You may have seen on the news that from Monday 17 May, doors at GP practices are ‘re-opening’. As you will know, our GP practice has been open throughout the pandemic, offering patients telephone and online appointments, with face to face consultations available for those who need them. This was in-line with national requirements to keep patients safe, whilst COVID infection rates were high and before the vaccination was widespread.
GP practices are now being encouraged to offer patients a choice of whether they would like a remote or face to face consultation. However, before we have more people coming into the surgery to see us in person, we need a bit of time to put in place measures to keep everyone safe.
As we wait for further national guidance on doing that, we ask that patients continue to contact us by phone or online as you have been doing. We are facing unprecedented demands for our services and will need to continue to adjust how we use our clinicians’ time to best support our patients – particularly those who need us the most.
We will keep you updated as soon as we are clear about how we can re-open our reception areas safely. Thank you for your support.
Covid Vaccinations Update
This GP practice is not offering 1st dose COVID vaccines for healthy under 50s. Book a 1st dose once you’re eligible at: www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination
or call 119. New slots are added frequently so check back if you can’t initially see a convenient time/place. If we are due to give your 2nd dose, we will be in touch in the 11th week.
Update on Appointments
Throughout the Covid pandemic, our goal has been to keep our patients and staff safe while still seeing and treating as many people as possible. To achieve this, we have had to change the way we do things, and this has also meant changes for you. Since we have to keep people socially distant apart on our premises, we have to limit the number of people coming to the practice buildings each day. This means that we are doing initial consultations by phone as far as possible, so that face-to-face consultations are available for those that really need them. We know it might feel a little odd to see the doctor this way, but it’s the only way we can offer the same level of care.
Our buildings were not built with Covid in mind, and we’re sorry that some of these changes have made things a little inconvenient. Some people may be asked to wait outside ahead of appointments if there isn’t enough space inside, and we ask people to come alone to appointments unless they must be accompanied. We want everyone to call to book an appointment. We very sorry that we unable allow anyone into the building without an appointment.
We remain dedicated to offering you the best possible service, support and care. We are doing things differently, but we are doing them to help you stay well, and to protect the health of our staff. Tell us if you are feeling unwell or are worried about your health.
Remember that there are many services you can access via this website that remove the need to visit the surgery. This includes registering new patients, change of address, wellbeing services and more.
- Face-to-face appointments remain available to all patients, but will only be booked in a timed slot, if necessary, and after discussion with one of the GPs.If you are asked to come into the surgery for a face-to-face appointment, please remember to wear a face covering. Measures are in place to keep you safe from infection during your visit to the surgery.
- Routine vaccinations (child and adult) & cancer screening tests (smears etc) are continuing as a priority
- Phone and video appointments are available to all patients, via secure NHS software, and might be the safest most convenient option.
Please call to speak to a doctor between 0830Hrs to 1050Hrs and 1430Hrs to 1600Hrs for advice on the same day. Pre bookable telephone appointments are available too. As the telephone lines can be busy during these times,please ring between 1100Hrs to 1430Hrs and 1700Hrs to 18Hrs to book telephone appointments in advance,to book tests ,immunisations and obtain the doctors message for the test results from the reception team.
HELP US TO HELP YOU
Thank you for working with us as we have implemented infection control measures to make you and the staff at the surgery safe when you are invited for a Face-to-Face appointment.
- On arrival, please bring a mask and a mobile phone.
- A number is displayed on the front door.
- Please ring the number for a COVID Screen.
- The Clinician expecting you will than know you are waiting.
- We can let 5 people wait in the waiting room.
- If more than 5 are waiting please be patient with us whilst waiting outside.
- If you are unable to wait outside please let the receptionist know and if possible, wait in your car. The clinician expecting you will call you when they are ready.
Information about local Covid-19 vaccination centres
We are currently vaccinating priority groups (1-9) .Please call reception between 11am and 2pm to book an appointment if you haven't received the invites if you had the 1st Dose more than 10 weeks ago.
You also can book appointments by ringing 119 or online Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine - NHS (www.nhs.uk) Please note this booking is not managed by Garston Medical Centre
Delays to 2nd doses
All of the existing Covid-19 vaccines being used in the UK require two doses. The first dose gives good protection, although longer-lasting and maximum protection only comes after the second dose. It is important that everyone gets both doses when they invited to do so. There are enough supplies of the vaccine to give second doses to everyone who has had their first.
The vast majority of people are receiving their second dose within the recommended 12 weeks from first dose. A small number of people are not able to get their second dose within this period. For people in this situation, the official advice says “If an interval longer than the recommended interval is left between doses, the second dose should still be given. The course does not need to be restarted.”
So if your second dose is more than 12 weeks after the first, don’t worry. You still have the protection offered by the first dose, and you should still get the second dose when it is offered to you. You don’t need to go back to the start.
Remember that even after your first or second doses, you can still transmit Covid, so stick to the Hands Face Space rules even after you have had your vaccine.
Please update your mobile number using our online form. This will help us to contact you easily for booking the appointment online for the vaccinations
The NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme is now underway and is starting to be rolled out in GP-led vaccination centres. The information below answers some of patients’ key questions about getting the vaccine.
- When will I be getting the vaccine?
To protect those who are the most as risk first, the vaccine is initially being offered to patients aged 80 and over. More information about how the vaccine will be rolled out to people in order of priority, starting with those who most need protecting from the virus, is in the Why do I have to wait? leaflet.
Vaccinations are underway in the Watford and Three Rivers areas for the first eligible groups. Patients need two doses of the vaccine 12 weeks apart.
Please update your mobile telephone numbers using the form on the website
- How will I be invited for an appointment?
GP practices are working through our lists of eligible patients and we will contact you to invite you to book your appointment when it is your turn. You will need to book an appointment for both your first and second dose.
Please DO NOT contact surgery to try to make an appointment before you hear from us. This will allow our staff to focus on helping patients needing medical help as well as starting to contact patients about vaccine appointments when we’re able to do so. Practice staff are not currently able to give you any more information than we have provided here.
- Where will I be getting the vaccine?
General Practices are working collaboratively to run local vaccination centres. Together, our teams bring years of experience and knowledge delivering vaccination programmes. The vaccination centre for this practice is Bridgewater House and this is where you will go for your vaccine.
The Pfizer vaccine is safe and highly effective, but it is complex to move, store and prepare and so can only be given in vaccination centres that meet particular requirements.
- Will housebound and care home patients be able to have the vaccine at home in the same way as for the flu vaccine.
We will be making arrangements to offer the Covid-19 vaccine in people's homes and in care homes for people who are unable to get to a vaccination centre.
We can’t confirm when that might be as this may have to wait for supply of the right type of vaccine. This is because only some vaccines can be transported between people’s homes.
You can also find more information about the vaccine on the NHS.UK website
New Telephone System
We have listened to our patients feedback. We are in the process of upgrading our telephone system.
COVID vaccine supplies
GP-run vaccination centre at Bridgewater Surgery delivering 2nd doses of vaccinations to people in the top priority cohorts. This includes everyone aged 50 or over, eligible carers and those in vulnerable groups. If you are one of these patients, you can also choose to book a vaccination online at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/ or by calling 119.
Everyone who is due to have a second dose of either the Pfizer or the AstraZeneca vaccine between 29 March and the end of April will receive their second dose. If you had your first dose at our GP-run vaccination centre then we will contact you when it is time for your next appointment. There is no need for you to phone us.
If you booked your first appointment at a pharmacy or large vaccination centre through the national booking system website or by calling 119 then you should already have a second dose appointment in your diary, which you should attend as planned.
Any first dose vaccinations already booked to take place in April via the national booking system will also still go ahead.
Up to date information about COVID vaccinations can be found at https://covid.healthierfuture.org.uk/
We have upgraded our website. You can now submit online forms.These include Prescription requests ,Sick note requests, Contraceptive review, Change of personal details,submitting BP readings and asthma review. Please find them in the Forms section. We kindly request you NOT to request advice for Medical Matters on these forms.