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Coronavirus COVID-19 please return BP machines

We have a Medical Equipment Fund for donations kindly given by the community. Some donations come after funeral collections whereas others may be from patients, visitors or after specific local fundraising events. However they may arise, the Practice would like to express its grateful thanks to all those who have given so generously.

Donated funds are kept separate from other practice accounts and used for the purchase of medical equipment not normally provided by the NHS. Recent purchases from the fund include an ECG machine used by GPs out of hours. We also have lots of portable blood pressure monitors that can be borrowed by patients to monitor their BP at home.

One of the unintended consequences of the change to our service delivery during the pandemic is that patients are not visiting the surgeries to return loan BP machines. They are more important than ever now we are returning to routine disease monitoring. If you have a practice BP machine at home could you please return it to the surgery as soon as it is no longer needed. Just drop it off at the door when you are passing and ring the door bell to let us know that it needs picked up.

We are very grateful to all those who contribute in any way to the equipment fund; the whole community benefits from your generosity.

Coronavirus COVID-19 next steps UPDATED 22 JUNE

As we emerge from lockdown and the national alert level is reduced we must stay vigilant against the pandemic. There is a concern that we may experience a sustained rise in infection or a “second wave”. Please continue to practise hand hygiene and social distancing.

Your GP Practice is still here to help you when you are unwell. Please contact us by phone if you wish to make an appointment. For the time being we will continue to keep our doors closed and to reduce footfall in the surgeries but we can offer telephone or video appointments plus will arrange to see patients face to face when clinically necessary.

We are recruiting for a GP

Our advert is on the NHS Scotland jobs website:
https://jobs.scot.nhs.uk/_Details.aspx?vacNo=613145

And is also to be carried in the British Medical Journal:
https://jobs.bmj.com/job/102549/flexible-gp-opportunity/

Full details also can be viewed found in this document GP Advert

Coronavirus COVID-19 patient testing

Testing for virus infection is now available in Scotland for health & social care key workers and for anyone aged 5 or over with symptoms. Please do not call us to request testing. There are government testing portals and the NHS Inform website has an online guide that patients should complete to find out whether you qualify as a key worker or under other rules.

The NHS Inform guide can be found at www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-testing or follow the coronavirus link from the NHS Inform front page.

Video consultations can be requested

We have the technology! If patients have a smart device connected to the internet with a camera (smartphone, iPad, laptop, PC + webcam, etc.) then we can offer a video consultation with clinicians. Clearly there will be circumstances when this is not appropriate, for example a blood test, but often video can offer a richer experience than a telephone call.

Please feel free to request a video consultation when booking your appointment. We can also offer an option to include more than one participant in the video consultation such as a relative who is living elsewhere.

Coronavirus COVID-19 how to order repeat medication

Our Vision Online Services repeat medication ordering is available. This service allows patients to login to a secure website and select your own repeat medication to order from what is available to you. The system will tell you if a request is in progress and allows the exchange of simple messages such as requesting additional medication that is not on your repeats list.

To sign up for online services you will need an email address and access to the internet. The email address must be specific to one person and not shared. To sign up telephone your local surgery and be prepared to confirm your identity over the phone and we will help you get set up for the service.

Patients can also request repeat medication either by calling their local surgery when we are open and choosing option 2 or by calling our dedicated phonelines on 712358 (Gairloch) or 731599 (Aultbea) at any time.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Shielding letters for Highest Risk patients UPDATED 9 JUNE

Certain patients at very high risk of both catching the virus and of a severe illness if they do so were sent a letter by the Scottish Government in early April. These patients are being offered additional help and advice to keep them safe. They are advised to stay at home. Services have been put in place to provide access to food and medication.

A second letter has been sent confirming that Shielding is being extended until at least 31 July. It is now possible for these patients to leave the house for exercise as long as they strictly maintain social distancing.

Highland Council have a dedicated phone line for Shielding patients to register their details and access support: 01349 886669. Alternatively Shielding patients can complete the online form at www.highland.gov.uk/shielding.

There is also a free national helpline for Shielding patients at 0800 111 4000.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Medication deliveries UPDATED 1 JUNE

Medication dispensed by Gairloch Pharmacy will be delivered directly to patients' homes by either your local Royal Mail posties or by a community volunteer, depending on which post round covers your household. Order your medication in your usual way and then it will be delivered to your house. Please wait at least 4 working days for your medication to be delivered. So for example if you leave a message ordering your meds on Tuesday night it may take until the folowing Monday's regular post to be with you (Wed Thurs Fri Mon are working days in this example).

Do not contact the surgery to ask about your medication delivery. Do not contact the Gairloch Pharmacy by phone or email to ask about your delivery. Please wait and it will come to you.

There are a small number of medication types that cannot be delivered by this method e.g. items requiring refrigeration or additional safe custody. We will work with our pharmacy colleagues to deliver this medication directly to our patients or where appropriate it will be available to collect from the Aultbea Surgery.

Coronavirus COVID-19 advice for visitors UPDATED 3 JULY 2020

Now that the Scottish Government guidance around travel for leisure purposes has changed the Practice is able to offer appointments to visitors to the area. Visitors who need to make an appointment should phone their local surgery on 01445 731221 (Aultbea) or 712229 (Gairloch) to arrange a telephone or video consultation. Please do not turn up at the surgery as our doors are closed to everyone except where a face to face consultation has been prearranged with a clinician.

In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the ambulance service. Dialling 999 will work from any phone even if you do not have a signal from your usual provider.

Coronavirus COVID-19 websites

NHS Inform - self isolation and self care advice for Scotland www.nhsinform.scot

Health Protection Scotland - more detailed guidance and evidence www.hps.scot.nhs.uk

UK Govt - guidance for households self isolating https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

NHS UK - get an isolation note for your employer https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note 

UK Govt - guidance for employees and employers UK Govt advice

Scottish Govt information about volunteering Ready Scotland

Highland Council support for high risk Shielding patients www.highland.gov.uk/shielding.

GP Near Me link for patients to access the video consultation service (needs either Chrome or Safari browser)

https://nhsattend.vc/gpnearme/aultbea-gairloch

Coronavirus COVID-19 advice for patients

We have changed the way we offer our services. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by these changes but they are necessary to protect our clinicians, staff and the wider community.

Patients should not come to the surgery but should telephone us. The door to both Gairloch and Aultbea surgery buildings will be locked. We are offering telephone and video (where technology permits) appointments. If after speaking to a clinician it is agreed that you should be seen face to face then we will arrange this with you at the time.

Our telephone system has extra capacity and we will try to answer your questions as quickly as possible. Please help us to help you by not calling us first thing in the morning. This is the time to leave the telephone lines clear so patients who are seriously unwell can access a clinician. Do not ring the practice for advice about self isolation. Further information can be found on NHS Inform or by ringing the national patient helpline (details below). Patients who require a note for their employer to confirm they are self isolating should follow this link.

We must try to avoid healthcare workers including surgery staff from being infected. They will then have to self-isolate and we will be unable to offer a service to our community. If clinicians are infected they may unknowingly transmit the infection to our more vulnerable patients who are at risk of severe illness or death.

Our online appointments service has been temporarily disabled and this will continue to be the case while we are not booking face to face appointments. To reorder medication please use the online prescription service or leave a voice message by phoning the dedicated phoneline for your local surgery. Paper prescription requests can be posted in letter boxes at the surgery buildings but please consider whether it is really necessary for you to visit the building before doing so.

If you have questions about COVID-19 but you are otherwise well check the NHS Inform website. If unable to get online there is a dedicated coronavirus patient helpline on 0800 028 2816.

If you are required to self isolate then further advice can be found on the Health Protection Scotland website or NHS Inform. There is UK government stay at home guidance for patients who are self-isolating.

Tick bites and lyme disease

Ticks are small, spider-like creatures which feed on the blood of animals and humans. Some of them carry Lyme disease which is an infectious disease which can be treated with antibiotics if detected early. However the best way of protecting against Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites or if bitten to remove the tick safely from the skin as soon as possible.

The practice has a number of resources available to help patients deal with tick bites and for advice when concerned, including translated versions in French and German. They can be found on our Tick Bites webpage following the Tick bites link under Further Information.

Our practice patient information leaflet has been updated with the latest guidance:

Tick bites patient leaflet

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