27 Mar 2020

Latest coronavirus (Covid-19) advice for members of the public (updated 27 March) including social distancing guidance.

The latest guidance from the government on social distancing can be found here which includes information on the most vulnerable groups who are at increased risk of seriouus illness from coronavirus.

Following the new restrictions announced by the Prime Minister on 23 March, pharmacies remain open.  For any minor illness (that doesn't fit possible coronavirus symptoms - below) please contact your local pharmacist for advice.

Everyone is asked to only leave their homes for specific reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities - use delivery services where possible
  • medical reasons - to provide help or care for a vulnerable person
  • daily exercise
  • travelling to and from work but only if it is absolutely necessary.

 

GP appointments and prescriptions

Following national guidance issued from NHS England, many GP practices are no longer accepting appointment bookings in person -  if you need an appointment please telephone the surgery. This allows practices to triage patients over the phone before carrying out a face to face consultation if required.

If you need to order a prescription, please go online to your GP practice’s website or use the post box in the foyer. All prescriptions will be sent electronically to your local pharmacy for collection. 

They are also using technology and have a system called e-consult for anyone who needs to see a doctor for non-urgent conditions. This is available on all GP practice websites and patients will receive a response within 48 hours.

 

Coronavirus symptoms

If you have a new, continuous cough and/or a high temperature (37.8 or above) or live with someone who has these symptoms, DO NOT attend the GP practice - you must stay at home. There is no need to contact the practice or NHS 111 unless your symptoms get worse or persist for more than 7 days. You will not be tested for coronavirus.  Patients have also reported a lack of taste and smell.

To manage your symptoms at home, drink plenty of fluids, get plenty of rest and use over the counter medicines to treat your symptoms.

If your symptoms worsen or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

For more information visit gov.uk/coronavirus

DO NOT go to a GP surgery, Urgent Treatment Centre or hospital if you have flu-like symptoms. Visit nhs.uk/coronavirus or gov.uk/coronavirus for more advice.

Easy read coronavirus advice is available here

Public Health England have published guidance for care homes available here. 

Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also be infected by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.

Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict regulations. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of the hospital and returned home also in isolation. Any equipment that come into contact with suspected cases are thoroughly cleaned as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others.  Patients can be reassured that their safety is a top priority.

Everyone is asked to follow Public Health England advice to reduce the spread of all viruses and hand washing information:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Hand hygiene remains the single most factor in reducing the risk of infection. Currently, hand hygiene is advised for Covid-19:

  • after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
  • before leaving home
  • on arrival at school/workplace
  • after travelling on public transport
  • after using the toilet
  • after breaks and sporting activities
  • before food preparation
  • before eating any food, including snacks
  • before leaving school/workplace.

Hands should be washed using warm water and soap liquid soap is preferred as shared bar soap can become contaminated with germs/micro-organisms, which can then be passed from one person to another.  This is the reason that only liquid soap is used in healthcare settings. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available on visibly clean hands.

This should be done often and thoroughly with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, rinse and dry thoroughly. The same applies to those caring for anyone that is being tested for Covid-19. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.