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 to date 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 we hold are UP TO DATE including mobile phone numbers. 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.
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
The GP will try to manage your care remotely for your own safety where possible.
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 with 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.
Under the current circumstances, routine blood tests are not being performed.
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 at this time but it is important as we often have vulnerable patients needing to attend.
Baby clinic and vaccinations have continued throughout the pandemic. This is now run strictly by appointments. No one should attend without being given an appointment time. Please ensure the mobile number is up to date.
Diabetic and respiratory review clinics are taking place by remote consultation.
Smear clinics and joint injections have started again.
We will continue to review the situation and will update the information on the website to reflect this as much as possible over time.
Vaccination is the most important thing you can do to protect your community against serious illnesses. When enough people get vaccinated, it’s harder for a disease to spread to those who can’t have vaccines.
We know many people are interested in the COVID-19 vaccination and want to assure you that we are working through a priority list set by the Department of Health. Please do not contact your GP about getting the vaccine. We will contact patients in order of priority.
THOSE AGED BETWEEN 50 AND 69 CAN NOW BOOK THEIR COVID VACCINATION APPOINTMENTS AT ONE OF NORTHERN IRELANDS 7 VACCINATION CENTRES. see link.
or telephone number 0300 200 7813.
Public Messaging will invite carers aged 60-64 in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Credit or a registered care home Care Partner or the main carer for a vulnerable person as well as patients aged 70 or older, and those aged 16-64 who are CEV and have a shielding letter from either their GP or hospital to book to have their vaccination at the regional centres.
Carers aged 18 and over can now be vaccinated at the regional centres.
Please DO NOT phone the health centre, our website will be updated with the latest information.
On the days we are running COVID clinics please request emergencies only as there will be shortages in staff.
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 going to be a vital part of relaxing all the regulations and preventing a second surge. 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
What just happened? Coping with covid-19. A guide to support parents and carers of children.
Safe Guarding NI