From 13th March 2020 the public are being advised to stay at home (self-isolate) without any testing for COVID-19, regardless of travel history or contact with confirmed cases, if they have:
a. A new continuous cough
b. High temperature (of 37.8 degrees centigrade or higher)
c. A loss of / change in smell or taste
This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious. DO NOT ATTEND AT THE PRACTICE OR A PHARMACY OR HOSPITAL.
The geographic element of the case definition has now been removed. Travel and contact history are no longer important for diagnosis, which is on the basis of symptoms alone. If people who have travelled do not have symptoms they do not need to stay at home, regardless of their travel history.
Individuals should stay at home (self-isolate) for 7 days from the onset of symptoms following the stay at home guidance found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
If you have serious symptoms and cannot manage at home you should use NHS 111 online (people should only call NHS111 if they cannot get online).
After 7 days of self-isolation, people who feel better and no longer have a high temperature can return to their normal routine. If they have not had any signs of improvement after 7 days and have not already sought medical advice, they should use NHS111 online (people should only call NHS111 if they cannot get online) before they leave their home or let visitors in.
Cough may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the coronavirus infection having cleared. A persistent cough alone does not mean someone must continue to stay at home for more than 7 days.
Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:
- Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport.
- Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
From 15th June 2020 all patients attending GP surgeries across Derbyshire will be asked to wear face coverings. It will also be compulsory to wear face coverings on public transport and in hospitals in England.
To protect patients and staff, we ask that all patients please wear their own face covering when attending the practice, as well as continuing to follow hand-washing and social distancing guidelines. Face coverings can include homemade or purchased masks, a scarf or other article of clothing or a handkerchief which adequately covers your mouth and nose.
As per government guidance, exemptions apply to very young children, people with disabilities, those with breathing difficulties and those who are caring for someone who relies on lip reading.
Very high risk (shielding) patients
Patients who are identified as being very high risk will be receive a letter in the upcoming weeks containing guidance on shielding. Shielding is a measure to protect extremely vulnerable people by minimising interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. The Government is currently advising all very high risk patients to shield until at least 30th June.
Help with health conditions
Some charities and organisations have worked with the NHS to produce specific advice about coronavirus. Please see below links:
Other Lung Conditions e.g. COPD: https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/coronavirus?fbclid=IwAR0Eg153cn9T0aN_6Ri9R4AfL2YL-gpvp3IZsRbAJ-92dtRCgoId1ts0ui0
Joint and Muscle Conditions such as Arthritis: https://www.versusarthritis.org/news/2020/april/coronavirus-covid-19-what-is-it-and-where-to-go-for-information/?fbclid=IwAR33whdOYtCY9MoNPN28o1GuE7c-4F52yUJnhRZUSFm2c0CLPsXKOauxx5U
Heart or Circulatory Disease: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/news/coronavirus-and-your-health?fbclid=IwAR1trJ9-3LR1W8XW5gCydfDFjWYBUNNZDQjsFFadKxlbVb0ew558Ynw9d2E
Access to NHS dentistry
Access to NHS dentistry is currently limited during the pandemic as all dentists have been asked to stop all routine "face-to-face" dental care. However, if you need urgent dental care, help is at hand:
CALL your dental practice:
They will give you advice over the telephone and make arrangements for you if you need to be seen.
If you don’t have a dentist, find your nearest dentist and CALL them. You can search for your nearest dentist at: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-dentist
You can also contact NHS 111:
NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you're deaf, you can:
Use the NHS 111 British Sign Language service: nhs111.co.uk
Call 18001 111 on a textphone
Do not worry if you have COVID-19 symptoms, appropriate arrangements can be made to see you if you need urgent dental care.
Testing for coronavirus will not be offered routinely to individuals staying at home.
Supporting mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new mental health support line, which has been developed to provide additional mental health support to Derbyshire residents of all ages during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The support line intends to provide additional support to:
- People who are currently having less contact with usual mental health services, and their carers
- Derbyshire residents who are experiencing increased distress or anxiety as a result of current events
- Individuals who indicate a need longer term for help
The support line is staffed by experienced mental health practitioners and is currently available between 9am - midnight, seven days a week.
The mental health support line can be contacted on: 0300 790 0596. This is a low-cost number.
What should I do if I've been advised to self-isolate?
Public Health England have produced advice and guidance for patients with and without symptoms of infection who are isolating themselves due to potential exposure to coronavirus. This can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-people-with-confirmed-or-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
Ashbourne COVID-19 community support group
A facebook community group has been set up for the residents of Ashbourne. To join the group, visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2917885761604275/
Frequently asked questions
Can the GP write a letter to confirm that I am exempt from wearing a face covering where it is mandatory?
General practice is under considerable pressure as a direct result of the current challenges they are faced with delivering a service to patients at the same time as coping with the consequences of coronavirus. Practices have been informed that the responsibility for issuing exemptions lies with the provider / organisation enforcing the requirement. Similarly, practices are not able to provide letters of support for anyone who does not fall under the list of exemptions defined by the Government but considers themself to have another reason to be exempted.
Is it safe to send my child back to school once they reopen?
The key messages to parents, carers and teach staff are as follows:
- Schools, colleges and other educational settings are working very hard to review the government guidelines alongside their own risk assessments to determine the safety of a phased reopening of their school
- These measures are overseen by the Head Teacher, the senior leadership and appropriate governing body (or equivalent) for each school's individual circumstances
- Parents/carers need to work with schools if they have individual concerns about their child
- Our understanding is that it will be parent and carers choice as to whether they feel it is safe, and not for a GP to adjudicate
- Teachers and other employed staff will also need to work with schools if they have concerns about their own health and whether they can safely return to face to face work
- GPs have not been provided with additional/specific guidance regarding decision making for staff or students beyond current public health measures
- GP practices will not be issuing correspondence on behalf of parents/carers if they do not wish to send their child to school or if their child is shielding for themselves, or to protect family members who are shielding and/or vulnerable
- The government has already announced that parents will not be fined for non-attendance at this time
I'm worried about how I will access my medication - can it be delivered?
Ashbourne Medical Practice unfortunately cannot offer a delivery service for medication. However, Ashbourne Community Transport are offering some collection and delivery services - for more information please contact them directly on 01335 300670 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I've decided not to go on holiday now - do I need a GP letter?
If you have changed your mind and decided not to travel, you do not need a letter from the GP.
"Insurers and travel companies should be basing their decisions to offer refunds on advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Public Health England, not letters from GPs." Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs
Our clinicians will not provide any private letters or reports relating to travel plans which may be affected by coronavirus. You will need to speak to your holiday provider and/or travel insurance provider.
If I'm self isolating - do I need a sick note?
If you have to stay at home but feel well enough to work, ask your employer if you can work from home. If you can work from home, you will not need an isolation note.
There is now a service for patients who have been told to self-isolate because of coronavirus and need a sick note for their employer. This service is only for people who have symptoms of coronavirus or live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus. To use this service, go to: https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/
Sick notes cannot be provided for very high risk patients who have been informed that they need to shield for 12 weeks. Patients in this category will receive a letter which can be used as evidence for employers.
I'm generally worried about coronavirus - what should I do?
If you do not have a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature (of 37.8 degrees centigrade or higher) you shouldn't worry about coronavirus.
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Most of the following is good practice for everyone, to reduce infection risk in general:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand gel if your hands are not visibly dirty
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people
- Catch it, Bin it, Kill it - cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (or your flexed elbow), then throw the tissue in a bin
- Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces at home and work
- If you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend work or school
- Call 111 and inform them of your symptoms and travel history
- Do not go to the surgery, hospital or any other healthcare place without seeking advice first