This page has details of where to look online for official and regularly updated advice as well information about the systems we have put in place as a practice in response to the evolving situation with Coronavirus/ Covid19 in the UK and globally.
This page has the following sections:
- General Information
- Caversham Group Practice – Current Situation.
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) – 5 things you can do to protect yourself and your community
- Information On Self Isolation
- NHS coronavirus (COVID-19) page for medical guidance for members of the public
- UK coronavirus (COVID-19) page for latest government information and travel advice
- Foreign and Commonwealth Office page if you are planning to travel abroad.
- Follow Public Health England or The Department of Health and Social Care on Twitter for regular updates.
Caversham Group Practice – Current Situation
We are moving to initial phone based contact for our patients not to stop you getting the care you need but to streamline what we are able to provide and minimise any risk to you and to staff in terms of the care we are giving.
With the Coronavirus pandemic, national guidance is rapidly evolving. Many of our patients are having to change their plans and make adaptations, such as not going to work, or cancellation of planned travel or activities. They may also have been advised to self-isolate, or have appropriately taken this decision themselves.
As you will appreciate, our team are under significant pressure at present, and we are having to prioritise care for unwell patients.
This means that we do not currently have the capacity to deal with some requests that we might normally be able to help with, including generating letters for employers, schools, travel and insurance companies.
The guidance is currently that patients can use the 111.nhs.uk service and if advised to self-isolate, can also provide a copy of this advice.
You can also include this communication from us to show why you are unable to obtain a letter.
Thank you for your understanding.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) – 5 things you can do to protect yourself and your community
In recent weeks cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been seen in an increasing number of countries across the world and we expect to see more cases here in the UK over the coming days and weeks.
The UK has well-established plans to deal with outbreaks of infectious disease and everyone can play an important role in making these plans work, slowing down the spread of coronavirus.
We try to slow the spread of coronavirus for a number of important reasons:
Firstly, we are still learning about COVID-19. At the moment we believe that the majority of people who get the disease will experience a mild illness, but because this is a new virus we are not complacent, and our scientists will continue to learn from evidence emerging both here and internationally.
Secondly, though we believe most people will have a mild illness, some older people or people with pre-existing health conditions will experience severe illness and we need to protect them.
Finally, trying to slow an outbreak so everyone isn’t sick at once is an important way to manage pressure on health services and prevent widespread staff sickness absence in our public services and businesses.
There some simple and effective actions everyone can take to protect themselves and their wider community:
One of the ways we become infected, or pass on viruses to others, is through the droplets in coughs and sneezes – for instance through someone who has a virus, coughing onto their hand, then touching a door handle.
1) Wash your hands frequently and catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue
A simple and effective way to protect yourself from coronavirus is by making sure you wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or a hand sanitiser if you are out and about. It’s particularly important to wash your hands once you get home or arrive at work or before you prepare or eat food.
If you are unwell it’s vital that you catch your coughs and sneezes in a tissue, or use your arm if needed, throw the tissues away, then wash your hands.
We’ve been promoting a “catch it, bin it, kill it” message through a public information campaign and further adverts will be seen across newspapers, online, TV and radio in the coming days.
2) Be prepared to self-isolate
If COVID-19 begins to spread in the community over the coming days or weeks, people with symptoms of coronavirus (such as a cough or fever) may be asked to self-isolate at home.
This may mean staying indoors and avoiding contact with other people for up to 14 days.
If the virus is spreading quickly, we may ask whole households to self-quarantine, if anyone in the home has symptoms.
It’s very important to point out that we expect that the majority of people who catch COVID-19 will not need to see a health professional as their symptoms will be mild, such as those you might expect with a cold or flu and treatable at home.
We understand that being asked to self-isolate could be inconvenient, frustrating or boring, particularly if you have mild symptoms and feel well enough to go out, but we will only ask people to do this if doctors and scientists believe it is necessary in order to slow the spread of coronavirus, protect people who are vulnerable and help the NHS manage capacity.
Look out for updates from Public Health England, the Department of Health and Social Care or the NHS who will let you know if and when we recommend self-isolation for people with symptoms. If you need to self-isolate, please read the important information below as it will explain what you need to do.
3) Plan ahead based on your situation
There are a number of ways to slow down an infectious disease outbreak. Well-established tactics include self-isolation as mentioned above, as well as measures sometimes referred to as “social distancing.”
One example of social distancing could be encouraging more working from home for instance, or another option could involve urging people to continue to go to work or school as usual, but reduce social activity or non-essential travel.
Looking ahead, what preparations could you put in place to help you self-isolate if you needed to?
Do you have friends or neighbours who could bring food to your house or run errands, or could you do online shopping?
Could you talk to your employer about opportunities to work from home if this became necessary?
If you might be more vulnerable to severe symptoms of coronavirus, have you considered the activities you have planned over the coming weeks, listing which are essential and which you could cancel if you needed to? Could you arrange to work from home?
Don’t forget to think of others too. Do you have friends, family or neighbours who might need extra help?
We understand that people will want to know whether and when any social distancing measures (such as home working and limiting travel, school closures or limiting public gatherings) could happen but it is not possible to confirm this now.
These measures would only be implemented if scientists and experts, including the UK’s Chief Medical Officers, decide they are necessary and proportionate, informed by the latest scientific evidence.
Any decision will balance both the need to protect people with the importance of maintaining day to day life such as going to work or school.
4) Use health services wisely
If in the coming weeks COVID-19 is spreading in the community this could mean the NHS is busier than usual so it’s important to think carefully about the NHS services you use.
If you start to experience symptoms and believe you could have coronavirus, do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital as you could pass the infection to others. Visit NHS.UK/coronavirus or call NHS 111 if you need to speak to someone.
The first cases of COVID-19 in the UK were taken to specialist hospital wards so we could learn more about the virus and prevent it spreading to anyone else, but if we begin to see the virus spreading in the community this approach will no longer be appropriate. It is unnecessary for everyone with COVID-19 to go to hospital as the majority will have mild symptoms.
We expect the majority of people who catch COVID-19 will make a full recovery without medical attention, but if you are concerned because you believe you are at greater risk, or feel your symptoms are becoming more severe, call NHS 111 or alternatively 999 in an emergency.
5) Stay up to date using trusted sources of information
Since COVID-19 began to spread quickly in China, it has been a major global news story and with this level of media and public interest it’s inevitable that myths, misinformation and rumours will be shared online.
The UK Government and the NHS will keep people informed of new advice and developments. Please check the links at the top of the page for advice frequently.
Information On Self Isolation
The link to the official UK advice and information on self- isolation can be found here.
Your local health protection team (HPT) and your doctor have agreed that you may stay at home while you wait for the results of tests for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. This is because you do not need to be admitted to hospital and because you have agreed to follow the important instructions described below.
1. Stay at home
You or the person you are caring for should remain in your home, except for getting medical care (see sections 3 and 8 before getting medical care). Do not go to work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis until you have been told that is safe to do so.
You will need to ask for help if you require groceries, other shopping or medications. Alternatively, you can order by phone or online. The delivery instruction needs to state that the items are to be left outside, or in the porch, or as appropriate for your home.
2. Separate yourself from other people in your home*
You should stay in a well-ventilated room with a window to the outside that can be opened, separate from other people in your home. Keep the door closed.
Use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household, if available. If you have to share these facilities, regular cleaning will be required. If a separate bathroom is not available, consideration should be given to drawing up a bathroom rota for washing or bathing, with the isolated person using the facilities last, before thoroughly cleaning the bathroom themselves (* if able or appropriate).
Ensure the isolated person uses separate towels from other household members, both for drying themselves after bathing or showering and for hand hygiene purposes.
If you live in shared accommodation (university halls of residence or similar) with a communal kitchen, bathroom(s) and living area, you should stay in your room with the door closed, only coming out when necessary, wearing a facemask if one has been issued to you.
If you share a kitchen with others (such as university halls of residence or similar), and if possible, avoid using it whilst others are present. If this is not possible then wear a facemask if you have been issued with one. Take your meals back to your room to eat. Use a dishwasher (if available) to clean and dry your used crockery and cutlery. If this is not possible, wash them by hand using detergent and warm water and dry them thoroughly, using a separate tea towel.
If these recommendations cannot be implemented, then home isolation should be avoided.
3. Call ahead before visiting your doctor
All medical appointments should be discussed in advance with your designated medical contact, using the number that has been provided to you. This is so the surgery or hospital can take steps to minimise contact with others.
4. Wear a facemask if advised to
If you have been provided with facemasks, then you should wear the mask when you are in the same room with other people and when you visit a healthcare provider. If you cannot wear a facemask, the people who live with you should wear one while they are in the same room with you.
5. Cover your coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue when you cough or sneeze. Carers of others undergoing testing for COVID-19 infection should use disposable tissues to wipe away any mucus or phlegm after they have sneezed or coughed.
Dispose of tissues into a plastic waste bag (see note 10. below for managing rubbish), and immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds rinse and dry thoroughly. Carers should wash their hands as well as helping the person they are caring for following coughing or sneezing
6. Wash your hands
Wash your hands or assist the person you are caring for in washing their 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 SARS-CoV-2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
7. Avoid sharing household items
You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items with other people in your home when you have used them (or after your child or the person you are caring for has used them). After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water; dishwashers may be used to clean crockery and cutlery.
Laundry, bedding and towels should be placed in a plastic bag and washed once it is known that the tests for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) are negative. If this is not possible and you need to wash the laundry see below for further advice on handling laundry.
8. Do not have visitors in your home
Only those who live in your home should be allowed to stay. Do not invite or allow visitors to enter. If you think there is an essential need for someone to visit, then discuss it with your designated medical contact first. If it is urgent to speak to someone who is not a member of your household, do this over the phone.
9. If you have pets in the household
Try to keep away from your pets. If this is unavoidable, wash your hands before and after contact.
If you need to wash the laundry at home before the results are available, then wash all laundry at the highest temperature compatible for the fabric using laundry detergent. This should be above 60 degrees C. If possible tumble dry and iron using the highest setting compatible with the fabric.
Wear disposable gloves and a plastic apron when handling soiled materials if possible and clean all surfaces and the area around the washing machine.
Do not take laundry to a laundrette.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling dirty laundry (remove gloves first if used).
All waste that has been in contact with the individual, including used tissues, and masks if used, should be put in a plastic rubbish bag and tied when full. The plastic bag should then be placed in a second bin bag and tied.
Do not dispose of it or put it out for collection until you know that patient does not have novel coronavirus.
Should the individual test positive, you will be instructed what to do with the waste.
12. Monitor your symptoms (or the person you are caring for, as appropriate)
Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening, for example, if you have difficulty breathing, or if the person you are caring for symptoms are worsening. If it’s not an emergency, you should call your designated medical contact point using the number that has been provided to you.
If it is an emergency and you need to call an ambulance, inform the call handler or operator that you are being tested for SARS-CoV-2 (or that you are caring for someone being tested for SARS-CoV-2, as appropriate).
13. What to do if you have a negative result
If you are tested and receive a negative result for COVID-19 and you have travelled to a specified Category 1 country or area, please continue to self isolate until you have been back in the UK for 14 days, even if your symptoms have gone.
If you receive a negative result and have travelled to a specified Category 2 country or area, please continue to self isolate until either your symptoms have gone or you have been back in the UK for 14 days, whichever is sooner.
If you receive a negative result and have had contact with a person known to have had COVID-19 you should remain in isolation until the end of the 14 day period.
If you develop new symptoms or your existing symptoms worsen within your 14 day isolation period then please call NHS 111 and follow their advice.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
As you will appreciate the Covid19 situation is changing quite rapidly so check here for the most up to date countries and areas affected.
We will aim to keep our website updated with any changes to our service as the situation with coronavirus changes. We are grateful for your patience and support during this busy period.