Covid-19 Useful Information
As you will be aware, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has required significant changes to ensure provision of safe and effective primary care services throughout Northern Ireland.
YOU MUST NOT ATTEND THE HEALTH CENTRE IF EITHER YOURSELF OR ANY MEMBER OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD ARE CURRENTLY HAVING SYMPTOMS of the CORONAVIRUS or ISOLATING.
- A NEW CONTINUOUS COUGH or
- A HIGH TEMPERATURE or
- A LOSS OF, OR CHANGE TO, YOUR SENSE OF SMELL OR TASTE.
The Chief Medical Officer has advised and we would ask our patients to wear a face covering when attending the Health Centre.
We remain OPEN
The health centre is pleased to say we have remained open throughout the pandemic but we appreciate significant changes have had to be made to protect both our patients and staff while continuing to provide a range of important services to our patients.
How to Contact a GP
As a practice we have moved to telephone-first.
PLEASE ENSURE YOUR PERSONAL DETAILS, in particular MOBILE PHONE numbers we hold, are UP TO DATE - Update my details
In order to protect our patients and staff, we continue to restrict access to the health centre to reduce footfall. Please do not arrive at the health centre without ringing first.
It is essential we continue to keep social distancing and limit the number of patients through the health centre to maintain safety for those needing to use it. Please respect this decision but it is important as we often have vulnerable patients needing to attend.
Please ring early in the morning 8.30 – 10.30
A GP will try to ring you back the same day.
The receptionist will ask you for a brief idea of what the problem is or the reason for the phone call. We would ask for your cooperation with our staff at this time as it helps to triage calls when workload demands are high.
Only emergency telephone calls will be taken for the remainder of the day by the on-call GP.
For the majority of patients issues may be managed by a remote consultation, usually by telephone call.
If necessary the GP can send a message to your mobile phone for you to forward photographs.
Alternatively we have facilities for video consultations via a smartphone where this would be required.
This provides useful tips of how to use Accurx to send photos or video consult
However if the GP feels an examination face to face is essential, then this will take place either in the practice, the local Covid Centre or a home visit if appropriate.
The local COVID Centre is at the Ards Hospital site and is run by GPs from the area. If the GP feels this is best, then the centre enables anyone who is isolating or who has symptoms which may suggest covid to be assessed. The necessary precautions are taken for both patients attending and staff working at these centres. Appointments are strictly by referral and arrangement by your own GP Practice to the Covid Centre.
How do I arrange blood tests?
Patients requiring essential regular blood monitoring will be aware of the importance of continuing this monitoring during the covid pandemic.
Bloods will only be taken in the treatment room if requested by the GP or the hospital team have supplied the necessary information/labels.
Baby Clinics, Smear Clinics, Joint injections, Minor Surgery Clinics, Hypertension Clinics are run strictly by appointments. No one should attend without being given an appointment time.
Diabetic Clinic, Asthma & COPD Clinics, Pain management Clinics are currently taking place by remote consultation.
We will continue to review the situation and will update the information on the website to reflect this as much as possible over time.
Find information on coronavirus including guidance, support, announcements and statistics:
Public health agency
Recommended information includes:
- Symptom checker for coronavirus
- Testing and contact tracing - link also given below to book a free test
- Advice on face coverings
- Information on the Stop covid NI proximity APP
- Information on Health and Wellbeing
- Advice for vulnerable people
- Helplines network NI information
- Travel advice
Test and Trace
Now available free for everyone in NI of all ages if they develop symptoms of covid-19. We strongly encourage you to have a test if you have any of the symptoms.
Please isolate until the result is available. DO NOT WAIT. You need to get the test done in the first 5 days.
Have you considered downloading the NI COVID app.
This is essentially a proximity app that alerts anyone to significant exposure (<2m for more than 15 minutes) to someone who has tested positive.
It is NOT mandatory for anyone to download it, but the Department are strongly encouraging people to do so.
British Medical Association Advice
The media have been discussing letters from your GP. The BMA have advised it is not the role of the GP to provide a:
- letter for schools to state that a child is 'covid free'.
- letter of exemption for mask wear
A GUIDE TO SUPPORT PARENTS/CARERS of children during covid
What just happened? Coping with covid-19. A guide to support parents and carers of children Safe Guarding NI