Government Guidance on Face Masks
Please do not contact us to provide risk assessments or letters for patients who are worried about the new government guidance and feel they should be exempt from wearing a face mask. Similarly, we will not provide letters of support for anyone who does not fall under the list of exemptions but considers them to have another reason to be exempted. GPs are not in a position to provide these.
Government advice on the use of face coverings can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#face-coverings . This link includes a list of reasons why someone might be exempt from wearing a face covering.
There is no requirement for evidence for exemption. Therefore it is sufficient for an individual to self-declare this.
Information Regarding Appointments and Medication
The surgery building is closed to patients to prevent transmission of COVID-19, and enforce social isolation. However, the surgery remains open.
All contacts with the surgery is by phone, please be patient, the phone lines are extremely busy. Only patients, for whom it is absolutely essential, will be seen face-to-face.
Any routine matters should be put in writing and posted through the letterbox, these will be processed as time allows.
All routine clinic appointments both at the surgery and hospital have been postponed, to enable focus on COVID-19.
Please continue to request your repeat medications either in writing, using Patient Access, or the NHS app.
Allow us 48 hours to process your prescription request, and the pharmacy 72 hours to produce your medications.
Information Regarding Coronavirus (Covid-19)
The 111 service is dealing will all aspects of COVID-19.
More info can be found at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
NHS 111 online service has created coronavirus pages that tell patients what they should do based on their particular circumstances: https://111.nhs.uk/service/covid-19
There is a coronavirus symptom checker: www.111.nhs.uk/covid-19
For those of you self-isolating, your employer may require a isolation note, visit: www.111.nhs.uk/isolation-note
Those people most at risk have been advised to access help by visiting: www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable
You can receive support of an NHS volunteer responder via: www.goodsamapp.nhs.org/nhs.
Privacy Notice (COVID-19 amendment) - Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and sharing your information
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recognises the unprecedented challenges the NHS and other health professionals are facing during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The ICO also recognise that 'Public bodies may require additional collection and sharing of personal data to protect against serious threats to public health.'
The Government have also taken action in respect of this and on 20th March 2020 the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care issued a Notice under Regulation 3(4) of The Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 requiring organisations such as GP Practices to use your (patient) information to help GP Practices and other healthcare organisations to respond to and deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The relevant COPI notice states that its purpose: “…is to require organisations to process confidential patient information for the purposes set out in Regulation 3(1) of COPI to support the Secretary of State’s response to Covid-19 (Covid-19 Purpose). “Processing” for these purposes is defined in Regulation 3(2) and includes dissemination of confidential patient information to persons and organisations permitted to process confidential patient information under Regulation 3(3) of COPI.”
In particular, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the COPI notice, the Secretary of State for Health has directed that the following steps be taken:
Temporarily removing the requirement for patients to provide prior explicit consent to share Additional Information through the Summary Care Record; and
Enabling GP Connect for all GP practices nationally
The COPI notice states that data shared pursuant to these changes is only to be used for a ‘COVID-19 Purpose’ (as defined in the notice).
In order to look after your healthcare needs during this difficult time, we may be required to share your personal information, including medical records, with clinical and non-clinical staff who belong to organisations that are permitted to use your information and need to use it to help deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. This could (amongst other measures) consist of either treating you or a member of your family and enable other healthcare organisations to monitor the disease, assess risk and manage the spread of the disease.
Please be assured that we will only share information and health data that is necessary to meet yours and public healthcare needs.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has also stated that these measures are temporary and will expire on 30th September 2020 unless a further extension is required. Any further extension will be will be provided in writing and we will communicate the same to you.
Please also note that the data protection and electronic communication laws do not stop us from sending public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email as these messages are not direct marketing.
It may also be necessary, where the latest technology allows us to do so, to use your information and health data to facilitate digital consultations and diagnoses and we will always do this with your security in mind.