Uptake of flu vaccinations has been very high this year which is very welcome. We have already vaccinated over 80% of our patients aged 65 and over which already far exceeds the national target of 75%. Our two mass vaccination clinics were very successful and we thank you for helping us run these clinics safely and efficiently.
The success of our clinics does mean that we have rapidly used up our current stocks of vaccine but more will be available in the near future. If you haven't already got an appointment booked for your vaccination please call at the end of October. We are also keeping a note of people we are aware of that want a vaccination and we will contact them as soon as we have received our next delivery.
We continue to update the home page of our website with the latest news on our vaccination programme.
It is worth noting that patients aged 50-64 years who are not in a clinical risk group are advised that vaccination will only take place in November or December if there are sufficient vaccines available. That is the message from NHS England and we have no further information at this time. Again, our website will be updated with the latest news as we receive it.
Children aged 2-3 years have already received an invitation letter and we would encourage parents to bring their child for vaccination. The school based programme will vaccinate children up to Year 7 this year. Older children who are in an at-risk group will be vaccinated here and parents should book an appointment. The majority of children will receive the nasal vaccine. This is a live vaccination and a very small number of children will require an inactivated vaccine via injection instead.
From Monday 26th October our telephones will be switched over to the out of hours message from 6:00pm instead of 6:30pm. This change will bring us into line with the majority of Practices in the Northeast. After 6pm patients who require urgent medical attention should phone 111. In an emergency always dial 999.When you call 111 out of hours your call will be triaged and 111 have access to the out of hours doctor service should you require a GP phone call, a centre visit in Hexham or a home visit.
Our extended hours will remain the same, so we will continue to have booked appointments up until 8pm Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with GPs and Practice Nurses.
There are a range of support services available if you need help with your mental health. Many are well established but there are also now new services available in response to the challenges faced by us all during the pandemic.
We are receiving details of a number of positive covid-19 swabs each week, indicating that the virus is in circulation in Hexham. Please take note of the national messaging to reduce the chance of you catching or passing on covid-19. This is a serious disease for many people and our priority is to protect the most vulnerable.
If you have covid-19 symptoms you should stay home and arrange a test. If you cannot use the website then you should call 119.
If you have been told to self-isolate then it is important that you do so.
The Practice is maintaining our safeguards to ensure that we are a safe place for patients to come and as we enter the autumn and winter months we are aware that "wave 2" is now upon us.
So while our doors have remained opened throughout the pandemic and our team has been working hard throughout, we have to maintain the current changes to our service in line with guidance from NHS England.
This means continuing to offer a telephone service for the majority of GP consultations which then reduces the number of people coming into the building and our waiting room. Where a video consultation or face to face consultation are required the GP or Practice Nurse will make the necessary arrangements.
We continue to offer a range of appointments that must be done face to face such as for taking blood, giving injections or undertaking ECG tests.
What we know about covid is that a number of people with the virus have no symptoms at all, so for every face to face consultation our team have to take extra precautions in the form of PPE and cleaning the room. This all takes time which reduces the number of face to face appointments we can offer.
The key messages therefore are:
Please be understanding when requesting an appointment. Our reception team are handling up to 700 phone calls a day. If they cannot meet your needs it is not acceptable to take out your frustration on them.
We are open and we do want to hear from you if you are concerned about your health, but please consider whether self-care is an option before you phone us.
Do not enter the building if you have symptoms of covid-19 or are meant to be self-isolating.
Thank you from the team at Burn Brae Medical Group.