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With the frequent updates provided by the Government, we have decided to pull together all of the current guidance in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). There will be a section at the bottom in regard to frequently asked questions (FAQ).
Whilst we will endeavour to keep our website updated, please note that you can access information via the following websites, which are updated frequently.
What symptoms do I need to look for?
Stay at home if you have either:
- a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly
You can check symptoms here https://111.nhs.uk/service/covid-19
Do not come to the GP surgery, or go to a pharmacy or hospital.
Most people will have very mild symptoms and can self care at home. For those needing medical assistance, please contact NHS 111 online or by phone if you do not have online access.
You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.
Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home.
How long do I need to stay at home?
- if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
- if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
Am I a high risk (shielding) patient?
You should have received a letter from the government, your hospital consultant or our practice to let you know if you are classed as a high risk patient. Current guidance is to stay at home for at least 12 weeks. Further guidance can be found here.
If you find yourself struggling with getting access to your shopping, banking or other daily activities you can contact the South Tyneside Hub on 0191 424 7575.
Further support from South Tyneside Council can be found here.
I haven’t received a letter, but I think I am high risk
If you think you are a high risk patient you can register this via the governments website here.
Can I get a sick note to cover my self-isolation period?
Please be aware that we will not be issuing sick notes to cover self-isolation periods. If you need a note for this please visit the 111 website and follow their instructions. If you require a sick note to cover other illnesses, please use our eConsult system.
I can’t book an appointment online anymore
We have temporarily suspended the availability of online appointment booking. This will enable our reception team to identify any symptoms where patients may need to be directed to 111 for further information.
We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause, however due to the nature of the current viral outbreak this is to ensure that it is not inadvertently transferred to other patients or to our staff, which would then limit further appointment availability.
I need to order my prescription
We ask that patients order medication online where possible. If you are not set up with patient access you should be able to easily download the NHS App at home without attending the surgery. Please search online for NHS App.
Those who have access to the internet, but not the NHS App or Patient Access, then please use eConsult and choose ‘other’ in the option for requesting sick notes, GP letters or test requests, and list your medication in the box. Please ensure there is a medication name, we will not accept descriptions of medication, e.g. ‘white pill’. The main reception desk will no longer be open for prescription ordering or routine queries. This is to help prevent the spread of the virus.
This will help free up our telephone lines for those patients with no access to the internet, who may need to order their medication.
Can I come in to collect my prescription?
All patients are now being asked to nominate a designated pharmacy to have their medication requests directed to, you can change your nomination at anytime via the online apps or by contact us via telephone.
Change in rules regarding face coverings
We are aware that some patients might be understandably anxious about the Government’s recent announcements around the use of face masks in various public settings.
GPs are unfortunately not in a position to provide individual risk assessments or letters for patients who feel that they should be exempt from wearing a face mask.
Gateshead & South Tyneside Local Medical Committee has therefore prepared this guidance note as the statutory body that advises and supports all GPs and practice teams across the area.
The government guidance on exemptions suggests there is no requirement for evidence for exemption therefore it is sufficient for an individual to self-declare this.
The responsibility for issuing exemptions lies with the transport provider not your GP. Similarly, practices are under no obligation to provide letters of support for anyone who does not fall under the list of exemptions but considers them to have another reason to be exempted.
Government advice on the use of face coverings can be found here:
Some people don’t have to wear a face covering including for health, age or equality reasons. Some transport staff may not wear a face covering if it is not required for their job.
If you feel you are unable to wear a mask for auditory/sensory/breathing reasons, please visit www.keepsafe.org.uk/mask and download an exemption card.
We hope that this guidance provides some reassurance for you on this issue