Welcome to The Blackdown Practice
Coronavirus - Advice for Patients
PLEASE DO NOT ENTER THE SURGERY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE CORONAVIRUS.
You should self-isolate and arrange a Covid test if you have a new continuous cough OR a fever OR a loss of/change in smell or taste. All household members should isolate if anyone in the household tests positive for Covid. Please do not visit the surgery if you have received a positive Covid result in the last 14 days, are awaiting a Covid test result, or you have been instructed to isolate by Track and Trace.
For further guidance, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus or if you require medical advice visit the NHS 111 website. https://111.nhs.uk/
PLEASE WEAR A SURGICAL FACE MASK IF VISITING THE SURGERY
In line with government guidance, patients entering the surgery should now wear a face mask unless they are exempt from doing so.
For full government guidance regarding the wearing of face coverings in public places, please visit: Government Guidance on Face Coverings
Help us to help you
We continue to work hard to support the healthcare needs of our patients and provide face-to-face appointments, telephone calls and online consultations.
As a result of COVID-19, many patients’ physical and mental health needs have increased. In some cases, this is due to the lockdown measures in place and the impact this has had on people. We also know that people may have also delayed contacting their GP about their healthcare needs over the past few months because they may not have wanted to put pressure on vital services, or might have been concerned about accessing healthcare during the pandemic.
We, like many GP practices across the country are experiencing very high numbers of patients now trying to contact us. As a result, you may have noticed a delay in getting through to your usual site or getting an appointment; this is, in part, due to the volume of patients trying to get through.
We have run a very successful vaccination campaign, this has been carried out in addition to day-to-day GP practice work but we were very lucky to have had help from some familiar faces and also a some new faces who (luckily for us) came our way. We are very grateful to them.
While face-to-face appointments continue to be offered to those based on clinical need, many issues can be resolved during a phone consultation without patients having to travel to a surgery. Therefore you should expect to be asked about your problems in advance by a member of the practice team. This is to ensure that your problem is dealt with quickly and effectively and you are directed to the most appropriate healthcare team for your needs.
GP services are required to follow national guidelines to prevent the transmission of COVID. This includes social distancing and wearing face coverings. It means we have limited space in waiting areas and appointment times are longer to allow for cleaning in between patients and changing of personal protective equipment by staff. We do not see this changing even with relaxing of lockdown.
Because of the backlog of people needing care, there are sometimes longer waits for routine appointments than usual. We understand how anxious people must feel when they simply want to talk to someone about a healthcare concern or worry and how frustrating it must be to not be able to get through on the phone or have to wait for an appointment.
We are asking our patients to continue to be patient with us. We are working hard to ensure access to all that need us but we need your support to help us do this.
Unfortunately, we have a small number of people taking their frustrations out on staff. This is unacceptable. The NHS has a zero tolerance approach to abusive and threatening behaviour towards healthcare staff and we will take action against anyone who is rude or aggressive towards practice staff. Our staff care about their patients and are simply trying to do their best to support everyone’s healthcare needs in the most suitable way, despite the current levels of demand. We need you to support us and allow our staff to do their jobs without fear of abuse.
You can also continue to support us by seeking help when you need it from the most appropriate service. We will refer you if we think you need another service. Remember our 111 service is available 24/7 to provide advice, treatment and care. Just ring 111 or visit https://111.nhs.uk/ and the service will provide advice and refer you to another service if you need it; if you need to be seen in person they can book you a time slot.
COVID vaccination update
We have now completed our vaccination clinics. If you were a patient that had your 1st dose appointment with us but were unable to attend a 2nd dose appointment, you should make a booking at a mass vaccination centre to complete your vaccinations as soon as possible - details below. In line with government guidance, patients aged 21 or over can now book their Covid vaccination at one of the mass vaccination centres; this is either at Taunton Racecourse or Greendale Business Park in Exeter. You can do this by going on line https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/ or telephoning 119.
*Please note if you are under 50 years of age, not in a clinical at risk group and have had your first dose of vaccine, the advice at the moment is still to have your second dose at 12 weeks. If this changes you will be notified.
The patient vaccination guide for adults can be found here.
The guide for patients who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding can be found here.
There is updated guidance relating to the Astra Zeneca vaccine and the issue of blood clotting and this information can be found by clicking here.
For general information following your vaccination, please click here.
We are letting you know about a very useful website called Germ Defence which was created by a team of doctors and scientists to give you advice that has been proven to reduce the spread of viruses in the home. It can help you plan how to protect yourself and members of your family from infection by COVID-19 and ‘flu.
It’s easy to use and only takes 10 minutes - just click on this link:
(If this link does not open when you click on it, please copy and paste it into your web browser.)
Please pass details of the Germ Defence website to your friends and family.
There’s a button at the bottom of the Germ Defence website for sharing by social media.
We are confident that our website will provide clear and concise help and give our patients the information they require in an easy and convenient format. It has been designed with the patient’s needs at the forefront of everything, from checking surgery times to letting us know what you think of us.
Please contact the surgery as normal if you have a medical problem or concern. Initially, your request will be triaged by a telephone call with a clinician and they will then decide on the most appropriate course of action. The clinician will determine if a face to face appointment is needed, and if so will arrange an appointment for you to visit the surgery.
For urgent problems that mean you will need to be seen, please ring the surgery and ask to book a telephone appointment with a clinician. This will enable us to offer you the most effective service that you require.
Our dedicated team are here to treat those minor ailments that occur as well as providing specialist management of long-term conditions and clinics covering a wide range of healthcare issues. The technology also means you can now do a lot of things from the comfort of your home such as order a repeat prescription or cancel an appointment.
Partners in Care
Once registered, patients and healthcare professionals work together to ensure the most appropriate care is provided. This partnership philosophy extends even further and our active patient group exists to make sure that patient needs and the practice offering are always heading in the same direction.
The practice was rated Outstanding at its last inspection in June 2016. You can read the report here -> CQC Inspection report
(Site updated 21/07/2021)