Patient letter from The Chorley Central Primary Care Network

The Chorley Surgery, Library House Surgery, Regent House Surgery, Coppull Medical Practice, Euxton Medical Centre, Granville House Medical Centre

Dear Patients,

We have been overwhelmed by the supportive messages we’ve received from many of you as we begin dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Your appreciative comments mean a lot – thank you!

As the situation becomes more serious, we fear that it will be harder for us to provide the highest level of care. Staff will be going off sick, and higher numbers of people than normal will be requesting advice. With this in mind, we’ve come up with some suggestions as to how you can help us to help you.

1. Our reception team are working to the best of their ability, with almost daily changes to the system. Without them, the clinical staff wouldn’t be able to function. Our reception staff are human beings who are also feeling worried and stressed at the moment. Please support them and us by treating them kindly.

2. Please consider whether your problem truly needs our advice at this time. A longstanding mild concern should probably wait. Please make use of resources like the NHS website if you aren’t sure.  For parents with children, the When should i worry? booklet is very useful.

3. If you have a fever or a cough that is new (or worse than your usual cough), then you should use the NHS 111 coronavirus service, rather than call us. This service has been set up specially for these symptoms, and can arrange review by a healthcare professional if needed.

4. If you are attending for an appointment at the surgery, please come alone. This will minimise the number of people our staff are exposed to, and reduce our staff illness rate. If a child or vulnerable patient is attending, then one carer only should attend.

5. If you are booked for a telephone triage appointment with a GP or nurse, please understand that the time given may not be exact – the GPs and nurses will be working through a long list of patients and may have to prioritise serious cases first. Please also be aware that we are utilising video consultations via smartphones. Ideally, you should be connected to a wifi connection or have a good data allowance.

6. Please be aware that we won’t be able to provide letters or “Fit Note” documents for work regarding your health conditions and whether you should be in work or not. “Isolation Notes” for time spent off with coronavirus symptoms (or if someone you live with has been ill) can be obtained NHS online. People with health concerns should discuss this with their employer and their Occupational Health department.

7. Above all else – please follow the government social distancing guidelines  to the letter. By making unnecessary trips out you increase the chances of getting ill yourself, and also expose others in the community to risk. Stay at Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.

Thank you, and please take care.

The Doctors, nurses and staff from the Chorley Central Network Practices.