Coronavirus COVID-19 Practice Newsletter
We have produced a newsletter that looks back at how things have changed this year and includes some statistics about how we are delivering services.
Coronavirus COVID-19 GP Practices are changing
We are recruiting for a new GP
Retirement has created an opportunity for an enthusiastic General Practitioner to join our relaxed and friendly team. For more details see the following advert:
Flu campaign for 2020/21 - UPDATED 16 NOVEMBER
We have held 3 separate drive through clinics for this year's flu vaccination campaign. We do not have sufficient vaccine supplies to support another clinic at this time. We expect to be told soon when & how we can receive additional vaccine for 55 to 64 year old patients who are not otherwise in an at risk group. When we have more vaccine we will announce further clinic date(s).
We cannot make separate appointments for flu vaccination at the surgeries.
There is more general information about flu immunisation on the NHS Inform website
Coronavirus COVID-19 use of face coverings UPDATED 17 NOVEMBER
Please wear a face covering if visiting the surgery. Unlike when visiting a shop or using public transport it is NOT mandatory to wear a face covering but if you do so it will help us all reduce the risk of further infection. Please use your own preferred method of covering your mouth and nose that is made of cloth or other textiles and through which you can breathe.
Patients who develop any Covid symptoms (persistent cough, fever, loss of sense of taste or smell) should NOT attend the surgery. In this case follow the national guidance on self-isolation and testing. Contact the surgery by telephone to rearrange your appointment.
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 patient testing UPDATED 27 AUGUST
Testing for virus infection is available in Scotland for health & social care key workers and for anyone 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. Tests can also be booked by calling 0800 028 2816. Do not call NHS24 111 to book at test.
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. Practice link for video consultations: https://nhsattend.vc/gpnearme/aultbea-gairloch
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 highest risk patients UPDATED 30 OCTOBER
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 (SG) in early April. SG announced that shielding is paused from 1 August.
SG send a further letter last week with details of the new 5 tier protection levels and encouraging Shielding Patients to follow the guidance issued to their local protection level as a minimum. The letter also provides details of how shielding patients can send a text to receive 4 months supply of vitamin D supplements. It is not necessary to contact the GP surgery to access vitamin supplements.
Household members of shielding patients can receive the flu vaccination in this year's flu campaign.
Coronavirus COVID-19 Medication deliveries UPDATED 5 AUGUST
Gairloch Pharmacy has announced that the volunteer service providing medication deliveries to everyone in the local area is no longer available with effect from Monday 3 August. Patients should arrange to collect their medication from the pharmacy of their choice.
The Gairloch Pharmacy has announced they have worked with local community representatives to arrange a weekly medication delivery service to help those patients who are unable to arrange to collect their medication in person. Details of the new service are included in the pharmacy announcement.
The doors to both practice surgeries remain closed to anyone without a prearranged face to face appointment. We must continue to reduce footfall in the surgeries so for the foreseeable future it is not possible to restart medication collections from the Aultbea Surgery which ceased in March.
It would be helpful if patients could try to order all medication items at one time to save repeated trips to the pharmacy.
Coronavirus COVID-19 websites UPDATED 19 AUGUST 2020
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 Government collected Covid-19 guidance SG Covid-19 guidance
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)
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