COVID-19 INFORMATION

Face Coverings

All patients and visitors are required to wear a face covering when attending the surgery for appointments, prescription collections or visiting reception. Thank you for your cooperation.

 

Click on an option below to move to the section

 

Latest advice and guidance

IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE SYMPTOMS.............

PLEASE DO NOT COME TO THE PRACTICE

PLEASE DO NOT ATTEND A&E OR A PHARMACY

NHS 111 can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do. NHS 111

Get the latest NHS information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19) at NHS.UK - Coronavirus

 

Useful guides for parents/carers

Covid-19 Testing: A quick guide for parents/carers

Return to school chart for parents/carers

Recovery after Covid

An NHS website has been set up to support patient recovery after COVID-19. ‘Your COVID Recovery’ helps patients to understand what has happened and what they might expect as part of their recovery. Your Covid Recovery

Self-isolation leaflet

This leaflet includes details around when to self-isolate and what to do. Self-Isolation leaflet

Test & Trace

This new service will help identify, contain and control coronavirus, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.

New guidance means those who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive must isolate for 10 days, even if they have no symptoms.

For more information on test & trace, please check online at Test & Trace

Infection Control

For lots of useful information on infection control including the correct handwashing technique, please check online at NHS.UK Infection Control

Shielding Patients

For the most up to date advice regarding shielding patients, please check online at GOV.UK Shielding Advice

Employer Sick Notes

If you need a self-isolation sick note for your employer please refer to NHS 111 Isolation Note

Volunteer Network

There are many volunteer groups set up in each local area and they may be able to help with collecting food and other essential supplies, including prescriptions, making deliveries and running errands. Some areas have volunteers who would be glad to speak on the phone to any resident who would welcome a call if you are feeling lonely.

You may need a volunteer if you are disabled, pregnant, don’t have access to transport, are sick and injured and don’t have family members to help you.

Please visit the websites below for more information on local volunteer groups and lots of useful information for various problems that you may need help and support with.

Health Connections Mendip

Somerset.Gov

Community pharmacy

Pharmacists and their teams are an essential part of the NHS and need your help and support during the coronavirus pandemic. Always treat staff with respect, they are doing their best to provide you with the medicines and advice you need.

Important information on prescriptions during the COVID-19 pandemic

  1. Order repeat prescriptions in your usual quantities at the usual time. Over ordering of your medicines may mean someone else has to go without their medicines.
  2. Order your usual prescription online or via an app. Do not go to your GP practice or pharmacy to order prescriptions and only phone them if you cannot order online or via an app. You can order repeat prescriptions on the NHS App and through your GP surgery or pharmacy’s online service, where available. You can find out about ordering medicines online at www.nhs.uk

  3. If you have a prescription to collect:

    If you are 70 or over, have a long-term health condition or are pregnant you should arrange collection by a relative or friend, or ask your pharmacy for advice about delivery.

    Ask any relatives and friends who are delivering your medicines to make sure they have seen you pick up the bag.

    If your medicines are being delivered make sure you keep a safe distance when you receive them.

  4. For everyone else, if you are going into a pharmacy in person, follow social distancing rules and the rules put in place by the pharmacy to protect you and their staff.

  5. Pharmacies may have altered opening times to manage their workload.

  6. Sales of some medicines may be restricted in quantity by pharmacies to ensure that there is enough for everyone.

Dental practices 

If you need help from a dentist:

  • contact your dental practice by phone or email
  • you will be given advice or offered an appointment if appropriate
  • for urgent dental care you can also use the NHS 111 online service

If you are told to visit your dentist, you may notice some changes have been made to keep you and your dental team safe.

  • Your practice will look different as it observes social distancing and hygiene rules
  • The dental team may also be wearing different protective equipment to what you are used to seeing
  • The range of treatments you will be offered may be different to what you received previously
  • Treatments offered may vary from practice to practice
  • This will depend on the staff and equipment available at the time and is to ensure your safety and that of the dental team

Please do not visit your practice unless you’ve been advised to. This will ensure they can continue to provide essential care safely.

If you think you need urgent dental treatment:

  • call your dentist
  • if you cannot contact your dentist, or you do not have one, use the NHS 111 online service
  • if a clinical appointment is necessary, this may take place at your dental practice or at an urgent dental care centre

Eye care and opticians

Anyone with a regular optician should as a first step call their practice/store.  Please do not visit the practice/store.

The Optometrist will assess your situation over the phone, give advice and, if needed, issue spectacles or contact lenses if these have been supplied before. These can be collected from or delivered by a local optician.

If you require spectacles to function with essential tasks such as work or driving as a key worker and it is not possible to dispense spectacles based on a previous prescription, then the Optometrist is able to arrange a face to face consultation at the practice. This is subject to the Optometrist’s clinical view of:

  • COVID-19 risk for both patient and practice team
  • The patient’s essential need for spectacles and/or contact lenses

Anyone without a regular optician can find details of local practices via: nhs uk service search

If the Optometrist thinks that urgent or emergency eye care is needed, they will refer you into the local urgent or emergency eye care service so that any necessary treatment can be carried out. This may be carried out by the same optical practice or another local practice. 

For eye care problems, please contact your Optician first. Please do not visit A&E, your GP practice or Pharmacy. 

Visiting from Abroad

For information on how to access NHS services in England if you are visiting from abroad please visit - NHS.uk

Access to testing

Check online at GOV.UK Getting Tested for the latest guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested.

Anyone in England and Wales who has symptoms of coronavirus, whatever their age can ask for a test through the NHS website NHS ask for a test

 

Practice Policies

Social Distancing

Social distancing is extremely important and we are enforcing this at the surgery. Only 2 patients will be allowed to wait in our front foyer area for reception or dispensary. You will be asked to wait 2 meters apart when inside and other patients will be asked to wait outside until there is space to enter.

PPE

All clinical staff are wearing basic PPE for seeing patients who report being symptom free but have been invited into the surgery, this would be a mask, gloves and apron.

For patients who have to attend and are considered potentially high risk of being infectious, after being screened via the telephone, staff will wear full protective clothing for the consultation, and patients are seen in the locked side of the surgery away from normal public areas and these areas will be thoroughly cleaned after each patient has been seen.

All patients seen in the surgery where the clinician needs to get close for examination purposes will be offered a mask, if they do not have their own.

All patients are asked to wash their hands or use the hand gel provided before entering and on leaving the building.

Medication

There is no need to stockpile medicines. Ordering extra prescriptions and buying more over-the-counter medicines than you need, will contribute to disruption to the medicines supply chain, which is otherwise robust.

Please may we ask that you request your medication electronically whenever possible.

Please visit our Request Online page for advice on how to order your prescription online.

Alternatively you can email your request to somccg.oakhill.prescriptions@nhs.net or bring your repeat slip to the surgery where we have a temporary box outside of the main entrance so patients don’t need to enter the surgery.

Please remember if you have received a letter that you should be shielding/isolating then please ask a family member, friend or neighbour to bring your repeat prescription slip to the surgery if you are unable to order online or to come and collect your prescription for you after 3 working days. If you don’t have anyone to help you, you can ask a local volunteer for help. Please visit the Latest advice & guidance section at the top of this page for information on this.

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE ASKING YOU TO ALLOW 2 WORKING DAYS BEFORE YOU COLLECT YOUR REPEAT PRESCRIPTIONS.

 

Services

Contact between patients and the practice during Covid-19

We are available for you to contact us, as usual, in the following ways:

You can create an online account to be able to view appointments, medical records and order repeat prescriptions via Patient Access. If you haven't registered yet, please contact our reception team to be issued with a unique username and password.

You can sign up as registered online service users without having to visit the practice at this time, allowing you to access all the services we provide through Patient Access. Identity verification can be carried out by telephone if you are known to the practice, or by video consultation. Reception can also enable online registration which allows you to register via Patient Access.

Changes to our services

As we hope patients will understand, we have adapted our services to provide a safe way to communicate and consult with our patients on routine health matters and those related to coronavirus.

We were given a mandate from the NHS to re-organise services to ensure that patients continue to receive a service. Patients may already have noticed that we are no longer offering pre-bookable face to face appointments.

Instead, a phone call or video consultation takes place first, and then if necessary, patients will then be asked to attend for a face to face appointment.

GP services are being reorganised so that patients who may have COVID-19 are kept separate from patients who don’t.

We are operating a zoning system whereby patients for routine health matters will be seen in a clean zone away from any potential cases of suspected coronavirus. Our infection control standards are extremely high and we are taking all necessary precautions to ensure your safety should you be asked to visit the surgery.

In the event that we do need to see a patient with suspected coronavirus symptoms, an assessment would be completed in a separate area of the practice with its own access and away from all other patients. Deep cleaning processes would commence following any such assessment taking place.

Changes to examinations

From now on, if you need a chest or heart examination, this will be carried out from behind you rather than in front of you. This is based on current clinical guidance to protect you and our clinicians.

The latest guidance advises that throats should not be examined and they should be treated on symptoms only. Please note that our GPs and nurses will no longer be examining anyone’s throat.

Services at the surgery

We continue to triage all appointment requests for any clinician at our practice.. 

For all appointments that require a GP, once the doctor has spoken to you they will decide the most appropriate way to consult with you on your health matter. This may be over the telephone, using a secure video call or ask you to attend the surgery.

We are offering limited and essential face to face appointments with our practice nurses (following a telephone call to triage patients to check it is safe to do so):

  • annual and 6 monthly chronic disease checks
  • prescribed injections e.g. contraception Injections & B12
  • cervical smear tests
  • dressings
  • pessary ring changes
  • child immunisations
  • blood tests 

 

Antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2 (’Covid-19’/ ‘Coronavirus’)

Antibody testing checks for antibodies to the coronavirus in a blood sample, which is looking for evidence of past, not current, infection. This test is available to healthcare workers, and patients having blood tests for other reasons who would like to have their antibody test done, but is not available on request for other patients.

The test has very limited use and is currently mainly for research purposes. A positive test suggests past infection, but it is not known whether this provides any immunity to further Covid-19 infection. Therefore, someone with a positive test still needs to follow guidance about social distancing, hygiene measures and isolation for any symptoms or contact with possible Covid-19 cases, as they may be able to pick the virus up again and pass it on to others.

The test should become positive 14 or more days after infection with SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, it should also be noted that many people who have had Covid-19, even after a positive antigen (swab) test, have subsequently had negative antibody tests, so a negative test does not rule out past infection. Research has indicated that those with the most severe infection tend to have the highest antibody levels afterwards, but also that antibody tests may stay negative after infection, and that in many people antibody levels reduce with time and become undetectable after a few weeks.

If patients who are aware of all of this would still like to have the SARS-COV-2 antibody test added when they are having blood taken for anything else, it can be requested at the time of the blood test, in which case there is a consent form that needs to be discussed and signed.

 

Services for support in your area

Somerset’s Local Authorities - Coronavirus support helpline

0300 790 6275 - Available 8am to 6pm, seven days a week

A single number is now available for anyone in Somerset who needs Coronavirus related support from Somerset’s Local Authorities. Anyone who can’t find help within their community can use the helpline to get help and advice surrounding:

  • Emotional support if you’re feeling worried or anxious
  • Financial support
  • Personal care and support including food and delivery of prescriptions
  • Housing and support for the homeless
  • Social Care or Medical transport needs
  • Waste collection and disposal

Emotional Health and Wellbeing

Staying Healthy, Happy and Safe at Home - lots of useful information on staying healthy and it has a special families and children's section.

We Get It  is a cancer charity that offer free support for people dealing with cancer and understands the impact of Covid-19 on people living with cancer has been immense. They run various weekly socials on Zoom.  Please visit their website We Get It for lots of information and ways to get in touch with them.

 

Bereavement support services

Somerset has developed additional bereavement support services that have a quick and easy referral process.  If anyone would like to talk to someone about their loss then please contact the Marie Curie Helpline  0800 3047 412 Monday – Saturday 09.00-17.00. They are there to help and would welcome your call.  The service also has qualified bereavement support workers available for more in-depth support if needed. Professional referrals can be taken with the person’s permission.

 

Research Trials

Consent To Contact: Covid-19 Vaccine Trials

Sign up to be contacted for Covid-19 vaccine studies. By signing up you are giving permission for researchers to contact you about taking part in coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine studies in the UK. This does not mean you are signing up to trials, simply signing up to consent to being contacted only. For more information on vaccine trials visit:  Be Part Of Research

Sign up to Consent To Contact: Covid-19 Vaccine Trials  Consent To Contact

Donate Blood Plasma

We need more people, especially men, who have recovered from coronavirus (COVID-19) to register and donate blood plasma which might saves lives. Convalescent plasma is the antibody-rich plasma of people who have recovered from coronavirus, which can be transfused into people with coronavirus who are struggling to develop their own immune response. 

Please visit NHS - how you can help for more information and how you can donate.

 

Principle Study

Participants needed to take part in national COVID-19 trial.

Researchers at the University of Oxford are appealing for people with typical COVID-19 symptoms, aged 50-64 years with existing medical conditions, or 65 years and over with or without existing medical conditions, to take part in a national priority status clinical trial - PRINCIPLE. Visit the website for more information and to check if you are eligible. Principle Trial

 

Covid-19 vaccination programme

Update 22-03-2021

NHS COVID-19 VACCINATION PROGRAMME UPDATE 9-4-2021

Update 22-03-2021

NHS COVID-19 VACCINATION PROGRAMME UPDATE 22-03-2021

Update 21-04-2021

We are now contacting all patients aged 45- 49 years for their covid vaccinations. Patients will receive a text message with a link or a phone call from the surgery to book your on appointment at Shape in Shepton Mallet.

Patients can also book appointments via the national booking system at a mass vaccination site on the gov.uk website. 

 

Update 17-03-2021

All patients who had their first Covid vaccination on 7th or 8th January can now book in for their second vaccination to be completed o 27th or 28th March at Shape, Shepton Mallet. 

Please contact the surgery on 01749 840233 if you haven't received a text message inviting you for this.

 

Update 05-03-2021

All patients who had their first vaccination between 29th Dec and 31st Dec can now book in at Shape Mendip for their second vaccination. Please contact the surgery on 01749 840233 if you haven't received a text message inviting you for this. 

We know that everyone is eager to find out when they will get their Covid vaccination and that this is an anxious time. The NHS is working very hard to invite people who are eligible to have their vaccination, as quickly as possible, and in Somerset, a third of all adults have already been vaccinated.

NEW - People who are aged over 60 can now book their appointment directly with the national booking service online, or by calling 119. You don’t need to wait to be contacted by the surgery.

The groups currently being prioritised for a coronavirus vaccine are:

Residents and staff of care homes for older adults

Anyone aged 60 and over

Frontline health and social care workers, and adult unpaid carers

Any adult identified as clinically vulnerable to complications following Covid-19 infection, including those on the GP Learning Disability Register

If you are aged between 65-69 (priority group five), we urge you to use the national booking service to book your appointment as soon as you receive a letter from the NHS – please don’t delay.

If you are aged between 16 and 64 (priority group six), with specific underlying health conditions that increase your risk of serious illness, you will be contacted by the GP primary care network team to invite you to your appointment, as soon as we possibly can.

You can really help to support the local vaccination programme and our surgery by:

Attending all booked vaccination appointments at exactly the right time you’re asked to

Unless you are in the groups being invited now, please don’t contact the surgery to seek a vaccine, you will be contacted by the NHS  when it is the right time;

and whether you have had your vaccine or not, please continue to follow all the guidance in place to control the virus and save lives.  

Update 01-03-2021

We are currently inviting all asthmatic patients on our patient list in cohort 6. Invites have been sent out this morning to these patients. This means that all cohort 6 patients have now been invited. As soon as this group has been vaccinated we will be allowed to move on to cohort 7. 

Second vaccinations - at present we have no infomration on a date for booking in these vaccinations. As soon as we can invite you to book your second covid vaccination we will let you know. We continue to wait for vaccine delivery confirmation. 

Update 19-02-2021

Our health and care colleagues have achieved an important milestone in Somerset, by offering a COVID-19 vaccination to people in the first four priority groups as identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)

We are now expanding our vaccination programme to include priority groups 5 and 6. This includes people aged 65 and over (Group 5) and people who are aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions, which may put them at higher risk of serious disease from COVID-19 (group 6)

People who fall in to the next priority groups will be contacted in a variety of ways which may include letters from the NHS if you are aged 65 and over - or you will receive a phone call, letter or text message from our GP primary care network team.

We are now inviting people who are 65 and over to book an appointment through the national booking service; online http://www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by ringing 119. As soon as you receive your letter, you can book a vaccination appointment at either of our large vaccination centres at the Bath & West Showground, Taunton Racecourse or a pharmacy-led site in Taunton, Yeovil or Bruton.

As part of our primary care network, we will be contacting people in group 6 who have underlying health issues as specified by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). We will contact you directly to arrange a vaccination appointment – there is no need to contact the practice.

We understand that everyone is anxious to know when they might get their vaccination and want to be vaccinated as quickly as possible. You can help us to run the vaccination programme as efficiently as possible by following the guidance above and please don’t contact the surgery to ask about your vaccination.

We are working through our patient lists as quickly as we can to identify patients who fit into priority group 6 and to ensure that they are offered an appointment as quickly as possible.

For more information on eligibility, visit the JCVI. Or you can find out more information on the Somerset NHS vaccination programme.

Thank you for your continuing support and patience.

First Group Bus Shuttle Service 

First Group have started a shuttle bus service from Wells via Shepton to the Bath and West vaccination centre. For more information see here Shuttle Bus Timetable

National Covid-19 vaccination programme - updated 08-02-2021

We have now contacted all our patients in cohorts 1-4 (this is patients over the age of 70 years and those patients who are clinically extremely vulnerable) according to the JCVI. We have vaccinated a significant number of patients in these cohorts which is fantastic news. 

We are all ready to go at Shape Mendip in Shepton Mallet and are awaiting another delivery of vaccinations in order to start calling cohort 5. As soon as we can start this.....we will be in touch via SMS with a link to book your own appointment, via phone to book it for you or via letter. 

We understand that people are anxious to be invited for their COVID-19 vaccinations. We are working very hard to invite people in the priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation as quickly as we can.

Please help us by not contacting us to ask about your appointment. We will contact you when it’s your turn.

If you have received a letter from the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service inviting you to book an appointment at a vaccination centre, you can book as advised in the letter or wait to be invited by your GP surgery.

Please do not contact or visit your GP surgery to ask when they will contact you. We are working as quickly as we can to get to everyone in the priority groups.

Somerset vaccination programme reaches important milestone

All residents of care homes for older adults in Somerset have now been offered a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine aside from those who cannot have it for clinical reasons. 

Somerset County Council, the NHS organisations in Somerset and a small army of volunteers have worked closely together to support the largest vaccination programme in history, with vulnerable care home residents for older adults among the top priority for the first vaccinations.

Mobile vaccinators from GP primary care networks (PCN) have visited care homes to offer the vaccine to all older care home residents, aside from those who cannot have it for clinical reasons including testing positive for Covid-19 in the last four weeks.

Read more on our website 

One million Covid-19 vaccine doses for people in the South West

A ‘major milestone’ was met on Wednesday this week as the number of first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine offered to people in the south west topped one million.

Staff across the NHS have been supporting the roll-out of the vaccination programme in the areas, with people most at-risk of Covid-19 being prioritised, in line with expert guidance.

The regional milestone was celebrated at the vaccination centre at the Taunton Racecourse in Somerset, one of seven health and care systems in the South West delivering the vaccination programme.

Read more on our website

 

Additional community pharmacy sites to offer Covid-19 vaccinations

This week, two more pharmacies in Somerset will start to offer the Covid-19 vaccination to those in the highest priority groups as part of a national drive to protect the public from the virus and accelerate the roll-out of the local vaccination programme.

The new sites include Boots Pharmacy, in Taunton who will provide vaccination services from specially designed facilities within the high street store and Bruton pharmacy, who will operate from the Community Hall in Silver Street, Bruton.

The pharmacy-led sites will deliver a wide range of pre-booked vaccination appointments throughout the week. People in the highest priority groups as identified by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation will be sent a letter by the NHS and invited to book their vaccination through the national booking service by phone, or online.

People can choose to attend a large vaccination centre or a pharmacy service which is most convenient and accessible to them, or can also choose to wait to be called by their local GP surgery if they prefer.

Read more on our website


Additional information

We welcome the announcement that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has been authorised by the MHRA for use in the UK. The Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI) has said that both the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine ‘give very high protection against severe disease’ and both have good safety records.

Updated guidance from MHRA, JCVI and the UK Chief Medical Officers has also been published to advise increasing the spacing of second vaccine doses for both the new Oxford/ AstraZeneca vaccine and the current Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. This decision will allow us to get the maximum benefit for the most people in the shortest possible time and will help save lives.

For more information on the NHS Vaccination programme please visit: www.somersetccg.nhs

Thank you for your patience

 For more information on the NHS Vaccination programme please visit: Covid-19 Vaccinations in Somerset which is regularly updated to reflect the most pressing or common questions/ concerns we are seeing as part of the vaccination programme.

Frequently asked questions: Covid-19 Vaccination Programme - FAQ's

Thank you for your patience.

Somerset Covid-19 vaccination programme

For more information on how Covid-19 vaccinations are going in Somerset please see this helpful video Somerset Covid Catch-Up

Taunton Racecourse announced as Somerset’s new large vaccination centre. For more information see here Taunton Racecourse Vaccination Centre