COVID-19 (Corona Virus) Practice Update

Social distancing

As a surgery, we have a responsibility to look after the vulnerable and sick patients that need to visit us. We also need to protect our staff for their own safety and to maintain services to our patients.   

The practice along with our Hatfield PCN colleagues, will continue to operate with restricted access to the building, social distancing measures will remain in place, and you will need to wear a face mask when visiting us (unless exempt).   

The practice remains open from 8.30am - 6.15pm Mon- Fri.   

We continue to operate a telephone triage system. Any face-to-face appointments will continue to be given by the clinician.   

The reception team have been directed to ask all patients the reasons for the calls so that may direct them to the most appropriate services.   

Please respect the job that the receptionists are doing, they are working to protocols set out by the partners in order to keep the practice operating as efficiently as possible.   

We hope you understand the reason for us to continue working in this manner: the situation will be reviewed regularly, and changes made where appropriate. Our key focus is keeping the staff and community safe.   

COVID vaccinations   

We continue to provide COVID vaccinations to our patients at Bellingham court and will be doing so until the end of summer. As such we have a reduced number of appointments available at the practice.   

If you would like to book an appointment for your COVID vaccination, please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/  

Extended Access  

The practice continues to offer appointments at our extended access clinic between 8am – 4pm Mon – Fri and Saturday & Sunday 8am -12pm. These extra appointments will be at spring house medical centre. The clinic is currently operating a telephone triage service, and has a doctors, nurses and pharmacist that you can contact for help and advice.   

Please ask our receptionist when calling for an appointment.   

Online consultation

 

The practice will be switching back on the e-consult function as of 17th August.   

The feature was temporarily turned off while changes to processes were put in place with the development team.   

Please note the following with regards to how we will process e-consults from this date;  

  • All e-consults will be assessed by a practice user by the end of the next working day. This means a member of the team will get back to you to advise how we intend to process the information given to us.   
  • The practice has found a high volume of our patients like using the e-consult service. As such we need to ensure that we are able to deal with the volume of queries safely. To help aid this there will now be ‘capped’ amounts of e-consults per day.   We will update the website to show when the e-consult limit is reached, and this will prevent any further e-consults being sent to us. Once we have dealt with the demand you will once again be able to send an e-consult within 72hrs.   
  • E-consults are for routine (non-urgent) queries only. Any forms requesting an appointment with the GP will not be responded to.  
  • Patients are permitted to send 1 E-consult per patient per day. Any duplicates or further communications will not be responded to.  

Changes to Hospital walk-in blood test service  

Blood tests, requested by GPs, now have to be booked online for the following hospitals: Hertford County Hospital, Lister Hospital and New QEII.  

You should book your appointment using the link https://www.enherts-tr.nhs.uk/changes-to-our-walk-in-blood-test-service.  

If you are unable to book online, please call the phlebotomy team on 01438 284044 9-5pm Monday - Friday.  To complete the booking, the team will need to know the hospital where you would like to have the blood test, your NHS number, name, address, date of birth and phone number.  

If you do not know your NHS number, it will be on your latest prescription or there is guidance on the NHS website to find your NHS number.  

NHS e-Referral Tracking  

If your doctor has referred, you to a specialist for further care you will be asked to book your appointment using the ‘NHS e-Referral’ system.  

You will receive a letter from us within 2 weeks giving details of how to book your appointment and any passwords you may need.  

To track your e-Referral you will need the following details to log into the e-Referral website:  

  • Your date of birth  
  • Reference number – this will be on the first page of your letter  
  • Password – this will be on the second page of your letter  

To track an e-Referral, https://www.ebs.ncrs.nhs.uk/login  

May 2021

As the roll out of the vaccination programme continues the practice would like to update you on our current position.

Practice administration

Due to the additional pressures of COVID and the continued roll out of the vaccination programme the practice is having an increased workload including increased calls, admin and contacts by patients.

We aim to action all requests as quickly as possible but please note that there may be some delays to our usual turnaround times (particularly to non-NHS work). 

We ask that you respect our staff during this time and do not abuse the team. Our staff is here to help you. They will be polite and helpful and treat all patients with dignity and respect. Our staff have the right to be treated with courtesy, dignity and respect in return. 

In order for the practice to provide a high standard of care for patients our staff must be able to work in an environment that is free from the following: 

  • Abusive behaviour (including but not limited to verbal, physical and emotional) 
  • Violence 
  • Harassment 
  • Aggressive behaviour (including but not limited to threats, intimidation, anger or hostility, patronising or talking down to others) 

Such inappropriate behaviour towards our staff may result in patients being removed from the practice and reported to the police. Legal action may also be taken where it is appropriate.

The receptionists have been instructed to ask a reason for your appointment in order to book you with the most appropriate clinician.  

Please note for test results that unless the GP has requested you to come in urgently you will be given a routine telephone appointment by the receptionist. Routine telephone slots can be up to 4 weeks in advance.   

If the GP has also requested you have a routine telephone appointment you will also be booked within the above time frame. We ask that you do not abuse this system by stating your need for an appointment is urgent if it is not. Should a clinician feel’s you have done this they will discuss this matter directly with you.

We are experiencing high volumes of calls and increased waiting times on our telephone system. Whilst we are making steps to reduce to this, we encourage the use of e-consultation and online services.  

All E-consultations are responded to by the end of the next working day, so if you send us an e-consult on Monday we will get back to you by 6.30pm Tuesday evening. Please do not send a further e-consult about the same issue if you have not had a reply on the same day.

If you have not had a reply by the end of the next working day, there is a link within your confirmation email to alert the practice to this. Please select this so we can look into any issues.

We are now a training practice and as such have junior doctors (registrars) working on site alongside our team. 

Attending the practice

  • You must have an appointment before visiting the practice   
  • You must wear a face covering when attending for an appointment (unless exempt)  
  • There is an intercom system at the front door that should be used to contact reception.   
  • Entry remains via our side entrance. Please always ensure to let reception know you have arrived before waiting here.  
  • If you are frail/ elderly/ pregnant or have mobility issues, please ask one of our receptionists for a chair who can provide this to you while you wait.   
  • Anyone using a chair will be asked to clean this after them after use to prevent spread of infection.  

Appointments

  • Telephone triage system remains. This means if you would like an appointment or administrative support you will always be called first and only if unavoidable will you be asked to attend the surgery.   
  • You will be given a telephone appointment with the most appropriate clinician from the practice or from our extended access service team, this is including pharmacists, nurses, GP’s and social prescribers.  
  • Please note that routine telephone appointments can be made up to 4 weeks in advance. If the clinician has not advised that your issue is urgent then you may have to wait anywhere within this time period to speak to a GP.   
  • Video consultations and picture messaging remains available to patients.  
  • The practice recommends that patients with long term conditions purchase their own blood pressure machines. You can share the results of these with the practice via e-consult.  

Telephone

  • Due to the pandemic the practice telephone system has had a huge increase in calls and patient contact. We apologise in advance for any long wait periods you may have had.   
  • Please do not call the surgery regarding COVID vaccinations; we will contact you to invite you to any clinics.   
  • Please do not abuse the staff who is working hard to action all requests as quickly as possible.   

Prescriptions

  • As of Friday 23rd April, prescription requests will no longer be accepted by phone.
  • There is prescription box at the entrance of the practice should you wish to drop any requests off. 
  • We will not be printing prescriptions were possible, they will sent be electronically direct to your nominated pharmacy. If you do not have a nominated pharmacy, please add this to the prescription request notes.

Vaccinations

  • The COVID vaccination programme has been a huge success so far, all patients over 50 years have been invited to have their vaccination.   
  • We are continuing to give vaccinations to our patients throughout the year.  
  • All vaccinations take place off site at Bellingham court:
     
    Bellingham Court Common Room
    University of Hertfordshire
    College Lane Campus (Westgate entrance)
    Roberts Way
    Off Bishops Rise
    Hatfield
    AL10 9UW
     
  • If you have been invited for a vaccination you must attend this address.   
  • We are aware the text confirmation currently has ‘Lister house surgery’ as the vaccination site. Regrettably our IT suppliers cannot currently correct this issue, but are aware of the problem.  
  • You MUST attend Bellingham court and not the practice for any COVID vaccinations. We do not have any vaccinations on site.    
  • Please do not contact the surgery regarding invitations we will contact you.   
  • You should ensure to attend your appointment at the COVID clinics and contact us as soon as possible if you are unable to do so. Nonattendance of clinics causes wastage of vaccinations that could have been used by another patient. We ask that you consider this when cancelling appointments.   
  • If you have not yet been invited, you can make an appointment at a mass vaccination centre online: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/

Text Messaging

  • The majority of our invitations to have a COVID vaccination will be via text message.  
  • The text allows you to select a link and book directly into a clinic time that suits you. If the clinics become full, we will message again once a new clinic is added.  
  • It is vital that the practice has a mobile number for you and that this is up to date.   
  • The practice uses a system called Accurex for patient messages and may ask you to complete a review or questionnaire via text from time to time.   

National Booking system  

Staff

  • Dr Barrett (F) is on maternity leave and is being covered by Dr L Haroon (F).   
  • Dr Ezekobe (F) is now a GP partner   
  • Dr Choudhry (M) is a salaried GP   
  • Nurse Rebecca Andrews (F) will be working with the practice from April 2021  

Thank you  

Finally the staff at the practice would like to thank all of you for your continued understanding and support during this difficult time. We truly care about our patient’s well-being and aim to support all of our patients as much as possible. Those of you that have offered kind words to staff means the world to the team and helps keep us everyone motivated. So thank you.