Frequently Asked Questions during Coronavirus outbreak

We want to reassure you that Coronavirus will be mild for the vast majority. Therefore, we need to protect our vulnerable and elderly patients.

If you have:

  • A new, continuous cough
  • High temperature (of 37.8 degrees centigrade or higher)

You need to self-isolate for 7 days if you live alone or if there are other people in the household, keep everyone at home for 14 days.

  • Anyone with these symptoms who is WELL can just stay at home and does not need to ring 111 or be tested
  • Anyone with these symptoms who is UNWELL should go to 111 online for advice, they must NOT go to the GP – the 111 team will assess and advise

If someone has serious symptoms that they cannot manage at home they need to call NHS 111.

Key websites on Coronavirus

Government Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp

The Government has launched a new, free service on WhatsApp to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (Covid-19) and reduce the burden on NHS services.

This is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will allow the British public to get answers to the most common questions about coronavirus direct from government. It will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting. The service will also allow the Government to send messages to all opted-in users if required.

To use the service, add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message.

Where can I find advice about social distancing?

This GOV.UK page has all the advice you need about who should be social distancing and what it means: www.gov.uk/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing

Am I considered at very high risk from COVID-19?

The UK Government wants to ‘shield’ those that are at very high risk of illness from COVID-19. Patients in that group will receive a communication to let them know if they are in the very high risk group. Details on what that means can be found here: www.gov.uk/guidance-on-shielding

How do I get a sick note if I’m self-isolating?

If you have been told to self-isolate for 7 days or more, either by official advice, www.111.nhs.uk/isolation-note. This would be available to those with Coronavirus symptoms and also those living with someone who has symptoms.

Please note that you can only get an isolation note if you have been told to stay at home by official advice, NHS 111 or a healthcare professional.

Where can I find help or volunteer to help others?

A community help hub has been set up to match local people who need help with others who can provide the help they need. At times like this we all need to support each other to cope with the changes to our lifestyles we will have to make in order to delay the spread of Covid-19.

This hub is a collaboration between all local councils, police and health services.

If you can offer help to others, or you need help yourself please go to: www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/gloucestershires-community-help-hub

How do I get an appointment with the doctor or nurse?

To try and keep patients and staff safe we are trying to keep the number of patients in the practice to a minimum. All doctor appointments will now be on the telephone as most problems can he dealt with safely this way. We are offering video consultations via smartphones and tablets were appropriate.

Doctors will be giving priority to urgent problems by phone assessment.

Some patients will have to attend specialist clinics in Cheltenham for further assessment.

We will be providing nurse appointments for essential problems and monitoring. Routine chronic disease reviews will be put on hold in most cases.

For patients who are coming to the surgery, we will call you to screen for coronavirus symptoms and anyone arriving at the surgery will have their temperature checked before they enter the building.

What is the dispensary opening hours at WMC?

Our dispensary will only be open for collecting prescriptions and medicines between 09:00-11:00 and 15:00-18:00 and can be collated via the dispensary window via the car park.

Can I order medication early?

Please DO NOT request prescription items early – We are not issuing medicines in advance of due date.

As per government advice, we are only issuing one monthly scripts at a time.  Ordering items before their due date may create a shortage or reduce the availability of medicines. There are not currently any concerns nationally about the supply, or future availability, of medicines.

We trust that you understand the need to avoid stockpiling medicines which will cause problems for everyone.

Can I request an inhaler just in case?

We have had a lot of requests for inhalers and nebules from people who do not have asthma, or who have not had symptoms for over a year.

A past history of asthma, not requiring current treatment is NOT thought to be a significant risk for the severity of covid-19 and so please do NOT request inhalers “just in case”.

I take inhalers regularly for my asthma – what should I do?

Please continue to order your medication as normal. We will provide prescriptions for your usual inhalers for one month at a time, as usual. If you are running low on your reliever inhaler (blue/salbutamol/Ventolin) we can provide an extra inhaler.

I have a diagnosis of asthma but do not take regular steroid inhalers – can I request inhalers?

If you have not had prescriptions of inhalers for 12 months or more, we will not issue a prescription.

If you become ill and feel you need inhalers you should contact the surgery and will be directed to have a triage phone call with a clinician. If you have had a salbutamol inhaler in the last 12 months, we may issue one inhaler.

If you have had a steroid or combination inhaler in the last three months, we may issue an inhaler.

I have a diagnosis of asthma and I have read I need a ‘rescue pack’ at home.

Rescue packs of steroids and/or antibiotics are part of the treatment plan for some, but not all, patients with asthma. We will be providing rescue packs for patients we have identified as high risk or those that have required emergency treatment with steroids and antibiotics over the last year.  During the pandemic you MUST speak to a doctor before starting your reserve steroids.

I have asthma and I am concerned by symptoms are getting worse – what should I do?

If you are concerned that your asthma is getting worse please contact the surgery for a phone appointment with a doctor.

I would like an extra set of medication at home ‘just in case’.

We are not anticipating shortages of medication. We will not be providing “just in case” routine medications.

What do I do with my urine sample?

Urine samples can be placed in the black letter box outside the front door at WMC. They must be in a sealed plastic bag with name and date of birth attached.

Urine samples dropped off to us must have been requested by a clinician.

How is it going at the Medical Centre?

We are trying our best to maintain a safe and effective service in a rapidly changing situation. Everyone at the surgery recognises the difficulties and stresses that coronavirus is causing for our patients.

The staff at the medical centre are experiencing the same stresses and strains as everyone else and we are subject to the same advice regarding self-isolation – we already have several members of clinical and non-clinical staff not able to work.

We have staff working at home whenever we can so don’t be surprised to be called by a GP or nurse from home.

We thank our patients for their understanding and we appreciate the many messages of support with we have already received.

Are there any cases in Winchcombe?

We have had confirmed cases within our community and need the residents of Winchcombe to keep up your dedication in following social distancing and self-isolation guidelines. We want to again reassure you that Coronavirus will be mild for the vast majority, therefore we need to continue to protect our vulnerable and elderly patients.