Medical Centre Update

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Dr Mark Howcutt

An update from Haddenham Medical Centre
26th June 2020

Thank you for your continued support over this difficult time. Although some of the lock-down restrictions are easing, the virus has not gone away and we need to continue to work differently. We remain grateful to you all for adapting to our new systems. These have helped us try to keep everyone safe and well.

It has been particularly encouraging to see the community come together with volunteers providing service to their neighbours and to the NHS. We would like to thank the "Haddenham Scrub Hub" who recently provided scrubs for our team here. These garments are really helpful in further reducing the risk of spreading infection.

We need to continue to minimise the number of people who come into the building. We would ask that you do not attend the surgery unless you have a confirmed appointment, are dropping off a repeat prescription request into the foyer or been asked to come by one of the team. While we know that it is tempting to pop in when passing or visiting the pharmacist, please phone the surgery if you have a query.

For those patients with confirmed appointments, we have an intercom device in the foyer. Please ring the bell and the receptionist will let you in for your appointment. We are asking all patients who attend the surgery to wear face coverings to help protect themselves and others. We have reduced the number of chairs in the waiting room to enable safe social distancing and are introducing a one-way system around the building.

We have been thinking hard about how to begin to restart more of our normal services. As an NHS GP surgery, you know that we are always very busy, but we will have three challenges adding to our usual workload:

(1) We will continue to have extra COVID-19 work -assessing patients with possible COVID-19, advising patients on prevention and recovery, and being prepared for a second wave.

(2) We will have to start dealing with the large backlog of patients' problems that have not been dealt with by us or the hospitals over the last three months.

(3) Every consultation is going to take longer than usual. With the gradual return of more face to face consultations, each one will take extra time due to enhanced patient safety measures such as the need to put on and take off Personal Protective Equipment and cleaning between patients.

We will need to continue to work in new ways to try to manage all this. An example of this is how we plan to restart our reviews of patients with diabetes. We will start by identifying those patients with greatest need and will invite them to attend the surgery for the measurements, blood tests and urine tests required. The team will discuss the results of these tests before Chris, our diabetes nurse, will ring the patient to speak to them about their health and treatment.

We know that some of you are keen to know whether or not you might have previously had COVID-19. You may have seen information in the media about an antibody blood test that might be able to tell who has had the virus. Despite these reports, we do not have antibody testing available for patients yet.

This continues to be a difficult time for everyone. A lot of people are tired of lock-down, some are frustrated, and many are stressed by the new challenges that have had to be faced. Please remember to be kind to yourself during this stressful time.

If you feel you need more help with your mental health during the pandemic, please remember that there is a telephone helpline available:

Adult helpline: 01865 904997
Children and Young People helpline: 01865 904998
The lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Dr Mark Howcutt
Haddenham Medical Centre