional capacity being released to run a catch-up programme for our female patients as soon as the laboratories start accepting smear samples again.

The surgery remains fully staffed and open for you to access. We will continue to request telephone as first contact and our premises will still be accessible through a buzzer system. Please ensure you do contact us if you have any health concerns.

Wishing you all a safe and restful Bank Holiday.
Best wishes,
Dr Graham Cook, Dr Caron Morton & Dr David Mitchell

Additional:
We are open as usual this Bank Holiday Friday (8th May). Please contact us on 01584 872461 if you need us.
The local pharmacies are also open:
Boots 2-5pm;
Brown&Francis (Murrays) 2-5pm;
Lloyds 11am-12pm.

 

Monday 4th May

Access to NHS Dentistry is currently limited during the pandemic as dentists have been asked to stop all routine "face-to-face" dental care. However, if you need urgent dental care, call your dentist practice and they will give you advice over the phone and make arrangements for you if you need to be seen. If you do not have a dentist, find your nearest one and ring them. You can search for your nearest dentist at https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-dentist

 

Friday 1st May

Throughout the COVID 19 pandemic, Station Drive Surgery has, and will continue to maintain the national childhood immunisation programme, in order to help prevent vaccine preventable diseases. Appointments for childhood vaccinations can be booked via reception in the normal way. If you have any questions regarding vaccinations (child or adult) please book a telephone consultation with the nurses.

Wednesday 29th April

Please remember that we are still open as usual! If you need us, please call us on 01584 872461. The doctor will initially contact you by telephone and then if they need to see you then this will be arranged in the safest possible way. It is important to keep ongoing medical conditions under control and to deal with any new concerns.

It’s important to know your body and to tell your doctor if you notice any changes which are not normal for you. Don’t put something new or different about your body down to getting older or another health condition you might have. If you notice any unusual changes or anything that doesn’t go away, please contact us.

Although the cervical screening programme has been suspended nationally, we would urge any of our female patients to get in touch with the surgery if they experience one or more of the following symptoms: new, irregular vaginal bleeding; post coital bleeding or spotting; abdominal swelling, loss of appetite and fatigue. 

Thursday 23rd April

Some patients have reported receiving letters to say that their cervical smear tests are due. Unfortunately the national team has suspended the cervical screening programme so we are currently unable to do routine screening smears. We will restart the screening at the earliest opportunity. We would urge any of our female patients to get in touch with the surgery if they experience one or more of the following symptoms: new, irregular vaginal bleeding; post coital bleeding or spotting; abdominal swelling, loss of appetite and fatigue.

Monday 20th April

Whilst coronavirus is infectious to children, it is rarely serious. If your child is unwell it is likely to be a non-coronavirus illness rather than coronavirus itself. If your child is unwell, the GPs, NHS111 and hospitals are still providing the same care that they have always done. Please follow this link for a poster with advice for parents: Advice for Parents

Thank you!  There is a lot of acknowledgement at the moment for the NHS and other key workers, but simple acts of kindness from ordinary people are also taking place every day and deserve recognition. Today we had a lady who needed to take an essential medical journey –a 5-hour round-trip – but she needed transport. Less than an hour of an appeal being sent to our ‘Drugrunner’ volunteers, an offer of help had been received and the lady was on her way. There are so many simple acts of generosity and kindness going on at the moment. Thank you for each and every one of them.

Friday 17th April

Information for Carers:
We know how hard it can be in isolation but please be reassured that there is plenty of help, advice and support available. Our Care-Coordinator Esther and our GPs can be contacted via our reception team on 01584 872461. Crossroads Together (formerly Carers Trust For All) are still taking calls on 0333 323 1990 and can provide support, advice and befriending. Age UK has information on their website. And of course our own local Pulling Together Ludlow group of volunteers are there to befriend and to deliver shopping & prescriptions, on 01584 817250. We are aware that not all carers will be online, so if you know someone locally who is a Carer, please pass the message on. Please do make use of all these services – it really is what we are here for!

Local Business:
Thank you so much to Ludlow Brewery who have made Friday extra special by delivering Ludlow Gold to us and other local NHS! We are grateful to all the businesses and volunteers who have supported us over the last few weeks and continue to do so. Also a big thank you to all the patients who wish us well when we speak to them… it definitely brightens up our day! There are so many local businesses who are supporting not only us, but also our patients, and the Ludlow community. Please support them in return by using them where possible. There is a list of some of the local businesses providing takeaway & delivery services on the Let's Go Ludlow website: https://www.letsgoludlow.com/local-business-delivery-update so please support them if you can.

Wednesday 15th April

People with potential coronavirus symptoms are now being asked to complete the Status Checker and answer a short series of questions, which will tell the NHS about their experience. Read more about it on the Ludlow Advertiser website by clicking here: Ludlow Advertiser News Article
and the status checker itself can be found here: NHS Status Checker

Tuesday 14th April

Children's Mental Health Support is more important than ever at the present time. BEAM have given us their current contact information and have also provided links to other websites, apps and organisations who can help to support children's mental health. All this information is here on our website: Children's Mental Health Support Information

Friday 10th April

Pulling Together Ludlow have issued their first bulletin. Please have a read, as it is full of news and information 
Click here: Pulling Together Bulletin
Wishing everyone a safe & happy Easter weekend.

Tuesday 7th April

Dear Patients,

Figures released last night showed 51,608 confirmed cases in the UK and 5,373 deaths to date. The presentation of corona virus remains largely unchanged, with fever (above 37.8°c) and persistent dry cough. Other symptoms include exhaustion, muscle pains, headache, nausea and changes to smell and taste.

Disease duration can be up to 2 weeks, with the first week being mainly respiratory symptoms with cough and breathlessness and second week flu-like illness.

Guidance on isolation, hand washing and social distancing still remains the best way to prevent the viral spread and limit the death toll.

As regards our surgery - we remain open 8am until 7 or 8pm. Most of our patient contact is on the phone but we are still seeing patients in the surgery for certain treatments and examinations. All GP partners and other doctors remain at work.

This weekend is Easter. Usually Good Friday and Easter Monday are bank holidays, but this year the surgery will remain open for usual hours. There should therefore be no problem contacting us for help or advice.

Our team is supported by the nurses, health care assistants and full reception team. In addition, the 'drug runners' are helping to deliver urgent prescriptions, and Pulling Together Ludlow, along with our surgery Care Coordinator, can help with problems such as shopping, routine prescription delivery, and accessing services.

This weekend is set to be warm and sunny, bringing with it the possibility of a festive time. Unfortunately, despite this, the corona virus outbreak will be reaching its peak levels. Please help us to keep you safe - adhere to the social distancing rules, don't visit family and friends, keep yourselves and members of your household safe.

Best wishes,
Dr Graham Cook, Dr Caron Morton & Dr David Mitchell

 

Friday 3rd April

We have added some information to the news section of the website. Please click to have a look at  https://www.stationdrivesurgery.co.uk/news  where you will find information leaflets for anyone who is type 1 or type 2 diabetic, and also the newsletter from Healthwatch Shropshire which contains currently relevant information. The out-of-hours Palliative Care contact number is also on there.

We have had a message from Dr. Victoria Galbraith who has advised that during the Coronavirus pandemic, she is running her clinical practice via video-conferencing and telephone.  Any patients currently scheduled to see her at the Nuffield Hospital will be offered an online or telephone appointment or the opportunity to wait until face-to-face contact can be resumed.   As you are aware the Nuffield Hospital are supporting the NHS in these uncertain times. She is running a 4-week online mindfulness course should anyone wish to take advantage of this opportunity - https://www.drvictoriagalbraith.co.uk/mindfulness.

Tuesday 31st March

Dear Patients,

As the last week has progressed we have started to settle into telephone triage, seeing very unwell patients only and limiting home visits. The new systems seem well embedded.

Gradually the workload is increasing and we will need to reduce the frequency of our updates depending on pressures in the surgery. We will however keep you updated of anything urgent, both online and via text messaging.

Community services are working closely with us. In particular our care providers, those working within the community trust and the private carers, continue to do an amazing job – still visiting many patients daily and still providing all the care they can. Of course the teams are stretched as clinicians go off ill or into isolation. Please bear with them.

We are also supported by an amazing group of volunteers linked to the surgery called the “drugrunners”. These people will take emergency calls from us for medication that needs to reach the patient urgently, collect the medicines and drop them off with you. We are very grateful for the incredible service they are delivering since Friday last week.

We continue to use PullingTogether Ludlow and the volunteers working with them are a stalwart during this time.

Finally to repeat the messages you hear frequently – stay at home and stay safe.

The effort you have made to adhere to this means that viral spread has slowed and the NHS has had a chance to prepare itself for the peak, with hospitals being erected, hubs being set up, and GP surgeries changing practice.

Keep safe.

Best wishes,
Dr Graham Cook, Dr Caron Morton and Dr David Mitchell

 

Monday 30th March

If you are finding it hard at the moment, you are not alone and there is help available.

Kooth.com provides online support for young people and Silvercloud - also online - is accessible to anyone registered with a Shropshire GP. The Ludlow and Area Youth Forum Text Help Line Number is 07984352478 Monday-Friday 10am-5pm.

Every Mind Matters has released expert advice and top tips on how to look after your mental wellbeing if you need to stay at home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It also includes guidance if you’re feeling worried or anxious about the outbreak: visit: www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

If you are local and would just like to have someone to chat to while you are in isolation, there are volunteers (many of whom are also isolating) who would be happy to chat with you: visit www.pullingtogetherludlow.org.uk or ring 01584 817250.

There is list of further support at www.nhs.uk/…/stress-anxiety-depres…/mental-health-helplines/

Friday 27th March

Dear Patients,
As we enter into the weekend, can we remind you of the following:
- Please heed the stay-at-home guidance
- Only go shopping if you need essential items
The corona virus outbreak continues to slowly escalate and limiting the spread over the past week is enabling the NHS to start putting in place the appropriate treatment facilities and care pathways to minimise the number of deaths as we move towards its peak.

Please continue to take regular medication - please order prescriptions early enough and only in reasonable quantities.

The surgery will be open again on Monday morning. Shropdoc and NHS111 continue to function over the weekend and most of us will be working for these services on Saturday and Sunday.

Plans are afoot to open additional beds at Ludlow Hospital and exact numbers of these will be confirmed early next week.

Wishing you a safe weekend,
Dr Graham Cook, Dr Caron Morton & Dr David Mitchell

 

Thursday 26th March

Dear Patients,

Many of you will have seen and heard proposals for “hot hubs” being mentioned in the media.

In South West Shropshire – like all areas across the country – we are quickly developing plans to set these up over the coming week to 10 days. The “hot hub” will deal with corona virus patients, ensuring we treat and manage the maximum number of patients feasible in a coordinated way. In addition, a visiting service will need to be established to see those corona virus patients who are too frail to travel.

Alongside developing hot hubs, we will need to continue providing essential primary care services. At the moment these will be provided from the surgery. We can’t stress strongly enough the importance of ensuring that you continue contacting us for any concerning symptoms that may indicate underlying cancers or acute deterioration in your health other than corona virus symptoms.

At the surgery we remain fully staffed. Some members of our team are working from home.

Much has been written about Ludlow Hospital in the last few days. We are working directly with the community trust on how best we use this facility to support the local health economy whilst ensuring our efforts are in line with the wide plan across Shropshire, allowing for the best outcomes for our patients and supporting our clinical colleagues across all providers.

Best Wishes,
Dr Graham Cook, Dr Caron Morton & Dr David Mitchell

Additional: PHARMACY OPENING HOURS:

Boots in Ludlow will be closed for the rest of today to allow them to cope with the number of prescriptions that have been ordered. From tomorrow they will be open from 11am to 3pm, allowing no more than 5 people in a time. THIS WILL BE FOR PRESCRIPTIONS ONLY.

Brown & Francis (Murrays) are open as usual today. From next week, they will be open from 9.30am to 5.30pm, but will be CLOSED between 1-2pm.

Lloyds Pharmacy times remain unchanged. They are CLOSED from 9-10am, 1-2pm and 5.30-6.30pm each day.

Please be patient with all our pharmacies as they do an amazing job trying to cope with their increased workloads, and help them by only ordering medication that is needed and not requesting it early.

 

  Wednesday 25th March

If you are isolating in Ludlow but do not have a support network of family and friends to help you get essential food and medicine, or even if you would simply like a daily phonecall to chat to someone, you can go to our local community response Pulling Together Ludlow for advice and help.

Visit Pullingtogetherludloworguk.wordpress.com for more information.

Please also visit their website if you are able to join their army of volunteers. Many thanks to all who have already been in touch.

 

Tuesday 24th March 2020

Dear Patients,

Last night the Prime Minister announced restrictions to social gatherings and movement. Most of you would have received a text message reinforcing the statement to stay at home.

Although mention was made of the reasoning behind this we felt it may be helpful to explain again why the NHS has called for this action to be taken.

Currently we are seeing a rapid spread of the virus throughout our communities. In addition, the virus is having an impact across age ranges and the current trajectory of spread is much greater than expected or than what the NHS could cope with.

Staying at home, limiting interaction to only those people you live with, reducing trips to shops, not socialising with friends, will slow the viral spread considerably we believe. If the current rate of spread isn’t slowed down, the NHS will not be able to cope with the peak of cases we are expecting. This will mean that patients are at risk of dying unnecessarily because health care couldn’t be provided due to viral infection load outstripping the capacity we have. The simple message therefore is – “stay at home for 3 weeks and be in a position to socialise for many years to come”.

To repeat some of the information you have received from us in the last 48 hours:

  • The surgery has shut the waiting room area to limit viral spread between patients. We are open, we have got staff, and you will be seen if the clinician you speak to on the phone feels this is appropriate. When arriving at the surgery, there is an intercom to the left of the door where you can alert the reception team to your presence.
  • Surgery hours remain unchanged.
  • All contacts with the surgery are now going through telephone triage first.

The number of prescription requests have been extremely high in the past week, understandably so as we all prepared for the possibility of a “lockdown”. Pharmacies are dealing with unprecedented numbers to process. We would request that you bear with them as they dispense your medication and please provide your support to these members of staff who are also working excessive hours at the moment trying to keep you safe and well.

Finally, we have sent a text message to all female patients over the age of 25. The cervical screening programme has been temporarily suspended by the national team. We can therefore no longer take routine screening smears for our patients. We would urge any of the female patients in this age group to get in touch with the surgery if they experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- New, irregular vaginal bleeding
- Post coital bleeding or spotting
- Abdominal swelling, loss of appetite and fatigue.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Please remain safe in your homes – review our previous updates for information.

Best wishes
Dr Graham Cook, Dr Caron Morton, Dr David Mitchell

Additional Information:

Apologies to anyone who has received texts about the Carers Meeting which took place last week. This was an issue with the software provider. Please be assured that any advice for Carers will be posted on Facebook/Website.

If you have been issued a rescue pack of antibiotics and steroids, please note that these are to be started if you show signs of a bacterial chest infection. Signs to watch for - discoloured sputum, increasing shortness of breath. The rescue packs are for highly vulnerable COPD patients only.

 

Monday 23rd March 2020

As the COVID-19 infection rate increases we need to limit your exposure to risk. We have therefore decided to close the waiting area. If you are asked to come down to see us, or are attending for bloods and dressings we would ask you to wait in your car, call us and we will then ask you to come in to the surgery when the clinician is ready to see you. If you have walked here please call us when you arrive and we will advise you on where to wait.
Thank you for continuing to work alongside us and protect each other.

IMPORTANT NOTICES regarding rescue packs, vulnerable groups, community help, and pharmacy open hours:

1. RESCUE PACKS
If you have been issued a rescue pack of antibiotics and steroids, please note that these are to be started if you show signs of a bacterial chest infection. Signs to watch for - discoloured sputum, increasing shortness of breath.

2. VULNERABLE GROUPS
If you fall into any of these categories, you are advised to self-isolate and remain in your home for the next 12 weeks:
- aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions);
- under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu vaccination as an adult each year on medical grounds);
- chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis;
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure;
- chronic kidney disease;
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis;
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability, or cerebral palsy;
- diabetes;
- problems with your spleen, such as sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed;
- a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy;
- being seriously overweight (a BMI of 40 or above);
- those who are pregnant.
You can call the surgery if you need further clarification on a specific detail.

3. COMMUNITY HELP
If you do not have your own support network of family & friends to help you get food & medicine, you can go to our local community response Pulling Together Ludlow for advice and help. Visit www.pullingtogetherludloworguk.wordpress.com or ring them on 01584 817250. If you are able to volunteer to help, please also visit their website for further information or contact us at volunteer.stationdrive@nhs.net

4. PHARMACY OPENING HOURS
Boots have changed their opening hours to 10am to 4pm until further notice due to the current climate and staff losses due to the virus.
Lloyds Pharmacy are closed between 9-10am, 1-2pm and 5.30-6.30pm.
Murrays/Brown & Francis currently remains the same and we will advise you if this should change.

Apologies to anyone who did not receive the text about the Carers Meeting until after it had taken place. The software is used by many surgeries and unfortunately it has been inundated during the last week, and this caused a delay with some of our texts. We will do our best to arrange another meeting as soon as possible. Thank you.

 

Friday 20th March 2020

Dear Patients,

As we head into the weekend it may be helpful for us to summarise the latest guidance for members of the public. All the guidance is aiming to control the numbers of patients contracting Corona virus infections and prevent a significant spike (as seen in Italy) from occurring.

The elderly (over 70s), anyone with a significant health condition, anyone on chemotherapy, and pregnant women have been advised to take extra precaution as regards social gatherings and crowded spaces. Many pubs, restaurants and cafes have shut or reduced their capacity significantly to accommodate the guidance from the government for us all to avoid significantly crowded spaces.

The presenting symptoms remain either a new temperature above 37.8 or a new persistent dry cough.

The isolation rules have changed. These are available on NHS England and PHE websites. In summary, any suspected corona virus case is to isolate for 7 days. All household members have to isolate for 14 days.

The reason why we are asking for household contacts to isolate longer than suspected cases is because the incubation period is about 14 days and leaving the house prior to that means that you potentially spreading the virus to your neighbours and community before you become symptomatic.

As a surgery a huge amount of work has been done this week, alongside the community services, to prepare for the height of the virus outbreak. We are in a much stronger position to manage large scale self-isolation of our patients, treating patients and coping with staff shortages than we were on Monday.

You will be aware that we are triaging all contacts with the surgery prior to seeing you as patients – thank you for your cooperation with this process.

Please be aware that if any significant information is released over the weekend then we will alert you to this.

Best wishes
Dr Graham Cook, Dr Caron Morton, Dr David Mitchell

Additional Information:

If you are one of our carers but are unable to attend the session discussing managing symptom control, and would be interested if we run another session, please contact us on 01584 872461.

If you are one of our patients self-isolating and do not have anyone to bring your deliveries or make daily contact with you to check you are ok, please email admin.stationdrive@nhs.net or ring us on 01584 872461. We are working jointly with the community project Pulling Together Ludlow and will make sure you have help.

If you are one of our patients and would like to volunteer to help with those in need, please email volunteer.stationdrive@nhs.net or ring us on 01584 872461.

 

Thursday 19th March 2020

Community support – Corona Virus Response

As your GPs, our primary responsibility is to look after your health needs. During the crisis that we now face, this work will take up at least 90% of our time. This would leave a small proportion of our time to ensure your well-being; our community resilience; and that basic care needs are being met.

The nature of the corona virus outbreak, and containment, means that many of our patients (some elderly, some young) will need to be isolated, perhaps for long periods of time. We are therefore moving towards a time where large numbers of local residents will be unable to get food; struggle to provide themselves with cooked meals and risk being without any human contact at all for weeks on end.

All of these factors could have a significant effect on their ability to recover from the virus, and avoid significant deterioration in their mental health.

As members of the public, we are all now aware that hospital bed availability for thousands of patients with the virus, who may be frail, vulnerable or at risk; is not feasible. These patients will therefore need to be cared for and managed at home.

In conjunction with the community services of district nurses and other professionals we will continue to provide as much clinical care as is possible to local residents. What we are unable to provide however, is a service to ensure there is access to shopping, cooked meals and someone to just talk to on the phone every few days. Our response to this other aspect of the corona virus crisis is as follows:

  • We have agreed to work jointly with Portcullis Surgery on the community project launched yesterday at the Methodist church meeting. Please note that the volunteer meeting is tonight at 4pm at the Methodist Church and it will be going ahead unless there is a change in the Prime Ministers instructions
  • We will continue to provide you with a daily update from the partners. This will include ongoing medical advice, changes in guidance and any important information you need to be aware of. We will only do this once a day to ensure we minimise the amount of information being received on your behalf.
  • We will be launching a “befriending” project where volunteers will be aligned with residents in their immediate, or close, vicinity to support some of the 3 areas outlined above. Initial contact has been made with key individuals in the community to gauge the amount of support for a volunteer group. We will now start actively recruiting to this group of volunteers (please see below).
  • Over the next few days our elderly, frail, vulnerable and at risk groups will receive a text message outlining how this service might work and requesting that they put certain initial measures in place themselves and alert us to areas of need now (before the crisis unfolds fully).

We would urge all our patients over the age of 18 to consider becoming a volunteer.

We can’t be reliant on national support to provide this help, and health services will not be able to do this alongside providing clinical care. Our local areas ability to navigate through this crisis, minimising human cost, is reliant on how we each behave and the choices we now make.

Please get in touch with us and offer some of your time by emailing volunteer.stationdrive@nhs.net

Best wishes
Dr Graham Cook, Dr Caron Morton, Dr David Mitchell

Additional: Are you a Carer?  We are holding a meeting for our Carers on Saturday 21st March at 9am. This will be to offer advice and answer questions in relation to COVID-19.  If you would like to attend then please let us know by either emailing admin.stationdrive@nhs.net or calling 01584 872461 and speaking to Judith.

 

Wednesday 18th March 2020

New measures are being put in place by the government to reduce the rate of spread of the corona virus.

At the surgery we are aware of many patients that we have spoken to, and had contact with, who meet the suspected corona virus infection criteria. We can therefore assume the virus is spreading in our local community.

To repeat some of the basic advice:
Symptoms to watch for - a temperature above 37.8 and or new onset of a cough.
In addition, patients experience generalised aching and body pains, fatigue and exhaustion, headaches.
Treatment - there is no specific treatment for the virus, however managing fever symptoms is important using paracetamol. At the moment the advice is to try to avoid the usage of Ibuprofen type drugs to manage fever unless absolutely necessary.
Isolation - the latest isolation criteria for positive cases and their family members is published on the Public Health England website.
Basic hygiene measures - thoroughly washing hands with soap and water, keeping household surfaces clean.

Most patients will make a good recovery from the virus. The more vulnerable patients that are at risk of severe infections or secondary complications include those over 70 years old, patients with respiratory diseases, patients on immunosuppressant medication, cancer patients. We have issued rescue pack medication (appropriate to the specific chronic disease) to our highest risk patients and will continue to do so for other patients as more guidance and evidence emerges.

In addition to moving to a "telephone triage first" system we will continue to see patients where this is necessary.

Reviewing our patient cohort and working through at risk groups is an ongoing piece of work all the partners are carrying out.We hope to have this all completed for our 8500 patient by Friday.

The surgery is involved in and supportive of the community projects being set up to support out most frail and vulnerable in the community alongside Portcullis Surgery.

Daily updates will continue to be posted. Surgery hours remain unchanged.
Best wishes
Dr Graham Cook, Dr Caron Morton & Dr  David Mitchell

 

Tuesday 17th March 2020

Dear Patients,

Following the Government’s advice yesterday to avoid social gatherings and advice received overnight, we have moved to a “triage first”. This means that for any booked appointments you will receive a call from your GP. If it is then felt necessary you will be booked in to see a GP.

We are not cancelling pre-booked consultations and the “triage first” approach will apply to all pre booked patients up to 6 weeks in advance.

The guidance for managing symptoms remains unchanged from what we posted yesterday – please review this. Please review the PHE guidance on self isolation and the change in family members and duration of isolation.

Our acute cancer patients will be called in the next 2 days to discuss their care needs.

Best wishes
Dr Graham Cook, Dr Caron Morton & Dr  David Mitchell

 

Corona Virus statement - 16th March 2020

Dear patients,

The next few months will be challenging for us all as we navigate our way through the Corona Virus crisis.

As a surgery we feel we have two main areas of responsibility to you; continuing to provide necessary clinical care and ensuring you are given the most up to date clinical advice without creating mass panic in the community.

The current advice for managing clinical care is as follows:

If you have symptoms that may suggest early corona virus infection (these are a raised temperature above 37.8; a new cough) you are to contact NHS 111 via their online service or by dialling 111. We are asking you not to attend the surgery, or ask for routine home visits if you have these symptoms. The reason for us not seeing you isn’t because we don’t want to provide you with clinical care but to ensure we limit the spread of the virus; we all use the coordinated process of managing all corona virus suspected patients in the same way across the country; ensure we protect our clinical team as much as possible so that we remain able to work and provide care.

Unfortunately, like with all viruses, the corona virus can and will occur in conjunction with other clinical conditions. Many of our patients have long-term conditions such as diabetes, COPD, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis etc – it is important we continue to control and treat these conditions appropriately. Sadly some patients have active cancer and these patients will be contacted directly by one of the partners over the coming week to discuss care plans again.

In the event that your symptoms are deteriorating quickly with severe shortness of breath or any other symptoms which normally require a 999 call you must continue to use the emergency service – it is essential you mention to the 999 team that you think you might also have corona virus.

Many of our patients and clinical staff will contract the virus. Some will, have a mild case of flu like symptoms, some will be very ill with high temperatures and incessant cough and sadly some will be severely unwell requiring medical intervention.

The best advice for you to follow can be found on the Public Health England website: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response.

As GPs we advised that you regularly wash your hands with soap and water (please note special, expensive soaps are not needed), keep your household surfaces clean, avoid overcrowded environments and seek medical advice early on if you have clinical symptoms.

Viruses do not respond to antibiotics and hence no acute treatment to get rid of the virus is available. The main symptoms of high temperature and sometimes a headache are best treated with paracetamol within the recommended dosage on the packaging.

There is a huge amount of information available online. Some of this is useful but some information is both incorrect and causing panic and fear. As clinician we are committed to minimising any fear that this virus causes

With this in mind we will produce a daily update for you. We will not do a constant online feed of advice but rather a more substantial piece once a day.

In the event that we need to get urgent information out to you we will send a text message to accompany the online statement. This approach hopefully will minimise anxiety and ensure that if the time comes when we need to urgently communicate to you we can do so without having caused information fatigue already.

Please be assured that we remain available to treat you, advise you and respond to this situation as it unfolds.

Best wishes
Dr Graham Cook, Dr Caron Morton, Dr David Mitchell

 

Coronavirus 12th March 2020

*Updated advice from Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS on Covid19*    12th March 2020

If you have:
- a new continuous cough
- or a high temperature (37.8 degrees or higher)
you should stay at home for 7 days.

Read the full guidance: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ 

 

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.

Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • 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.

You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Coronavirus 5th March 2020

We have released a statement relating to coronavirus.

Our main message is to follow the guidance
and to please keep attending to any long-term health problems you have.

Published: Mar 17, 2020