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. Testing is NOT available from your GP practice. 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
Certain patients at very high risk of severe illness if they catch the coronavirus have been sent a letter by the Scottish Government. These patients are being offered additional help and advice to keep them safe. They are advised to stay at home and not leave for any reason. Services are being put in place to provide access to food and medication.
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.
We will be in touch with each Shielding patient to ensure they have received the letter and understood its contents. Example of Shielding Letter
Anyone who has not received a Shielding patient letter but requires support to self-isolate should call the Highland Council helpline at 0300 303 1362 or from Tuesday 14 April there is a Scottish Government helpline on 0800 111 4000.
Coronavirus COVID-19 Medication deliveries AMENDED FROM 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
The Practice has advised NHS Highland that due to the extraordinary nature of the challenges we are facing we are no longer offering routine healthcare to visitors to the area. We are working hard to maintain a service to our own registered patients. We do not have the capacity to also look after those in second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays.
This is in line with latest national guidance about non-essential travel.
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)
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 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. We have the facility to arrange consultations by video link where technology permits.
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 will move to avoid or postpone all routine care where possible. This is particularly true for practice nurse appointments for routine bloods, reviews, etc. If your condition changes or you become unwell please get in touch with your local surgery.
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 the 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 then it is possible to contact NHS24 for advice on 111 at any time. This is a change from previous advice where 111 was only to be used out of hours.
The practice phone lines are experiencing unprecedented levels of demand. Please think twice before ringing us especially to ask questions where the answers can be found online. For example consider phoning a friend or family member who might be able to access NHS Inform if you are struggling. Our phone lines need to be kept clear for people who are unwell.
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.
There is a dedicated coronavirus patient helpline on 0800 028 2816.
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