Update on how we are working at Houghton Close during the Coronavirus Outbreak
We hope you and your families are keeping safe and we thank you for working with us throughout this very challenging time.
Rest assured we are still here to help you get the care and advice you need and would ask that you work with us.
We are extremely busy and almost overwhelmed with requests for telephone consultations and whilst we are slowly re-introducing services to you, working safely is essential to ensure the safety of our patients and our practice team.
Both telephone consultations and face to face appointments take much longer due to the constraints and precautions we have to take and this can therefore result in delays and limited availability
Should you need to contact the practice please do so either online, by an app or by phone (please note our email address is not for routine use by patients). The building is closed except for:
- Collection of prescriptions and medication – (see detail and times below)
- Pre-agreed collection of paperwork
- Some face to face appointments with clinicians (see detail below)
If you do need to come to the surgery we would ask that you wear a facemask/covering for the safety of yourself and our team.
- You are only able to book appointments with a GP or Nurse prescriber by phoning the surgery.
- We are initially only offering telephone consultations and most of these will only be bookable on the day:
- You will be assessed, and as far as possible you will receive advice or care via a video consultation, or over the phone.
- If a face-to-face appointment is necessary, you will be advised on what to do. GP practices have measures in place to minimise any risk from coronavirus. If you are asked to come in to the practice you must wear a face covering/mask.
- In addition to routine telephone consultations we will still have an ‘on the day emergency doctor’, but these appointments should only be requested for a medical condition that you believe cannot wait until another day when a routine appointment will be available.
- Once all telephone appointments are booked we are unable to take messages from patients to request a call back from the GP as this effectively constitutes a telephone consultation. Instead we ask you call back another day to book a telephone consultation.
Please do not enter the practice unless you’ve been advised to. This will ensure we can continue to provide essential care safely.
- Our Practice Nurses, HCAs and Phlebotomists will be seeing some patients for face to face consultations, but these will be by prior agreement only. If you have such an appointment, please do NOT enter the building – wait either in your car or outside, and the clinician will call you on your mobile number when they are ready to come and let you.
- We are running a much reduced phlebotomy service for patients over the age of 65. All other patients should go to the walk in service at North Wing, Bedford Hospital (open daily from 08.00-16.30) to leave our appointments for elderly patients who cannot go to the hospital.
- Our dispensary is open for collection of prescriptions and medication only. Access to the dispensary is via our side door on a strictly one in one out basis and you must wear a face covering/mask when entering the building. If you see someone else at the dispensary counter please leave the building immediately and wait until the other patient has left.
- Opening times for this service are:
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
09.00-12.00 and 12.15 – 13.00
- Wednesday and Friday
09.00-12.00 and 12.15 –13.00
- Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
- Repeat medication can be ordered either via Systmonline or by putting a written request through the letterbox at the front of the building.
- Dispensary phone lines are ONLY for use by housebound patients for ordering medication and for any patients with medication queries. However, please note the lines are open for minimal time each day (10:30-12:00 and 14:30-16:00) so where possible we would ask you send a message to dispensary via online messaging to ensure the line is free for those unable to access online messaging.
Advice regarding returning to work/school
If you have a query regarding school or work attendance in respect of Coronavirus restrictions, we ask that you access Government advice directly rather than requesting a GP consultation.
If you or someone you live with HAS Coronavirus symptoms (new continuous cough OR fever OR loss of/ change in smell or taste)
- Stay at home.
- If your symptoms worsen or you feel that you cannot manage at home, please refer to the NHS111 online coronavirus service. If you can’t get help online, call 111.
- Please do not go to your GP practice, community pharmacy, dental practice or optician.
We would ask for your patience during these challenging times.