Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact.
A person can also catch the virus by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.
Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict guidelines. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals and returned home also in isolation. Any equipment that come into contact with suspected cases are thoroughly cleaned as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others. Patients can be reassured that their safety is a top priority, and are encouraged to attend all appointments as usual.
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.
GP practices have been instructed not to send routine referrals to secondary care.
• Non-urgent endoscopies which are now suspended.
• Non urgent imaging/diagnostics are also suspended.
• Referrals to the chronic pain service.
• Non-urgent referrals to MSK and direct access physiotherapy.
GPs will advise patients to continue to manage with advice given by primary care and re-present if symptoms persist once pandemic is over so an onward referral can be reconsidered. Patients will also be advised that should symptoms significantly deteriorate to contact their GP and case will be reviewed and advice then sort from secondary care.
Neither the hospital nor practices will therefore keep a list of pending referrals it will be down to the patient to re-contact their GP.
WE WOULD LIKE TO ASK ALL PATIENTS TO:
Follow the current government advice on self-isolation and social distancing. Advice is being kept under constant review and you can find the latest guidance at: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. You DO NOT NEED to contact your GP practice for permission to do this.
Use NHS111 if the first instance if you have COVID-19 symptoms and would like medical advice. Please use NHS111 online if you have access to the internet: https://111.nhs.uk. Phone NHS111 if you do not have online access.
Do not come to any GP practice unless you have been specifically advised to do so after a phone/video consultation with a clinician at the practice.