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Herefordshire's Approach to the Coronavirus (COVID19) Pandemic


3 July 2020

Herefordshire Pillar 2 COVID-19 test data published

(From a press release issued by Herefordshire Council today)

Public Health England data show confirmed cases for health and care workers and the wider population

Public Health England has published 'Pillar 2 COVID-19 testing data' for Herefordshire up to 1 July 2020. This information will help Herefordshire Council to accurately track the local spread of the virus.

Coronavirus testing is organised through a system described as ‘pillars’. 'Pillar 1 data' confirms swab testing in Public Health England (PHE) labs and NHS hospitals for those with a clinical need, and health and care workers. 'Pillar 2 data' includes swab testing by commercial providers; this includes the tests undertaken at the Merton Meadow mobile testing unit.

Herefordshire Council can confirm that Pillar 1 testing data published on 1 July 2020 confirmed 464 positive cases in Herefordshire (no change since 26 June 2020). Including Pillar 2 data on 2 July 2020 took the total confirmed cases in Herefordshire to 743.

The publication of Pillar 2 data does not reflect a sudden increase in cases: 86% of the reported Pillar 2 cases occurred before the end of May.

In the last 14 days there have been fewer than five positive tests in Herefordshire.

 

16 June 2020

Your GP Surgery: what to expect as lockdown eases

As lockdown eases, Herefordshire GPs supported by Taurus Healthcare are looking to the future and the service that surgeries will provide to their patients.

The future remains unclear in terms of the passage of COVID19 throughout our population. We may or may not face a second peak of the disease later in the year. Scientists are in the process of developing a vaccine, but we don’t know whether they will find one or how long it will take. In the meantime, COVID19 is still present in the county. We must all stay vigilant and GPs need to continue to offer their services whilst ensuring the safety and wellbeing of patients and healthcare teams.

GPs will begin to reactivate some of the services that have been suspended during the lockdown. For example, screening and routine monitoring procedures. However, these won’t necessarily be done in the same way or at the same frequency as previously.

In addition:

  • The lessons we have learnt during the lockdown in relation to the use of technology for patient consultation will be utilised in the future
  • A large proportion of consultations will continue to be carried out remotely by telephone or video
  • Where it is considered necessary for a face-to-face consultation to take place, appointments will be spaced more widely apart than previously
  • You may be asked to wait in your car until your appointment time
  • Healthcare staff will continue to wear protective clothing when they see you.

These measures are designed to keep everyone safe whilst not compromising patient care.

Thank you for your continued cooperation and support.

 

5 June 2020

Taurus Healthcare offices now COVID19 secure

We are pleased to confirm that our Head Office at Berrows Building in Hereford has been inspected and found to be compliant with the Government's guidance on managing the risk of COVID19.

The five steps to safer working we have undertaken are:

  • We have carried out a COVID19 risk assessment and shared the results with the people who work at Berrows
  • We have cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in line with guidance
  • We have taken all reasonable steps to help people work from home
  • We have taken all reasonable steps to maintain a 2m distance in the workplace
  • Where people cannot be 2m apart, we have done everything practical to manage the transmission of risk.

Our team members are continuing to work from home, wherever possible.

Our COVID19 Secure Certificate can be viewed here.

 

10 May 2020

It's still vitally important to socially distance

We wish to emphasise the importance of maintaining social distancing and hygiene measures even in the light of any easing of lockdown announced by the PM today (Sunday 10 May 2020). We risk increasing cases of infection if we do not remain vigilant.

Please be safe and protect yourself, the community and the Key Workers who we all rely upon.

Thank you for your cooperation and support.

 

28 April 2020

New 'Super Green' Clinic opens in Herefordshire

A new ‘Super Green’ Clinic has recently opened at Sarum House Surgery, Hereford for people across the county who have been identified as at increased risk of hospitalisation, should they contract Coronavirus. These people are known as ‘Shielded patients’ and will have received letters advising them to stay at home and avoid face-to-face contact with others for at least 12 weeks. 

Super Green Clinic Staff

The new Super Green Clinic is a nurse-led service, staffed by practice nurses and healthcare assistants from across the county. It is being led by Sister Deborah Suer, an experienced practice nurse from St Katherine’s Surgery Ledbury. As well as a physical clinic, a Super Green service will also be made available in their homes for housebound shielded patients, in collaboration with the district nursing team. 

The Super Green service offers a safe environment for shielded patients to receive non-COVID related interventions, such as medication, blood tests and essential injections. It complements other GP-led services available throughout the county during the pandemic and forms part of a carefully planned strategy coordinated by all 20 Herefordshire GP surgeries and Taurus Healthcare. 

Sister Suer says: “The Super Green Clinic nursing team are excited by the new challenge and are committed to delivering high quality care. We understand the worries being felt by this particularly vulnerable group and have implemented a rigorous cleaning schedule at the Clinic. In addition, the nursing team are being extremely vigilant with regard to their own and their patients’ protection from the virus.”

The first patients to have used the Super Green Clinic have so far given positive feedback. One lady commented: “It was a very safe environment”, whilst another said: “Thank you. You are truly wonderful and I will be clapping for you all on Thursday evening”.

Shielded patients who need nursing interventions such as a blood test or injection should telephone their GP Surgery, who will then refer them to the Super Green service. 

 

24 April 2020

Shielded patients

Please see attached information (pdf document). 

Advice for patients

 

16 April 2020

Who to call if you're feeling unwell

If you are unwell with Coronavirus symptoms and are not getting better or are getting worse, or you are not coping at home, call your surgery for advice.

If you are unwell with a non-Coronavirus problem, please do call your surgery. All surgeries are open although they are working in a different way during the Coronavirus outbreak.

 

Children’s health during the Coronavirus (COVID19) outbreak

You will be aware that GP surgeries are operating differently during the COVID19 Outbreak. 

It is important to note that surgeries are still open, even though most consultations will now take place over the telephone or via video link.

Healthcare staff do not want to miss treatable conditions, so please don’t hesitate to telephone your surgery if you are worried about symptoms of anyone in your family – including children and babies.

Child immunisations and baby checks are continuing and are seen as an absolute priority. Not only do they protect individual babies, they also help to avoid outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease that could further increase the number of patients requiring health services.

If your baby or child is due to receive a routine immunisation, please don’t hesitate to telephone your GP surgery to arrange for them to be seen. Please rest assured that your surgery or health clinic will take all possible precautions to protect you and your baby from COVID19.

 

15 April 2020

Government's 'Shielded' patient list

Some people may have been expecting to hear from the NHS national team regarding inclusion on the Government’s ‘Shielded' patient list. This is the Government’s list of those considered to be most at clinical risk from Coronavirus and therefore asked to stay in their homes for a long period of time.

The process for identifying ‘Shielded’ patients is being developed by NHS national teams with the help of local healthcare providers (GP surgeries and Wye Valley Trust).  Those who are within this highest clinical risk group will receive a letter containing further information. This is an ongoing process that should be completed by the beginning of May.

In the meantime, we would ask that you do not contact your surgery to ask to be added to this list. If you feel you should be classified as a ‘Shielded’ patient but have not yet received any correspondence, please register on the Government’s website by Friday 17 April. 

If you have any health concerns, please telephone your surgery for advice.

If you need support while you self-isolate, for example with your shopping or picking up medication, please contact Herefordshire Council’s Talk Community Team on 01432 260027 or email talkcommunitycovidresponse@herefordshire.gov.uk.

 

11 April 2020

Herefordshire Community Pharmacies - Easter Opening 

NB: given the current climate, we are providing the below information based on the most up to date details available to us at the time of posting.

Easter Sunday pharmacy rota services will be provided across each area of Herefordshire and Worcestershire. Please see attached document (pdf 242KB, opens in new window).

In addition, all NHS Community pharmacies have been asked to open from 2pm to 5pm on Good Friday 10 April 2020 and Easter Monday 13 April 2020. There may be some individual pharmacies that have been granted an exemption from this requirement.

All NHS Community pharmacies have been asked to update their www.nhs.uk websites to confirm their opening hours so please check on any pharmacy opening hours whose details do not appear on the attached information or where a “default position of 2pm-5pm” is described. You may find this link to the NHS' pharmacies page for the local area useful. 

10 April 2020

Information on Mental Health 24 Hour Line

Herefordshire Mental Health and Learning Disability Services have a 24/7 urgent NHS mental health telephone, support, advice and triage phone line which will be operational from 10 April 2020.

If you are currently accessing mental health services, please call using one of the following numbers:

  • Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm, please contact the team or service who currently provide your care.
  • Monday to Friday, 5pm – 9am and 24 hours on weekends and bank holidays, please call 01905 681915 (24 hours)               

If you are not currently in contact with any mental health services, please  call 01905 681915 (24 hours)     

 

9 April 2020

General Practice Easter Opening Hours

All Herefordshire GP practices will be open on Good Friday and Easter Monday. The normal Out of Hours arrangements will apply from 6 pm on Friday to 8 am on Monday (if you need assistance during these times, call 111).

As previously advised, GPs are seeing fewer patients face-to-face due to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, they are consulting by phone and video to ensure they deal with medical problems. They do not want to miss treatable conditions, so please don't hesitate to call your surgery if you are worried about symptoms.

If the surgery considers a face-to-face appointment is necessary, you may be asked to attend a surgery that is different to the one that you're used to.

These measures have been brought in to protect you and healthcare staff. The Easter weekend will be a crucial time in the course of the pandemic, so please keep to Government guidelines around social isolation and distancing. Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

 

9 April 2020

Look out for advertisements in today's local press

 Advertisement Header April 2020

Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG has commissioned an advertising campaign in this week's Hereford Times and Ledbury Reporter (as well as some Worcestershire newspapers). This is being run alongside a targeted social media campaign, particularly to raise awareness of Primary Care operating procedures during the COVID19 pandemic.

The campaign includes a banner advertisement (pictured above) plus a full information page to advise and inform the general public.

Key messages:

Key Messages From April Campaign

 

7 April 2020

Thank you NHS video (opens in You Tube).

 

31 March 2020

Social Prescribers - Keeping in contact during the Coronavirus crisis

The situation we are currently facing means that we are all having to take drastic and previously unheard of measures to keep ourselves and others safe.

This means social distancing for everyone and – for the most vulnerable ‘at risk’ groups - staying at home for the next 12 weeks.

We know that this is a great hardship and can increase feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Your GP practice is introducing measures that will help to reduce these feelings. One of these is to ask Herefordshire Social Prescribers to contact the most vulnerable and / or isolated patients from time-to-time by telephone, just to ensure they are OK.

During the period of the crisis, you may receive such a call from a Social Prescriber and we hope that you will find it helpful.

Social Prescribers will never ask for money or bank details. If you’re unsure whether a call is genuine, you must telephone your Practice to confirm.

More information on Social Prescribers

 

26 March 2020

An Appeal from Herefordshire GP Practices

Herefordshire GPs are receiving a large number of requests for ‘rescue packs’, containing antibiotics and steroids.

These are important for those with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and Asthma who have regular flare ups of their condition. Access to these drugs enables people with these conditions to treat themselves immediately, often preventing the need for further medical intervention.

However, evidence shows that steroids are unhelpful and possibly harmful in Coronavirus infection. We also know that antibiotics are ineffective against viruses.

In order to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of drugs for people who need them, Herefordshire GPs are asking:

  • Please do not stockpile medication or ask for additional supplies that you do not need

  • Please note that rescue packs will not be prescribed for those who have not previously required them.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

Please help us to help you during the Coronavirus crisis.

24 March 2020

GPs - New Ways of operating - Effective Immediately

As you will know, cases of Coronavirus have been increasing in the UK and we expect to continue to see more cases here in Herefordshire over the coming days and weeks.

It is vitally important that you continue to follow Government advice regarding hand washing and self-isolation / social distancing. For full details, please visit the Government’s website.

In order to protect our healthcare staff, patients and the general public (in particular the most vulnerable members of society), please be aware that we are introducing changes to the way that Herefordshire General Practice operates during the crisis.

In particular, anyone needing an appointment will first be spoken to on the phone or via video. This will help to protect vulnerable patients, staff and the wider population. For the vast majority of cases, this will be sufficient to diagnose and advise on the issue. Face-to-face consultations will be rare and only offered if it is felt important in determining your management or for an intervention – eg to take a blood test.

If a face-to-face appointment is considered essential, you may be asked to attend a surgery at a different location to the one you are used to. Please rest assured that your notes will be securely accessible from the new location.

These changes will affect all GP surgeries and will take immediate effect.

The changes are necessary given the serious situation we are facing and to ensure that GP services are as resilient as possible during the crisis period.

We ask you to please play your part to enable the NHS to play theirs.

Dear John / News Desk

 

Please find following and attached a news release regarding the new Super Green clinic that has recently opened in Herefordshire. Please also find attached a photograph of the team. Pictured are: Sister Cate Lamport (left), Sister Deborah Suer (centre), HCA Julie Jenkins (right) and Practice Nurse Katherine Earl (back).

 

If you need any further information, please do let me know.

 

Thank you,

 

Jan Bailey

 

 

 

Herefordshire General Practice

 

Media Release

 

28 April 2020

 

New ‘Super Green’ Clinic opens in Herefordshire

 

A new ‘Super Green’ Clinic has recently opened at Sarum House Surgery, Hereford for people across the county who have been identified as at increased risk of hospitalisation, should they contract Coronavirus. These people are known as ‘Shielded patients’ and will have received letters advising them to stay at home and avoid face-to-face contact with others for at least 12 weeks.

 

The new Super Green Clinic is a nurse-led service, staffed by practice nurses and healthcare assistants from across the county. It is being led by Sister Deborah Suer, an experienced practice nurse from St Katherine’s Surgery Ledbury. As well as a physical clinic, a Super Green service will also be made available in their homes for housebound shielded patients, in collaboration with the district nursing team.

 

The Super Green service offers a safe environment for shielded patients to receive non-COVID related interventions, such as medication, blood tests and essential injections. It complements other GP-led services available throughout the county during the pandemic and forms part of a carefully planned strategy coordinated by all 20 Herefordshire GP surgeries and Taurus Healthcare.

 

Sister Suer says: “The Super Green Clinic nursing team are excited by the new challenge and are committed to delivering high quality care. We understand the worries being felt by this particularly vulnerable group and have implemented a rigorous cleaning schedule at the Clinic. In addition, the nursing team are being extremely vigilant with regard to their own and their patients’ protection from the virus.”

 

The first patients to have used the Super Green Clinic have so far given positive feedback. One lady commented: “It was a very safe environment”, whilst another said: “Thank you. You are truly wonderful and I will be clapping for you all on Thursday evening”.

 

Shielded patients who need nursing interventions such as a blood test or injection should telephone their GP Surgery, who will then refer them to the Super Green service.

 

ENDS

 

 

Notes to Editors

 

Press contact:                    comms@taurushealthcare.co.uk

 

Photography:                  

 

Pictured front left: Sister Cate Lamport; middle: Sister Deborah Suer; right: HCA Julie Jenkins; back: Practice Nurse Katherine Earl

 

About Taurus Healthcare

 

Taurus Healthcare is a Federation comprised of all 20 GP practices in Herefordshire.

 

We support GP practices to be safer, more effective, efficient and resilient. We do this by offering a range of services to GP surgeries, for example back office functions such as Recruitment, Human Resources and Finance, all the way through to stepping in, on request, to run a GP surgery. The exact nature of the services we provide will be dependent on the needs and requirements of the surgery.

 

We also support GP practices by delivering a number of clinical services on their behalf. For example, the 7 day GP and GP Out of Hours Services are both operated by Taurus Healthcare as is a new Social Prescribing service.

 

A final important role of Taurus Healthcare is to represent all 20 GP practices and to act as a ‘single voice’ in discussions about current and future healthcare provision. For example, at meetings of the Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, local NHS trusts or other strategic bodies such as Herefordshire and Worcestershire GP Practice Provider Board.

 

Ultimately our aim is to help patients have more control over their own wellbeing and healthcare, promote the prevention of illness, and to improve access to general practice so that your GP service is consistent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

Shielded patients

 

Medical experts have identified specific medical conditions that, based on what is already known about the virus, are at the greatest risk of severe illness from COVID19. These extremely vulnerable conditions may include: solid organ transplant recipients; specific cancer patients; patients with severe respiratory conditions; patients with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism; people on immunosuppression therapies; women who are pregnant with significant heart disease.

 

Those people who fall into this extremely vulnerable group will have received a letter advising them to stay at home and avoid face-to-face contact with others for at least 12 weeks.

 

Shielding is a severe intervention which may be difficult to adhere to for such a long period of time. Therefore, only high risk patients will have received a shielding letter and support. Those who are not included on the shielding list but who are on a broader list of conditions (broadly the adult group eligible for a free annual flu vaccine) are advised to follow strict social distancing measures.

 

 

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