CORONAVIRUS

Please note, only patients with confirmed pre-booked appointments may enter the surgery. Please do not attend the surgery if you have any coronavirus symptoms or are waiting for the result of a COVID-19 test.

 

All patients are still required to wear a face-covering before they enter the building. This remains NHS Guidance for healthcare settings after the 19th July. For more information, please see the NHS update here

FAQs

Advice on the surgery

How will I see a clinician?


Penrose Surgery is still here for you, our lines are still open and you can still book appointments. However, we have now temporarily suspended all routine face to face appointments to minimise risk to patients and staff. A clinician will call you at your appointment timeslot instead. If the clinician deems a face to face appointment is required, they will book it with you during the telephone appointment.




How do I contact the surgery?


If you would like to book an appointment or require other services provided by the surgery, please do not attend the practice. Instead please stay home and call 020 7703 3677. The doors of the surgery will only be opened for patients with face to face appointments that a clinician has booked during a telephone appointment.




How do I get my repeat prescriptions?


If you are a registered patient you may request your prescription by emailing or calling the surgery.




How can I get a fit / sick note for work?


For fit / sick notes related to COVID-19, please go to https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/ to receive an official NHS isolation note. For other non-coronavirus sick notes, for the first 7 days you are able to self-certify, see here. If you are sick for more than 7 days, please email the surgery with your details.




Information on face coverings


Face masks or coverings are now mandatory in most public areas.
We understand that some patients will be anxious about wearing a mask especially those with certain medical conditions.
GP’s are not able to provide exemption letters for patients who believe they should be exempt from wearing a face covering.
The current guidance suggests there is no requirement for the public to provide medical evidence for exemption from wearing face masks therefore a self-declaration should be sufficient.
Please go to the GOV.UK link here for more information on the use of face coverings. You can also find exemption card templates here.
For specific requirements in reference to public transport, shops or other areas where masks are required please contact those specific companies for further information.





General COVID-19 Advice

Advice from NHS England & Goverment


The government have put in place measures to keep people safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19, details of which can be found at Gov.uk/coronavirus. The NHS has also provided extensive online advice which can be found here NHS/Coronavirus.




Advice on how to manage "mild" symptoms


If you are experiencing "mild" symptoms of coronavirus please make sure you: - Rest and sleep - Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration – drink enough so your pee is light yellow and clear - Take paracetamol to lower your temperature




Guidance on shielding


If you or someone you care for has been identified by NHS England or your GP surgery as being “at very high-risk” you will have been immediately advised to start shielding. Guidance on what this involves can be found here and if you require any further advice please contact the pratice.




Advice for diabetics


For people living with diabetes and their families, Diabetes UK have provided specialist advice on their website. If you are concerned about your condition during this time, please contact the practice.




When to use the NHS 111 service


Please only use the NHS 111 online service if: - You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home - Your condition gets worse https://111.nhs.uk/ please only call 111 if you cannot get help online.




Advice for looking after your mental health


The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means that life is changing for all of us for a while. It may cause you to feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, bored, lonely or frustrated. It's important to remember it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. Remember, this situation is temporary and, for most of us, these difficult feelings will pass. You can find out more on how to look after your mental health and some useful numbers here.




Domestic violence


For anyone who feels they are at risk of abuse, it is important to remember that there is help and support available to you, including police response, online support, helplines, refuges and other services. You are not alone.

The household isolation instruction as a result of coronavirus does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse.

Friends, family, neighbours and community members can be a vital lifeline to those living with domestic abuse. If you are worried that someone you know may be a victim of domestic abuse, reassure them that the police and support services are still there to help and direct them to sources of support.
Find national support here. Find local support in Southwark here.




Information on face coverings


Face masks or coverings are now mandatory in most public areas.
We understand that some patients will be anxious about wearing a mask especially those with certain medical conditions.
GP’s are not able to provide exemption letters for patients who believe they should be exempt from wearing a face covering.
The current guidance suggests there is no requirement for the public to provide medical evidence for exemption from wearing face masks therefore a self-declaration should be sufficient.
Please go to the GOV.UK link here for more information on the use of face coverings. You can also find exemption card templates here.
For specific requirements in reference to public transport, shops or other areas where masks are required please contact those specific companies for further information.




COVID Recovery


Recovering from COVID-19? find help and advice here.





Community support

Need help or support


If you or someone you care for need support during these unprecedented times, please find local support here.




Want to volunteer


If you want to volunteer you can find out more here.





COVID-19 vaccine

Who can get the vaccine?


The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccines to people most at risk from coronavirus. The vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and hundreds of local vaccination centres run by GPs. It’s being given to:

  • People aged 18 or over
  • frontline health or social care worker
  • a carer (eligible for a Carer’s Allowance)
  • those who are categorised as clinically extremely vulnerable (high risk) or clinically vulnerable – see definitions here
We will get in touch when it’s your turn to be vaccinated – please do not contact the Surgery before then.




Why can't everyone get a COVID-19 vaccine now?


The order in which people will be offered a vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – see an explainer video here.

Read the latest JCVI advice on priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccination on GOV.UK
.
Some south east London GPs are reporting that patients have already been asking for the Covid-19 vaccine and are then confused and disappointed when turned away. We’re keen to highlight one particular leaflet which explains the current eligibility and availability criteria – see here. Please wait to be contacted – do not contact your practice to ask for the COVID-19 vaccine. We have not forgotten about you and when it is your turn the NHS will contact you. When it is the right time you will receive an invitation to come forward – this could be by letter, text or phone call, either from their GP or NHS England. This communication will provide all the information you will need to book appointments, including their NHS number.

When you get an appointment please attend, and only turn up five minutes before your slot to avoid waiting a long time or standing in queues. Everyone who has an appointment will get the vaccine.




How safe are the COVID-19 vaccines?


The vaccines have been developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Moderna. All of these have approved for use in the UK and have met the strict current standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The UK has some of the highest safety standards in the world.

Other vaccines are being developed but they will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.

So far, thousands of people around the world have been given a COVID-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. No long-term complications have been reported. Read about the approved Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 by MHRA on GOV.UK Read about the approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 by MHRA on GOV.UK Read about the approved Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 by MHRA on GOV.UK




How effective are the COVID-19 vaccines?


The MHRA have said these vaccines are highly effective, but to get the best protection people need to come back for the second dose – this is really important. To ensure as many people are vaccinated as quickly as possible with the first dose, and get at least a good level of immunity, the Department for Health and Social Care now advise that the second dose of the vaccines should be scheduled up to 12 weeks after the first. Full protection kicks in around a week or two after the second dose, which is why it’s also important that when you do get invited, you act on that and get yourself booked in as soon as possible. Like any other vaccine, there is a small chance you might still get coronavirus even if you have had a vaccine. Therefore, it is still important to:

  • wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it’s hard to stay away from other people
Read more about why vaccines are safe and important, including how they work and what they contain.




Advic if you're of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding


There’s no evidence the COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, but more evidence is needed before you can be routinely offered the vaccine. The vaccine should only be considered for use in pregnancy when the potential benefits outweigh any potential risks for the mother and baby.

Women should discuss the benefits and risks of having the vaccine with your healthcare professional and reach a joint decision based on individual circumstances. Women who are breastfeeding can also be given the vaccine. Read the latest COVID-19 vaccine advice if you’re pregnant, may get pregnant or are breastfeeding.




Vaccine myths


We are aware that there is a lot of misinformation out there and we would like to use this space to debunk some of the most popular COVID-19 vaccine myths we have found. Myth: You can get COVID-19 from the vaccines.

  • No, this isn‘t possible because the vaccines do not include live COVID-19 virus.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccines will alter your DNA.
  • None of the vaccines alter your DNA
  • Two of the vaccines - the Pfizer mRNA vaccine and the Moderna vaccine - use a new technology, which is why this myth sometimes comes up. This vaccine works by giving your cells a set of instructions for how to make a new bit of the COVID-19 virus, called the spike protein.
  • Your immune system then spots the spike protein as something foreign in the body and starts an immune response against it. mRNA never enters the nucleus, where your own DNA is.
  • A great thing about mRNA vaccines is that they don’t contain any live parts of COVID-19 and can be produced quickly in a lab.
Myth: I already had COVID-19 and I have recovered, so I don't need to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it's available.
  • Unfortunately, re-infection with COVID-19 is possible. So, if you’ve had COVID-19 and are offered the vaccine, doctors still recommend you to take it. We still don’t know how long you are protected against COVID-19 after having been sick and recovered from the infection. This ‘natural immunity’ is likely to vary between people.
  • Scientists are monitoring this closely and in time we will know more about how long both natural and vaccine mediated immunity lasts.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccines cause severe symptoms in most people.
  • Like any vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine can cause side effects, but most are mild and short-term. The most common side effects include:
  • A painful or tender arm for a couple of days, where the vaccine was injected
  • Feeling tired
  • Having a headache
  • Some muscle aches
  • These side effects don’t usually last more than a few days to a week. If you need to, you can take a painkiller such as paracetamol to relieve any side effects.
  • Between 1 and 3 in 10 people get a slight fever after vaccination. Keep in mind that a high fever could mean you have another infection or have COVID-19 that you caught before or around the time of the vaccination, before the vaccine had time to kick in. Some people have more severe side effects that affect their ability to do normal daily activities. If you feel unwell or are worried, it is a good idea to speak to a healthcare professional about it.
For more information please visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website here




AstraZeneca vaccine update


The benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine (AZ) continue to outweigh any risks for most people. The COVID-19 vaccine is saving thousands of lives in the UK. Read more here. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advise the following: Aged > 30 or anyone with underlying medical conditions - should still receive any of the available COVID-19 vaccines including AZ. The benefts of vaccination in protecting you against the serious consequences of COVID-19 outweigh other risks. Aged under 30 - it is preferable for people under 30 to have a vaccine other than AZ. If you choose to have another COVID-19 vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You can still go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefts for you. Already had your first AZ dose - you should also complete your course with the same vaccine you had for the first dose. Having the second dose will give you higher and longer lasting protection.




NHS App - Vaccination status for international travel


From 17 May 2021, people in England who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can demonstrate their vaccination status for international travel. A full course is currently two doses of any approved vaccine. Vaccine status will be available from: the NHS App which you can download from app stores the NHS website It may take more than a week for your identity to be checked and verified so you can use this service. If you cannot access the online services, and you have had 2 vaccines, you can request a paper letter from the NHS by calling 119. Only call 119 if you are due to travel abroad in the near future and have had your second dose more than 5 working days ago. It may take 7 working days for the letter to arrive. This practice is not able to provide you with a letter that shows your COVID-19 vaccination status. When you're planning your travel, check the latest information on demonstrating your COVID-19 status when travelling abroad on the gov.uk website. Make sure there is time to get proof of your vaccination status before you leave.





For more advice and answers on the COVID-19 vaccines visit South East London Clinical Commissioning Group website​

Can't find the answer to your question, give our team a call on 020 7703 3677, or by email on souccg.penrosesurgery@nhs.net