IMPORTANT PATIENT NOTICE
DUE TO THE HUGE NUMBER OF TELEPHONE QUERIES THE TELEPHONE LINES INTO THE HEALTH CENTRE ARE EXTREMELY BUSY
OUR LINES ARE NOT DOWN OR BROKEN - OUR STAFF ARE ANSWERING EVERY CALL THAT GETS THROUGH AS QUICKLY AS THEY POSSIBLY CAN
PLEASE USE OUR ONLINE SYSTEM TO ORDER PRESCRIPTIONS – MAKING SURE TO ADD YOUR CHOICE OF PHARMACY TO THE ORDER
ADDITIONAL CONTACT NUMBERS FOR CASTLE PRACTICE
07851 962 861
07851 962 863
07851 962 964
07851 963 536
PLEASE READ AND FOLLOW ALL OF THE BELOW ADVICE RE COVID-19 BEFORE RINGING THE SURGERY
NOTICE TO PATIENTS – 29.07.2020
An update on our current services
Please be aware it will not be possible for us to return to normal patient services until further guidance has been issued by the PHA and Government departments however in the meantime we are trying to facilitate your requests as best we can within the current social distancing guidelines
ADVICE TO PATIENTS WHO ARE VERY HIGH RISK TO COVID, CURRENTLY SHIELDING - You will receive a letter regarding this in the coming days.
As a result of our combined efforts, the risk of coming into contact with COVID 19 in Northern Ireland is now much lower.
If the risk continues to remain low, the current assessment is that, from 31 July 2020, you will no longer need to follow the current shielding advice.
In the interim and because of the lower risk, from 6 July 2020, there will also be the introduction of some further easements to the current shielding guidance, and these are outlined below.
EASEMENTS FROM 6 JULY 2020
From 6 July 2020, people who are following the shielding advice will now be able to meet up to six people outside of their home, as long as social distancing is strictly observed.
If you are shielding alone, you can also form a support bubble with one other household. Where you form a bubble:
- social distancing is not required with the other household in your bubble; this will allow you to visit, stay over and spend more time with the second household;
- the second household can be of any size; and
- both households should not be part of more than one bubble and should continue to socially distance outside the bubble.
You can find more information on support bubbles here COVID19 Regulations, guidance and what they mean to you
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER 31 JULY 2020?
After 31 July 2020, providing the Covid-19 risk remains low, you will not have to shield. That will mean your personal “lockdown” will no longer apply.
However, you must continue to follow public health advice at all times and be really strict about social distancing and washing your hands.
Even though the risk of coming into contact with the virus is much lower, you still need to be careful because you remain more vulnerable than the general population. So you must follow the advice that is given to people who are deemed generally vulnerable, for example people with asthma or people over 70. This is about minimising any risk as much as possible, being aware that all contacts with the outside world must be managed really carefully.
Keep your distance, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, avoid touching hard surfaces if you are out. Wherever possible, avoid enclosed spaces where social distancing is hard to maintain – such as public transport and shops.
It is important to remember that because of your underlying condition, COVID-19 will remain a threat to you. At the same time, it is accepted that shielding has been really difficult and being stuck indoors indefinitely is bad for mental and physical health. What we all have to do in these difficult times is try to strike the right balance.
You can get more advice at this website: Advice for Vulnerable People
PLEASE CONTINUE TO SEEK ADVICE REGARDING MEDICAL PROBLEMS – Your call will be “Triaged” by a GP or Nurse Practitioner and where possible we will try to help you remotely, by telephone, video call or if necessary, only by GP arrangement, by asking you to come to the Health Centre at a specific time.
AN ARRANGED APPOINTMENT – Should this happen and the GP asks you to attend the Health Centre:-
- The GP or Nurse arranging the appointment will ask you to remain in your car in the Health Centre Car Park, at the time of the allocated appointment.
- The GP or Nurse will then ring you when they are free to see you and ask you to proceed to the front entrance of the building.
- Please do not leave the car or approach the building before receiving this call.
- We will then screen all patients entering the building by asking questions in relation to Coronavirus and we will ask to take your temperature with an infrared "No Touch" thermometer prior to entering the waiting room.
- Please understand this is a small way of ensuring that you can be seen safely by a clinician and you're helping us to keep the area free from the spread of Coronavirus.
- Your clinician will be wearing PPE for all face to face consultations.
- We would respectfully request that all patients attending the Health Centre for consultations with any clinician wear a facemask.
- Due to supply issues we cannot supply these for patients.
ORDER PRESCRIPTIONS – ONLINE, TELEPHONE or BY PHARMACY - please remember to nominate a pharmacy when you order - you will not be able to collect prescriptions at reception.
COVID SYMPTOMS - Patients’ with COVID symptoms should contact NHS 111 in the first instance and isolate at home where advised to do so. Other patients will be asked to contact their GP Practices for clinical management and this may result in a referral by your GP to the local COVID Centre.
REFERRAL TO A COVID CENTRE - follow this link or information regarding visiting a COVID centre
Visiting a COVID Centre
SELF ISOLATING - We will not be issuing sick lines – employers are aware of this. If you need to self-isolate PLEASE DO NOT phone the practice requesting a sick line. You should visit this website where you can obtain an Isolation Note
MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL BEING DURING THIS TIME
- Northern Emotional Wellbeing Service LINKS counselling service - If you are feeling anxious, low in mood or suffering from mild to moderate mental health difficulties, we're here to help. To set up an appointment for telephone or video counselling, complete our on-line referral form at: Links Counselling Service or give us a call on 028 38 342 825.
- You do not have to speak with your GP to arrange this.
- The Minding Your Head website contains information to help you look after your own mental health and to support others. It contains a directory of mental health services in Northern Ireland, as well as links to online support such as the HSC Apps Library, which provides a range of safe and approved apps for you to download for support with issues such as stress and sleep management.
- Free online Stress Control classes are also available for everyone. Each session repeats four times to enable ease of access, with the latest block of classes starting on 8 June 2020. For further information visit:
- Minding Your Head
- If you are concerned about your mental health and would like to speak to someone, you can talk to your GP, or if you are in distress or despair, you can call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 where you can speak to a trained counsellor. This service is available 24/7 and is free from all NI landlines and mobiles.
- FREE ONLINE STRESS CONTROL COURSE - please see the link to the next stress control online course, which is starting Monday 8th June 2020. 6,000 people attended the first online run with great feedback from attendees. Anyone can register for the course for free at NI Stress Control
Your GP cannot effect change in relation to waiting times for appointments, x-rays, reviews. We understand this can be worrying and frustrating but you will be contacted by Hospital appointments when things change in this regard.
PATIENT TESTING – To improve surveillance of COVID we advise all patients with symptoms to request a test. Tests can be arranged - click on NHS - Ask for a Coronavirus Test. There is further information on PHA website
CARER ID CARDS – New ID cards will be issued to registered Carers and will be issued by Trusts over the next two weeks. These can be used by carers for priority access to supermarkets. More information is available for carers regarding the carers co-ordinators and issuing of cards at this link Carer ID Cards
TEST TRACE PROTECT –
Throughout the pandemic, your support in following public health guidelines has been vital in reducing the spread of coronavirus. By doing so, you have saved lives. As ‘lockdown’ restrictions are eased, we face the risk of a second wave of infection. We can all help minimise that risk by continuing to support public health measures to control the spread, such as testing and contact tracing.
The Public Health Agency will launch a new public information campaign TEST TRACE PROTECT on Monday 6th July 2020. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of Coronavirus and encourage individuals who are symptomatic to follow the appropriate steps including:
- Helping with contact tracing
- Self-isolating when advised
Click here for a detailed information leaflet
CASTLE PRACTICE STAFF CAPACITY
In line with social distancing rules we must work within appropriate sized teams across the opening times of the Practice and unfortunately this reduces our staff capacity to deal with your requests – we ask for your patience and understanding.
The Doctors, Nurses and Admin staff appreciate your support and thank you for your kind actions and the grateful words of encouragement we have received during this time.
COVID-19 - Stay at Home Guidance - Link
(Site updated 29/07/2020)