Patient access to GP services has changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The following information provides clear advice on how patients can access primary care services – whether that is virtually, remotely or, if appropriate, face-to-face:
NHS 111 and COVID-19 Clinical Assessment Service
Patients with symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, high temperature and loss of taste or smell), should dial 111 to access the COVID-19 Clinical Assessment Service (CCAS).
This service will undertake an assessment to determine if the patient requires further attention in primary care. It will be able to triage a patient and, if appropriate, book a patient in to a practice directly.
To access this service please call 111 for a clinical assessment.
Remote total triage
Remote total triage is a general practice programme which has been developed to support all GP practices in England during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It allows GP services to triage a patient remotely, prior to making a clinical decision. This enables practices to use an online consultation system to gather clinically relevant information from patients and triage patients – responding using the most appropriate modality to meet the patient’s needs such as via telephone, video, text, online or face-to-face.
Non-digital users are taken through the same process over the telephone.
To access this service please call 111 or your local practice before you attend in person for clinical assessment to prevent the risk of spreading the infection.
Online consultation systems allow patients to contact their GP surgery without having to wait on the phone or spend time traveling to the practice. They also form an important part of Digital First Primary Care.
Online consultations enable patients to ask questions, report symptoms and upload photos. The practice then looks at the request and responds within a stated timeframe, connecting the patient to the right person, service or support.
To access the online consultation service please access your local surgery via its website or contact your practice.
Video consultations enable patients to have an appointment via a completely secure video environment from the comfort of your own home. Patients do not need to attend the practice and can connect to this service.
To access the video consultation, please contact your practice. This service can be accessed following remote clinical triage.
Home visiting service
The home visiting service is a GP-led service to boost home visiting capacity for primary care. The service will support home visiting and care needs for shielded patients. Shielded patients with no Covid symptoms requiring face-to-face assessment should be seen via home visits unless an alternative care setting is clinically indicated.
To access to this service a GP will refer a patient via the Single point of Access (SPA)
Community Response Team Service
This service supports care homes and end-of-life patients. It is managed jointly with emergency care practitioner/social care/community teams, led by GPs, between 8am-8pm, seven days a week.
Care homes have direct access to this service and all Primary Care practices can access this via Single point of Access (SPA)
Appointments outside of normal hours are now available for patients. This includes weekday evenings (6.30pm-8pm), Saturdays (8am-8pm) and Sundays (10am-2pm).
Patients can book an appointment in their local area, in advance, by speaking with their usual practice. Following the passing of COVID-19’s peak this service will restart on July 1, 2020.
To access this service and to book an appointment, please call your practice.
Out of Hours service
The out-of-hours period is from 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays, and all day at weekends and on bank holidays.
To access this service For North Lincolnshire or Goole please call 111.
The hot clinic service is face-to-face consultations for patients with COVID-19 symptoms who require care.
For patients requiring a face-to-face assessment, either because of illness/complications related to suspected/confirmed COVID-19, or due to other long term conditions in the presence of suspected/confirmed COVID-19, should be remotely triaged by their practice to assess their symptoms and their need for a face-to-face consultation.
Patients can only attend hot clinics after they have been booked in for a specific appointment slot. Patients cannot self-refer in to this service.
Children with symptoms of COVID-19
COVID-19 tends to be a mild, self-limiting respiratory illness in children.
Prolonged illness and/or severe symptoms should not be attributed to COVID-19 and should be evaluated as usual. The threshold for face-to-face assessment in general practice and for referral to secondary care should not change during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To access this service, patients should call 111 for a clinical assessment.
Access to medication for patients with symptoms of COVID-19
Patients with COVID-19 symptoms should be advised not to go to community pharmacies.
If patients require a prescribed medication, this should be collected by someone who is not required to isolate themselves due to contact with the patient e.g. a neighbour or relative who does not live in the same household.
Alternatively, this can be done via NHS Volunteer Responders and delivered to the patient’s home. For information on how to use this service please call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm) to arrange volunteer support. For more information please use the following link.
Mental health, dementia, learning disability and autism
Patients may feel distressed, anxious or low in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
There are lots of online resources on mental wellbeing which includes information on stress, anxiety, depression, and wellbeing, and where to get urgent or emergency help for mental health needs. For more information please use the following links:
The Doncaster Talking Shop and the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Long Term Conditions service have changed all their appointments to telephone/ video conferencing or Mind District online therapy programme.
Referral processes for both teams remain the same. Talking Shop self-referrals via Tel: 01302 565556 and IAPT Long Term Conditions is via Single Point of Access on 01302 566999 or direct office number is 01302 379563 for any other queries.
The Rotherham IAPT team can be contacted via telephone 01709 447755.
The North Lincolnshire Talking Shop on Market Hill, Scunthorpe is now OPEN for walk in referrals between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday. The team is also taking telephone referrals on 01724 867297.
If your call is of an urgent nature please contact the RDaSH Crisis Teams on either 01302 566999; 01709 302670 or 01724 382015
People requiring translation and interpretation services
The move to remote consultation and use of PPE in face-to-face consultations requires additional considerations. For example, the impact of PPE on lip reading. The GOV.UK website provides advice for the public and is translated into multiple languages. The Doctors of the World has translated relevant NHS guidance into 60 languages.
Communication tips and BSL interpreters are available for supporting people with hearing loss to access general practice services.
Social and community support
Shielded patients are asked to register with the Government support website, whether or not they require additional support.
To access this, patients must be flagged as at highest clinical risk. There may be a short delay between the flag being applied and support arriving. If a patient requires more immediate support, refer to the NHS Volunteer Responders.
If you have access to a local social prescribing link worker or social prescribing service, they can co-ordinate support.
Preventing Coronavirus outbreaks in North Lincolnshire
A message for North Lincolnshire residents from the North Lincolnshire CCG Chairman/local GP and the North Lincolnshire Council Director of Public Health
As of July 1, 2020, there have been at least 10.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide and at least 500,000 deaths attributable to this most challenging disease. Countries such as China and Japan which had slowly been returning to normal have been reporting new infection outbreaks.
As lockdown measures in the UK are slowly being eased, we need to be cautious and vigilant. Leicester is an example of an area that has reported high numbers of infections and will be subject to specific measures to prevent the situation worsening.
So how do we ensure that North Lincolnshire infection rates do not rise and we tackle this virus robustly? There are steps that we have to take:
–Social distancing (between people not in your household). This should ideally be 2-metres. If 2-metres is not possible, then 1 metre plus – this involves sitting side-by-side or back-to-back rather than face-to-face where possible, safely keeping windows or doors open to allow ventilation, and avoiding talking loudly or singing as this can amplify virus transmission
–Strict hygiene including regular and rigorous handwashing (including the use of hand sanitiser where washing is not possible), sneezing/coughing into a tissue or the elbow fold, and regularly wiping down surfaces
– Wearing face coverings or masks whilst using public transport or in enclosed spaces, including in hospitals
Patients in North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire areacan access medical advice and help from their GP – without needing to visit their local GP practice in person or wait on the phone.
The free online GP practice service, which can be used at any time of the day, can save people time because it removes the need for them to make unnecessary phone calls or trips to their GP practice to request the help they need.
The confidential online service can be used by anyone registered with a GP practice and is accessible via smartphone, tablet or computer.
Patients using the service will be able to:
Seek medical advice about a new problem or an ongoing issue
Take part in an online consultation
Order repeat prescriptions
Request test results
Request GP letters and ‘fit for work’ notes
To access the online service, patients can visit their GP practice website and follow the simple instructions. They can use the search tool at nhsonline.info to find their GP practice website and more information about GP online services.
Dr Ekta Elston, local GP and Medical Director of NHS North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
The free GP practice online service gives patients much more flexibility and choice in how and when they access healthcare. People with busy lives often struggle to find the time to contact their GP practice to request help, so this service offers them the convenience of accessing GP services online, at a time that suits them.
This means patients can avoid unnecessary trips to their GP practice for non-urgent health issues, and they won’t need to spend time waiting on the phone, as requesting medical advice and administrative tasks such as managing repeat prescriptions and getting test results can now be managed online.
This service does not replace face-to-face appointments, which will continue to be available for anyone who needs them. By people accessing services online when it’s appropriate to do so, it frees up face-to-face GP appointments for those people who really need them.
For patients requesting online consultations, symptoms can be submitted via a simple online form. They will then get a response from their GP practice within 1-2 working days. This could be via email, phone or video call.
The response from your GP surgery could include medical advice, the offer of a face-to-face appointment or referral to another health service, such as your local pharmacy.
You should contact the NHS 111 service if you require urgent medical attention, or call 999 or visit your nearest A&E department in an emergency.
To access the GP online service, visit your GP practice website. You can use the search tool at nhsonline.info to find your GP practice website and find out more about GP online services.
More than 500 tablet devices help care home residents remain connected to GPs during COVID-19
Care home residents in Humber, Coast and Vale have remained connected to GPs during lockdown – after more than 500 tablet devices were supplied to the region’s care homes through a digital programme launched in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
The UK government introduced strict lockdown measures in March to try to limit the spread of the virus, including encouraging people to stay at home and only go outside for essential visits such as exercise, food shopping or to collect medicine prescriptions.
Many healthcare services were reconfigured to adhere to these new measures, which meant that most face-to-face appointments were replaced with telephone or online consultations.
To ensure that care home residents could continue to receive care from a GP, digital programme leaders from the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership worked to provide data-enabled tablets in every care home in Humber, Coast and Vale – an area which includes the cities of Hull and York and large rural areas across East Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire.
In total 537 tablet computers were supplied to care homes in Humber, Coast and Vale for online GP consultations, which meant the care and support that GPs would normally provide to residents during care home visits could continue – with residents facing no increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 as the number of people visiting the care homes in person was greatly reduced.
The provision of data enabled tablets in every care home in Humber, Coast and Vale also enabled care home staff to consult with GPs if they had any queries about the health of a resident, and also participate in training webinars.
John Skidmore, Digital Lead for the Humber, Coast and Vale Health and Care Partnership, said:
The COVID-19 pandemic presented the Partnership with the opportunity to use available digital technology rapidly to ensure healthcare services could continue to operate during these unprecedented times, so health and care staff across the Humber, Coast and Vale could still provide the care and support to our populations as they would prior to COVID-19.
With support to care homes quickly becoming a local and national priority in the COVID-19 response, arrangements were made to provide a data enabled tablet to every care home in Humber, Coast and Vale to ensure GPs could still provide consultations to care home residents. This meant that residents, who are among the most at-risk groups in our communities, could still receive the care and support they would normally from GPs, without an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. We have made a strong start supporting care homes with digital technology and we are working together to provide additional technology in the future to build on the successes to date.
As well as enabling GPs to consult with care home residents, in future the tablets could be used in a variety of other ways to help care home residents remain connected to family and friends, as well as be used for other healthcare consultations such as medicine reviews.
Sandra Anderson, Director at the Millings Care Home in the North Yorkshire town of Bedale, said:
From our first try we had a really good experience using the device. Residents were really happy with how it worked and we found it to be a really efficient way to contact healthcare professionals.
Other members of staff I have spoken to have said that the tablet is easy to use and they have had no issues with using it to connect our residents with GPs and other healthcare professionals.
CCG supports North Lincolnshire Council in ‘Stop Covid – Prevent Local Outbreak’ campaign
North Lincolnshire Council and NHS North Lincolnshire CCG is calling on all residents and businesses in the region to do their bit to ensure that a local outbreak doesn’t happen by staying safe and following the national guidelines.
Stay alert – we can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:
stay at home as much as possible
work from home if you can
limit contact with other people
keep your distance if you go out (two metres apart where possible)
wash your hands regularly
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
Cllr Rob Waltham, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said:
“We have faced one of the most challenging times as a community and now as restrictions begin to be eased we must recognise it is not yet over.
“The impact of Covid-19 has been felt across our area in many ways; businesses have had to operate in different ways, many people have been asked to stay indoors for months to protect themselves and the community and in some cases we have lost loved ones to the disease.
“There have been some positives though. Not least the response from towns and villages across North Lincolnshire. Every community responded to the call to protect the most vulnerable.
“Many people – from Scunthorpe to Barton, Brigg to the Isle of Axholme and everywhere in between – have made the community response the overwhelming success it has been. We’ve looked after ourselves, our families and our neighbours.
“That response made sure the most vulnerable could be prioritised, that people could be kept safe and well, that our communities remained resilient and that the local economy was protected.
“Businesses, particularly retailers following the opening of non-essential stores, have been working hard to put the right safety measures in place to keep their staff and customers safe. It has been an extremely challenging time for everyone but shopping local and backing your community businesses will be critical as we re-emerge.
“A raft of support – literally millions in Government cash – has been offered to support jobs and businesses when they had to close or work differently to help them deal with the challenges the coronavirus outbreak presented and we will continue to work with businesses to help them reopen safely in line with government guidelines.
“But the responsibility lies with each and every one of us to stay safe – it is essential that we appreciate the consequences of our actions.
“We must all be disciplined with our hygiene measures, social distancing and infection control and realise that everything we do has an impact. We all have a responsibility to stop Covid-19 and prevent local outbreaks.”
Penny Spring, Director of Public Health for North Lincolnshire, said:
“We have reached a critical point in the attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19 in our communities. The responsibility is upon all of us to prevent further outbreaks.
“We have all as individuals, families, neighbours and communities endured a challenging few months since the first case of Covid was identified in this area back in March.
“Thankfully we continue to see the number of new cases reducing every day across the region.
“The reason for that is because we have all been diligent and committed to adhering to the national advice and guidance. We have all been staying home, maintaining social distancing and practicing good hand and respiratory hygiene.
“Not seeing family and friends has been tough though and the significant restrictions which have been placed upon our daily lives have been challenging.
“By working together as a community it has meant the most vulnerable people have been prioritised, the majority of the population has been kept safe and well, our communities have maintained resilience and the economy has been protected from the worst effects.
“However, people have died, Covid-19 has taken loved ones and it will again if the infection rate increases.
“It is now, that the level of infection, the R rate, is being maintained below one, that some of these restrictions begin to be lifted and that puts us in the most delicate of positions.
“We all must stay at home as much as possible, work from home if we can, limit contact with other people and keep two metres apart. We must also continue to wash out hands.
“We must all make sure that we work together once again to stop Covid and prevent local outbreaks.”
Dr Faisel Baig, Chair at NHS North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“We are fully supportive of the ‘Prevent Local Outbreaks’ campaign.
“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everybody across North Lincolnshire who have adhered to the huge changes we have all had to make to the way in which we live our lives.
“It has been a real team effort in firstly staying at home and, now, firmly getting the virus under control. Every death that has occurred is tragic and my heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones.
“The discipline shown by local people really has saved many other lives though. Please don’t underestimate the role you and your loved ones have played in helping to save these lives.
“But as the campaign rightly states, we’re not there yet. While we need to support our local businesses and return to life as close to normal as we can, it is imperative we do this safely.
“Together we must continue to adhere to the guidelines. So please do remain two metres apart from other people, wash your hands both regularly and thoroughly, wear face coverings when using public transport and if you have any coronavirus symptoms, please isolate immediately, along with your household, and use NHS 111 online for advice.”
Health is defined as physical, mental and social well-being of an individual.
In the current Covid-19 pandemic, lots has been spoken about physical and social well-being but it’s time to turn our focus on our mental well-being.
As this crisis unfolds world over and we face the consequences of the loss of lives, social isolation and economic downturn we can clearly see an impact on our mental health. Anxiety, depression and sleep disturbances are some of the commonest symptoms experienced by a lot of us in this period.
To improve your mental health you can try some of these steps-
Self-care- It is very important to maintain a routine, even if you are not going to work. Where possible have a routine of getting up and going to sleep, eat healthy, drink lot of fluids to maintain your hydration and exercise when you safely can.
Support network- Establish a support system within your friends and family members, with whom you can share your worries, frustrations and positive news. This is very important and can be achieved by use of face to face conversation with social distancing, telephone, social media or virtual meeting platforms.
Distraction techniques – Social media can be full of negative information, which adds to our anxieties, so it is good to minimise these activities. It is very helpful to write your emotions and feelings down or get engaged in hobbies like gardening, cooking, painting or crafts.
Kindness- It is most important to be kind to yourself and others in these challenging times. Ensure you are not harsh on yourself, if you feel like not doing anything, which is fine too, as we all need a break to recover. If you see anyone struggling with their well-being then help and support them.
Professional help- There are charities like MIND and SAMARITANS offering support to all of us as required. It is very useful to seek help from your GP as they have a wide array of measures to help you and seeking help early is always beneficial. Your GP and local mental health team are working very closely to provide the essential support for your mental well-being.
We are here to help you and please don’t hesitate in approaching us when you need us.
Take care and best wishes.
Dr Satpal Singh Shekhawat
Mental Health Awareness: Therapy support available in North Lincolnshire
An NHS service in North Lincolnshire is using Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May) to remind residents that therapy support is available if they are experiencing common mental health problems like anxiety and stress.
The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) teams at The Talking Shop, Market Hill in Scunthorpe, is encouraging people to get in touch to improve their mental wellbeing.
The IAPT service which is run by Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) provides a range of ‘talking’ therapy support to help people to manage their mental health.
The team offers free talking therapies to help people cope with and manage a range of common mental health problems such as mild to moderate depression, general anxiety disorder, panic, stress, health anxiety, social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder.
Lisa Briggs, RDaSH Team Manager at the Talking Shop, said: “Now more than ever looking after your mental health is so important during this difficult, uncertain time and I would urge anyone who needs support to get in touch.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic the IAPT services have adapted the way they work. As well as offering telephone and video calls the teams have recently launched an online support programme called Mind District. This programme provides self-help strategies, skills and techniques to manage common mental health conditions.
Talking therapies are available free to North Lincolnshire residents aged 18 years and over. Local people can self-refer into the service by telephoning 07967 793433.
‘Please contact your local NHS if your child is poorly – we are here for you’
Dr Faisel Baig, father of two, local GP and Chair of North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, has given the following advice for parents during the COVID-19 pandemic:
As the Government guides us through the next phase of our national coronavirus Covid-19 response, this could include plans for some local schools to reopen to more pupils. Just like me, you will understandably be thinking even more about your children and whether Covid-19 poses a risk to them.
We are still learning a lot about Covid-19 and what we know so far could change, as national and international research continues at pace.
Covid-19 has been reported in children and young people of all ages, including shortly after birth. However, there have been much smaller numbers of confirmed infections in children and young people with reports suggesting that children make up less than two percent of the total confirmed cases.
Most children infected with Covid-19 display mild symptoms, if any symptoms at all, and severe disease is uncommon in children. It is thought that the mortality rate in children from Covid-19 is similar to the rate seen in seasonal flu, which is approximately 0.01%.
We cannot say how likely children are to pass the infection on to others but there is no clear evidence to suggest that they are more likely to pass the disease on than adults are.
There have been worldwide reports of children presenting to hospitals with symptoms of toxic shock and a condition called Kawasaki disease and it is possible that this has been due to an immune reaction to Covid-19, possibly weeks after the actual infection. These children have generally presented with persistent fever, tummy pain, vomiting and diarrhoea, skin rashes and cold hands or feet. The condition has been named paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome. We are still learning a lot about this rare condition and its potential link to Covid-19.
The most common symptoms of Covid-19 in children are: fever, cough, loss of smell or taste (in children old enough to report this), sore throat, runny nose, diarrhoea and vomiting. It is very difficult to distinguish Covid-19 symptoms from the usual respiratory infection symptoms.
Covid-19 advice can be sought through NHS 111 online (for children over 5) or by calling 111 (for children under 5) but (as per www.nhs.uk):
Please call 111 or your GP surgery immediately if your child:
-is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 38C or higher, or you think they have a fever
-is 3 to 6 months old and has a temperature of 39C or higher, or you think they have a fever
-has other signs of illness, such as a rash, as well as a high temperature
-has a high temperature that’s lasted for 5 days or more
-does not want to eat, or is not their usual self and you are worried
-has a high temperature that does not come down with paracetamol
-is dehydrated – for example, nappies are not very wet, sunken eyes, and no tears when they’re crying
Call 999 if your child:
-has a stiff neck
-has a rash that does not fade when you press a glass against it
-is bothered by light
-has a seizure or fit for the first time
-has unusually cold hands and feet
-has pale, blotchy, blue or grey skin
-has a weak, high-pitched cry that’s not like their usual cry
-is drowsy and hard to wake
-is extremely agitated (does not stop crying) or is confused
-finds it hard to breathe and sucks their stomach in under their ribs
-has a soft spot on their head that curves outwards
-is not responding like they usually do, or not interested in feeding or usual activities
Please do not hesitate to contact your NHS if you have a poorly child – we are here for you.
Dr Faisel Baig
North Lincolnshire Pharmacy Opening Times – Bank Holiday Monday (25 May)
Community pharmacy services will be available in parts of North Lincolnshire during Bank Holiday Monday (25 May) – if you need medicine or healthcare advice not relating to coronavirus.
While GP practices will be closed during Bank Holiday Monday, pharmacies will be open to offer treatments and free advice on common illnesses and ailments, including colds, flu, minor rashes and pain relief.
North Lincolnshire pharmacy Bank Holiday Monday opening times can be viewed here
It is recommended that you contact your local pharmacy to check opening times before travelling as their opening hours are subject change.
People who use regular prescribed medication should also make sure they order and collect any prescriptions in good time before the holidays begin to ensure they don’t run out of medicine.
If you need urgent medical help that is not a life-threatening situation, you should use the NHS 111 online service 111.nhs.uk (or call 111 if you cannot get online). Call 999 if you have a serious or life-threatening emergency.
You can often self-treat many minor illnesses and injuries at home by keeping your medicine cabinet and first aid kit well stocked with medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.
People who have coronavirus symptoms should not visit a pharmacy or any other health service, and instead use the NHS 111 online service 111.nhs.uk/covid-19 (or call 111 if they cannot get online) to seek help.
If you or someone you live with has any of the coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste), you should:
Stay at home.
If your symptoms worsen or you feel that you cannot manage at home, please contact the NHS 111 service for help.
Please do not go to your GP practice or community pharmacy.