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Help fight COVID-19 by aiding research

PRINCIPLE is a nationwide clinical study from the University of Oxford to find COVID-19 treatments for the over 50s that can be taken at home. For further information or to register for the study, please click on the following link: www.principletrial.org

Dear Vale Patients

We understand that there have been many frustrations during this very challenging period. We want to keep you up to date with some changes we have made to continue to keep our service safe and improve day to day care. Our whole team has been working throughout lockdown to deliver care safely and effectively for all our patients.

Like all practices, we are operating a system of initial triage (usually by telephone) to determine if someone needs to see a clinician in person.

We already had a well-established telephone triage system (8.30-10.30) which we are able to continue using to speak to patients before they attend. This is to ensure they do not have COVID-19 symptoms before being seen for any necessary face-face treatment. We have also found that many things do not need a traditional face-face appointment to be dealt with safely and efficiently.

We see patients when necessary after telephone triage. We follow guidelines using appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) for any face-face patient contacts.

We have adopted video consultations where needed to reduce face-to-face contact. We also employ an easy-to-use system whereby patients can text photos to aid diagnosing conditions and to increase the effectiveness of remote consultations.

We are using Electronic Prescribing System (EPS) for most prescriptions and are operating a texting service for documents and pictures. This is to minimise the need to visit the surgery for administrative matters.

Patients can also submit queries by email to vale.practice@nhs.net. This usually is most appropriate for issues of a more administrative nature.

New team members

We have been very lucky to welcome three new GP Registrars (Dr Jessica Engler, Dr Narin Zorlu and Dr Nosa Ogbemudia) as of August 2020. We say goodbye to our previous 2 Registrars Dr Simon Black and Dr Carys Lewis, who have now completed their training. Furthermore, Dr Joanna Cowan has recently come back from maternity leave. We now have new staff members – a Clinical Pharmacist (Eidin Moshksar) and a Social Prescriber, (Karen Davis). Eidin Moshskar is a qualified pharmacist with experience in hospital work as well as in general practice. He will be helping the team with management of long-term conditions and with his expertise, help with medication reviews and queries.

These two relatively new roles are primary care network (PCN) appointments so they will be working at The Vale part-time. They will now form an integral part of the practice team contributing largely to management of long-term conditions.

We are also now participating in supporting the training of Medical Students from University College London (UCL) Medical School. They have been taught how to administer flu immunisations and carry out some examinations.

Over the coming months we will be working with our new team to improve and streamline the annual reviews of patients with long-term conditions.

Visiting the Practice

Many of you have visited the Practice over the past months to see Doctors, Nurses, or our Pharmacist, so you may be aware of the measures we have taken to keep the Practice safe.

Please:

  • Wear a mask. You will not be able to walk in without one. Please speak to reception if you need help in purchasing a mask
  • We have limited space for patients to wait in a socially distanced fashion in our waiting room. Please follow the guidance of our staff. At busy times you may be asked to wait outside, where the clinician will still call you. Follow the signs if coming in for Flu immunisations and please listen to instructions if you are attending because you are not well
  • Attend your appointment alone if possible and just before your appointment time to limit the wait you have at the Practice
  • Follow social distancing on the way to and whilst visiting the practice
  • Ensure you follow any advice as displayed on posters or advised by our staff
  • Use hand sanitiser on entry to the Practice – a dispenser is available at the entrance
  • Try to use the toilet and wash your hands before leaving home – there are limited toilet facilities available at the Practice.
  • Please do not attend if you are isolating because you (or any member of your household) have any symptoms of COVID-19
  • We also want to assure you we are doing everything we can to protect our staff during this period. More specifically: 
  • We have carried out a risk assessment. This has led to actions (some of which are detailed above) to ensure the safety of our staff and patients.
  • We have also risk assessed our staff members following latest guidance and advice and modified their roles accordingly.
  • We follow Government and NHS advice and guidance and keep our staff updated with this - particularly by adherence to social distancing, the use of face masks and frequent hand washing. We have installed a new sneeze screen in reception to enhance the safety of both reception staff and patients.
  • We ensure that there is regular cleaning of frequently used areas, and all staff have refreshed their infection control training.
  • We have installed wall-mounted hand sanitising stations throughout the Practice to facilitate hand sanitising by both staff and patients.  
  • For further information please visit www.nhs.uk

We very much value our relationship with our patients and your continued support as we endeavour to continue to deliver the best service we can in these difficult times. 

For further information please visit www.nhs.uk