As you are aware the Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the UK has embarked on a vaccination programme. Understandably this has caused a great deal of excitement at the same time as generating lots of questions.
Please bear with us as we work through this; no one will be excluded from the vaccination programme but it will take months to roll out the vaccine programme not days. Therefore while I know many people are very enthusiastic we will have to be a bit patient as plans develop.
The government has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine of which 800,000 doses are now available. That’s enough vaccine to protect 400,000 people since everyone will need two doses of the vaccine around three or four weeks apart.
The vaccine needs to be stored at around -70C and comes in packs of 975 doses and work is underway to enable it to be split into smaller batches. As a result only a limited number of specialist sites have so far received supplies of the vaccine, and mostly that is hospitals. Further rollout of vaccination sites is due imminently.
The NHS will not offer any Covid-19 vaccinations to the public unless it is safe to do so. The MHRA, the official UK regulator authorising licensed use of medicines and vaccines by healthcare professionals, has decided that it is safe, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes.
Tuesday 8 December 2020 was an important day for the country, the latest world-first for the NHS, and the start of the largest vaccination programme in our history.
Thanks to an incredible amount of hard work and planning, dozens of hospitals across the country were able to give the first vaccines to those aged 80 and over, and care home staff, with more sites coming on stream over the coming days and weeks.
It is important that we accept that this will be a marathon, not a sprint, and we cannot let down our guard. People still need to follow the advice on ‘hands, face, space’ and adhere to other restrictions.
But this is a turning point in the battle against the virus, NHS staff can now prevent people from becoming ill as well as continuing to care for those who do become infected, and it is a welcome first step on the path back to normal life for the country.
Colleagues across the NHS have excelled themselves over the past 10 months, and they are stepping up yet again to lead the way in delivering this safe and effective vaccine.
The public have an important part to play to help them do this:
- please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you;
- when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments;
- and please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.
Park Parade Surgery is still open -
The way in which you receive medical care has changed to protect you and our staff. This will mean:
- You may receive most care by telephone or video
- You may need to access services using the NHS app or online
- Please make sure you do NOT come to the surgery unless invited to do so
- If you have symptoms of Covid-10 please stay at home and follow the latest advice on NHS Coronavirus information
Booked Nurse appointments remain available for:
- Wounds, Staple and suture removals
- Leg Ulcers
- Baby & child routine immunisations
- Other immunisations: Whooping cough in pregnancy; Pneumovax & MMR catch up in adults. This follows Government advice to ensure that both children and adults continue to be vaccinated for prevalent and high risk diseases
- Essential Injections: Antipsychotics, Aranesp, Zoladex, Prostap, Denosumab & Depo- Provera
- Cervical smears
- Telephone contraceptive pill reviews
Annual reviews are currently paused. The highest risk patients will still be assessed, and will be contacted by the surgery when we are able.
All joint injections are also not currently being offered.
Where to find Food & Necessities in Harrogate during the Coronavirus crisis
Please click here for further information (PDF, 220KB)
Click here for information for patients who are shielding.
Walk-in Phlebotomy is currently closed. Appointments are available for ESSENTIAL blood testing only. These are on a booked basis within Mowbray Square Medical Centre.
All prescriptions are now being sent electronically to a pharmacy of your choice, to reduce the risk to you, and our staff, by patients coming in to collect paper prescriptions.
You can nominate your preferred pharmacy by informing us over the phone.
If you want to set up online access in order to request your prescriptions you can do this via the NHS App. More information here on GP online services.
E-mailing the surgery
Please do not email the surgery if you have a query regarding a medical matter, we cannot guarantee that emails are responded to promptly. If you have Online Access you can use the Messaging option to send us your message, this is more secure and confidential. If you need to speak to a doctor then please telephone reception and you will be added to our telephone list to be responded to in an appropriate timeframe.
Letters have been sent by the government to ‘VERY high risk’ patients already. This includes people who:
- have had an organ transplant
- are having certain types of cancer treatment
- have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
- have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
- have a condition or are taking medicine that makes them much more likely to get infections
- are pregnant and have a serious heart condition
These patients are advised to SHIELD themselves for 12 weeks - see the Government advice on Shielding.
If you have received an NHS letter or are caring for someone who has, you can register for further support here Register for support if extremely vulnerable or call 0800 028 8327, the government’s new dedicated helpline.
Patients who are ‘at increased risk’ are :
- those over the age of 70 (regardless of medical conditions)
- those who are pregnant
- those with pre-existing conditions which make them eligible for the annual flu vaccine, (full list on at risk group on NHS website)
These patients need to very strictly follow the Government advice on Social Distancing. We do not yet know how long they are expected to do this.
If you have COVID-19 or someone in your household does then you should follow Government advice on Self Isolating.
If you need it for your employer you can obtain an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online, rather than contacting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a ‘fit note’ (sometimes called a ‘sick note’) after 7 days of sickness absence.
However - We have been receiving a number of questions from patients regarding their ability to work due to the current Covid-19 outbreak.
If you have a query as to which group you fall into and are very concerned you may contact reception, we will usually SMS (text) a simple reply but this may not be the same day.
We are sorry but due to the extreme pressure on the NHS currently we are NOT able to:
- Write any letters
- Speak to individual patients about this
- Do private reports for employers or employees.
Please visit https://www.sexwise.fpa.org.uk/where-get-help/help-during-covid-19
COVID 19 Telephone Assessment Service for Minor Eye Conditions (Primary Eyecare North Yorkshire & Humber Ltd)
Do you have a new eye problem ?
- Are you registered with a Local GP practice?
- Do you think you need advice or an appointment with a professional?
- Please contact the Telephone Assessment Service
The Clinician will be able to advise whether a face to face appointment is absolutely necessary.
Should you need to be seen face to face, they will arrange wherever possible for you to be seen in your usual practice.
Sources of support, information and help
The GPs understand this is a very difficult time for everyone.
Useful online Mental Health resources, which may be helpful in these unprecedented times:
NHS Diabetes Advice Helpline
What it is and who is it for?
NHS Diabetes Advice is provided by NHS England and NHS Improvement in response to disruption to normal services due to the COVID-19 pandemic and response.
The service is for adults living with diabetes who use insulin to manage their condition and require immediate advice from a team of clinical advisors.
Whether they or a member of their household have caught the virus, or routine care has been disrupted, the helpline can provide clinical advice to help them understand how to effectively manage their diabetes.
How do patients access it?
The helpline is accessible via Diabetes UK’s support line on 0345 123 2399. It is open Monday to Friday from 9am – 6pm.
What clinical advice will the helpline provide?
NHS Diabetes Advice supports adults living with either type of diabetes who use insulin to manage their condition, and who require clinical advice on topics such as: Hyperglycaemia, Hypoglycaemia, Sick day rules and Missed injections.
However, the service is not intended to replace routine care, support paediatric patients or support pregnant patients. These patients are advised to contact their own doctor or care team.
Who are the clinical advisors?
NHS Diabetes Advice clinical advisors are volunteers. They are all health professionals with expertise in diabetes. All the advisors providing advice are clinically trained and competent.
Anyone in mental distress, including children, older people and those with learning disabilities and/or autism can now access crisis services by calling 0300 020 0317 to get urgent help. The service is provided by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Mental Health trust.
BUZZ US is a confidential text messaging service for young people in North Yorkshire aged 11-18. The service allows young people the opportunity to message a wellbeing worker for support, signposting information or advice around mental health and wellbeing. Some of the main reasons young people text BUZZ US are around: anxiety, bullying, self-harm, eating problems, self-esteem and stress. Young people can text 07520 631168, a wellbeing worker is on duty Monday-Thursday 9am-5pm and Friday 9am-4.30pm (excluding bank holidays). Outside of these hours, a bounce back text will be sent, signposting young people to emergency services and CAMHS crisis if they need immediate support in the meantime. We aim to reply to all messages within one working day; however this service is not for young people in crisis.
A new website has been launched, dedicated to helping children and young people in North Yorkshire find mental health support.
The Go-To – www.thegoto.org.uk – is designed to be a portal or ‘single point of information’ showcasing the mental health support services offered by different agencies in the county.
With the majority of young people currently not in school and many in isolation as a result of the restrictions imposed on movement to deal with the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, health leaders believe online mental health support for young people has never been more important.
Are you drinking more since lockdown?
If yes, please visit https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/ or http://www.nyhorizons.org.uk/
Easy Read Coronavirus Posters — Keep Safe UK: https://www.keepsafe.org.uk/posters
Are you concerned about financial hardship, accommodation, isolation, access to food?
The Living Well team are coordinating this kind of support for people – charities, volunteer organisations and food deliveries for example. Tel: 01609 780780
This is a very stressful time for everyone, if you feel you need support then the following resources may be helpful:
For patients that are struggling with: stress, anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias.
You can refer yourself directly to a psychological therapies service (IAPT) without seeing your GP, either using the online referral form or by phoning 01423 852137 or 01423 852000.
Health Watch North Yorkshire website includes links for mental health helplines and apps for mental health wellbeing.
Just B counselling have launched a ‘Hear to Help’ line available to anyone 01423 856799 8am-8pm
Kooth provides online mental health services for children & young people. It is free, safe and anonymous.
If death occurs at home:
Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD)
The GP surgery will organise this. Usually the MCCD is collected in person from the surgery; however the certificates are now being sent electronically by the GP surgery to the Registrar’s office.
Families should ring 01609 780780, to book an appointment to register the death. The process will be explained to the relatives when they make their call to the Registrar’s office.
When do I contact the funeral director?
Most families use the services of a funeral director. You can contact your chosen director at any time.
Registering a Death
Usually an appointment is made to attend the Register Office to register the death, however at the present time this is being done by telephone instead.
The Registrar will issue the legal Death Certificate.
Registrar of Births and Deaths tel: 01609 780780
This link also has some helpful information: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/death
Minor Eye Condition
Do you have a new eye problem? Are you registered with a Local GP practice? Do you think you need advice or an appointment with a professional? Please contact our Telephone Assessment Service on 0800 3685152.
To download this information as a poster click here (PDF, 178KB)
Advice for Parents During Coronavirus
Please click here for advice for parents during coronavirus
Keeping Well at Home
Please click here for advice for people aged over 70, includes sections on keeping mind and body active, keeping well-nourished, setting goals and what to do if you fall.
Resource Pack for Carers
Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust have produced a resource pack for carers, ‘Caring for someone with dementia at home’. It includes tips for managing, activity ideas, self-care tips for carers, managing stress, muscle relaxation exercises, meeting needs, online resource links, TV and radio resources.