Message from North Devon District Hospital:
Patient Initiated Follow Ups for long term conditions at NDHT
What is it?
We are currently rolling out patient initiated follow ups (PIFU) for some long term conditions at NDHT. PIFU describes when a patient (or their carer) can initiate a follow-up appointment as and when required, e.g. when symptoms or circumstances change.
This helps patients access support when they need it (e.g. during a flare-up of their symptoms) and avoids unnecessary routine ‘check in’ appointments. Patients are empowered to manage their own condition and take responsibility for initiating the appointment. For clinicians, it means more time to spend with the patients who most need their support whilst feeling assured that they are there for all of their patients when they are needed most. It also means a reduction in the time/cost/stress of patients travelling to an appointment which may be unnecessary.
Who is doing it?
We currently have this process in place in 5 specialties – Respiratory, Rheumatology, Podiatry, Pain Management and Neurology – and we are working with others to roll this out across the Trust.
For more information and Patient Information Leaflets for Rheumatology, Neurology, Pain Team, Podiatry and Respitory visit https://www.northdevonhealth.nhs.uk/services/outpatient-appointments/patient-initiated-follow-up-appointments/
Although the Government have relaxed COVID restrictions from 19th July 2021 please note that the Practice will continue to require patients and staff to wear face coverings. We are taking these steps as we are still seeing ill and vulnerable patients and not all patients have been able to receive a vaccination.
In order to ensure that as cases continue to rise our staff are not compromised and we can remain open to provide your healthcare needs we would ask that you respect our decision for the time being.
Thank you for your understanding and co-operation.
Your local GP practice teams in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay continue to work incredibly hard to support the health and care needs of our local communities.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing vaccination programme, they continued to care for people in the county. They have provided face to face, telephone and online support to patients who have needed it.
As a result of the pandemic, many local people’s 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.
We also know that people delayed contacting their GP about their healthcare needs during this time because they didn’t want to put pressure on vital services, or they were concerned about accessing healthcare during the pandemic. But now GP practices in Devon are busier than ever.
While practices have had to move to greater use of telephone and online appointments, they have continued to offer face to face appointments to those that need them.
You may be interested to know that in Devon, Plymouth and Torbay there have been:
• 4 million face to face appointments in general practice over the last year
• 2 million telephone consultations
• 500,000 online consultations
While the number reduced last year, almost 60% of the appointments with GP practices are now face to face in the county.
General practice has quickly and successfully set up and run COVID-19 vaccination centres on top of increasing demand. Over 700,000 doses of the vaccine have been given by general practice locally, in just five months since the launch of the programme.
This work has been carried out in addition to the day-to-day care GP practices have continued to provide their patients and local communities. As a result, you may have noticed a delay in being able to contact your practice or get an appointment when you want; this is in part due to the volume of patients trying to get through every day and the number of people needing our care. Practices are doing all they can to ensure you can contact them, including installing additional phone lines and offering online contact via their websites.
While face-to-face appointments continue to be offered based on clinical need, many issues can be resolved during a phone consultation without patients having to travel to a surgery. You should expect to be asked about your problems in advance by a member of the practice team. This is so that the practice team can ensure that your problem is dealt with quickly and effectively and you are directed to the most appropriate healthcare team for your needs.
Because of the number of people needing care, there are currently longer waits for routine appointments than usual at some practices. The NHS in Devon is doing all it can to reduce waiting times both in general practice and in the hospitals.
GP services are required to follow national guidelines to prevent the transmission of COVID. This includes social distancing and wearing face coverings. Please follow these requirements which are there to keep you and the GP team safe. Practices are still operating at reduced capacity in the buildings and have very limited space in waiting areas; appointment times are longer to allow for cleaning in between patients and changing of personal protective equipment by staff.
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 to be able to get through on the phone or have to wait for an appointment.
We are asking the people of Devon 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.
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.
Before contacting your GP, you can look up your symptoms online using the NHS App, the NHS website or 111 online and there may be steps you can take to help yourself before needing to contact a healthcare professional.
You can also continue to support us by seeking help when you need it from the most appropriate service. There are a range of options to get help in addition to your GP surgery:
As lockdown eases, don’t forget your local pharmacist can provide health advice and help with minor illnesses like colds, rashes, sunburn, hay fever and diarrhoea. You don’t need an appointment and they can even provide you with the right medicines at the same time.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with their mental wellbeing, our 24/7 mental health lines are available:
• Devon and Torbay – 0808 196 8708
• Plymouth - 0800 923 9323
Our NHS 111 service is available 24/7 to provide advice, treatment and care. Just ring 111 or visit 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.
Minor injury units
Emergency Departments are for life-threatening emergencies. There is a network of minor injury units in Devon who can provide the treatment you need – often they’ll see you quicker, and closer to home.
Thank you for your understanding and support.
Dr Paul Johnson
Chair, Devon Clinical Commisioning Group
Chief Executive, Devon Clinical Commisioning Group
The NHS is working hard on plans to provide covid vaccines in North Devon as we move to the next 10-12 cohorts of people (those aged 18-49) and we are just finalising the detail. More information will be available shortly and shared.
In the meantime, if you have received an invite from the NHS, you can still visit the National Booking Service and book an appointment including at Arnolds pharmacy Westward Ho! Appointments will be regularly added to the site.
Please see below for details concerning the voluntary recall of SMA Wysoy 800g Infant Formaula Powder.
If you have a can from one of the affected batches please do not feed your baby with it.
First Contact Physioterapist (FCP) available at Queens Medical Centre
To directly book an appointment with Charlie, our First Contact Physio, call the Surgery on 01271 372672.
Helping patients manage their referrals online
Patients are now able to receive their first outpatient appointment request information via email, instead of (or as well as) the traditional letter. This email will come from e-RS, not the GP practice email. It is sent to the email address registered when the patient created their NHS login. This makes it easier and quicker for patients to securely access their digital health and care services with one username and password.
For patients who have an NHS login account, a ‘Send Patient Email’ button will be displayed to the initiating referrer after a shortlist has been created and submitted. The button will not show for patients who do not have an NHS login account.
The patient will receive an email with a link which will take them to an NHS login screen to enter their access details. Once they have successfully logged in, the patient will see their home page for MYR where they can book or manage their appointment. Should an appointment be unavailable the patient can still put the request in, and the provider will contact them when an appointment is available.
Should it be required, the email can be resent or printed out.
Watch this short video which explains how patients can access their referral information online.
Additional GP Appointments available
NHS urges people not to contact their GP about a vaccination
The NHS is urging people who have received a letter from the National Booking System not to contact their GP practice about a vaccination.
Anyone who has received a letter from the National Booking System inviting them to book an appointment should use the NHS website or call 119 (free, 7am-11pm, seven days a week).
The NHS is urgently appealing for plasma donations from people who’ve had COVID-19
NHS Blood and Transplant are leading an urgent programme on behalf of the Government to enable a planned UK trial that could produce a vital treatment to save more lives against COVID-19. This requires plasma donations from patients who have had COVID-19 are now recovering. We welcome all donations but are seeking donations in particular from recovering male patients who are 18-65 years old as they are more likely to have high levels of antibodies against the COVID virus.
For more details please call 0300 123 2323 or visit the website www.nhsbt.nhs.uk and search for Donate Plasma.
Find your NHS Number - use this service to get your NHS Number
A new service is now live to help find people find their NHS number. This service is for anyone living in England who has forgotten or does not know their NHS number. This service can also be used on behalf of someone else where the name, date of birth and registered home postcode is known. You can opt for the number to be sent to you by text, email or letter.
You have an important part to play...
As soon as Queens Medical Centre receive the coronavirus vaccine we will invite patients to start attending vaccination appointments. The order in which people will be invited is based on the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) prioritisation.
Our staff are working incredibly hard to deliver what is the largest vaccination programme in our history, at the same time as continuing to be there for everyone who needs care.
You have an important part to play to help us to do this:
• please don’t contact the surgery to seek a vaccine, we will contact you;
• when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments;
• and please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.
“Don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine – we will contact you”
“Don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine – we will contact you” is the message from local GP and Devon CCG clinical chair, Dr Paul Johnson, as the first coronavirus vaccines were given to local people this week.
Paul was speaking today in a weekly video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2r4wBAQNt4&feature=youtu.be) alongside Steve Brown, Devon County Council’s director of public health. It aims to keep patients, professionals and the public up to date with the latest information.
The NHS’ message to local people is:
• Please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine – we will contact you
• When the NHS contacts you, please attend your booked appointments
• Please continue to wear a face covering in public, maintain space from others, and wash your hands regularly.
For the latest information about the coronavirus – including the vaccine – visit the CCG’s website, https://devonccg.nhs.uk/health-services/coronavirus.
Key messages for Patients concerning flu vaccine
➢ I am in one of the listed groups. Why am I being asked to wait to have my flu vaccine?
Overall there is no shortage of flu vaccine with enough ordered to vaccinate 30 million people. However, it is usual for manufacturers to stagger deliveries of vaccine so you may have to wait to receive your vaccination.
When the first deliveries arrive in September, vaccinations begin to be offered and these continue throughout the autumn. This season, early demand for flu vaccine has been higher than usual due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. This means that some GP practices and pharmacies will have to ask people to wait until they receive further deliveries.
➢ Can I go elsewhere if my GP practice or pharmacy has run out?
If you are eligible for the free flu vaccine, you may get it either from your GP practice or a pharmacy offering NHS flu vaccinations. This means that if one of them does not currently have stock in, you can try elsewhere. They should also be able to tell you when they expect their next deliveries.
Pregnant women can ask their maternity provider for the free flu vaccine and some of those visiting hospitals, either as in- or out-patients may also be offered the flu vaccine there.
➢ Why are some people still being offered the vaccine and not others?
There are several types of flu vaccines available. You will be offered one that is recommended for you based on your age. This means some people will be offered a flu vaccine that is in stock while others, who need a different type of vaccine, may have to wait.
➢ Wouldn’t it be better to have any type of flu vaccine rather than wait?
Providers of flu vaccination services are required to offer the vaccine that is most effective for you. It is better to wait to get the right vaccine so that you get the most benefit from it.
➢ When do you need to have a flu vaccination for it to offer protection?
It is best to have the vaccine before flu starts to circulate, which is usually from December onwards. But if it is later in the year than this, it is still worth having.
The priority this season is to vaccinate those who are most at risk from flu first, including anyone aged 50 to 64 years old who has a health condition that makes them more at risk from flu. Other healthy 50 to 64 year olds will be offered the vaccine later in the season when additional supply becomes available.
➢ What should I do now?
If you can’t have your flu vaccine now, you will receive a letter notifying you when you can book an appointment at your GP surgery or pharmacy. Or you can stay in touch with them and book one at the next opportunity.
Amazing Queens' Flu Vaccination Team!
Our first flu immunisation weekend went very well, and many thanks to the team above. Further vaccination clinics for child flu, over 65s and under 65s will be running Monday - Friday. We shall contact all those that are eligible for a free flu vaccination.
Flu Vaccinations 2020
Whilst we’ve received information that all 50-64 year olds may be eligible for a free flu vaccination as part of plans to protect more people against seasonal flu, these free vaccinations will be subject to delivery later in the year.
This allows us (GPs and community pharmacists) to focus on those who are in an at risk group, such as pregnant women and people with long term health conditions. They will be given priority and offered the vaccine first; if you are in this category you will be contacted.
If you are aged 50-64 and not in one of the at risk categories you will be made aware in the coming months if you will be able to attend for vaccination. If the programme is extended this is likely to be November or December.
Of course, if you wish to access a vaccine prior to this date you can pay to have this at your local pharmacy, as in previous years, otherwise please wait for more information.
Electronic prescriptions help you, your doctors and the environment
Did you know that the NHS spends a significant amount more money processing and storing paper prescriptions? Choose electronic prescriptions to save you time, save NHS funds and help the environment. Ask us for more details.
Get free food and vitamin vouchers from the Healthy Start Programme
Healthy Start is programme to help families with young children get free food vouchers to spend on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins for under 4’s (vit A, C and D) and vitamins if you are pregnant (folic acid and vit C & D). Because we’re indoors a lot of the time at the moment, we might not be getting enough vitamin D from sunshine so a vitamin D supplement will help.
If you have children under 4 or are pregnant, and you or your family receive qualifying benefits you may be eligible - you can quickly find out here to check eligibility.
Applying is easy, you can print off an application form from the Healthy Start website and post it to the Healthy Start office.
Once you are registered, food vouchers are posted to you every 4 weeks and vitamin coupons every 8 weeks.
To make things easier at the moment, vitamins are currently being posted to families – please ask your midwife or Children’s Centre for more information, or text your health visitor on 07520 631721
How to make your own face covering in a minute
The NHS suggests wearing face masks in enclosed public spaces such as shops, public transports and when visiting your GP practice.The NHS suggests wearing face masks in enclosed public spaces such as shops, public transports and when visiting your GP practice.
Beware of Covid-19 scams
Unscrupulous criminals are exploiting fears about COVID-19 to prey on members of the public, particularly older and vulnerable people who are isolated from family and friends. National Trading Standards is warning people to remain vigilant following a rise in coronavirus-related scams that seek to benefit from the public’s concern and uncertainty over COVID-19.
Possible cervical screening text messaging scam
We have received reports today of a possible scam.
Some women are being contacted by text message, claiming to be from the call and recall service to advise they are overdue for screening. The message asks them to call a mobile number and provide personal details.
These messages are NOT from the NHS Cervical Screening Programme. We would only ever ask you to contact the main surgery telephone number.
The Action Fraud Line has been contacted.
Coronavirus - A Book for Children
This book is for parents to help explain Coronavirus to children.
Coronavirus - A Book for Children pt1
Coronavirus - A Book for Children pt2
Coronavirus - A Book for Children pt3
New Coronavirus community support service launched
North Devon Council has launched a new community support hub to ensure the most vulnerable residents are not forgotten during the Coronavirus pandemic.
A new dedicated phoneline and online form are now available to those who need support who haven't already got help from family, friends, neighbours and their local community.
The service will vary according to where people live but will typically see the co-ordination of grocery shopping, prescription collections and social contact. In the major towns and villages, NDC will work alongside health and wellbeing partners One Northern Devon who have a network of volunteers on a street by street level. In the more rural areas, the partnerships will be with parishes and other community groups set up to support people during the crisis.
The public are being asked to check that their local neighbours are getting support and if they are worried about them, then contact the support hub who can make enquiries.
Council Leader Cllr David Worden says: "We know there are many people already receiving lots of support in their communities and it's wonderful to see the efforts people are going to. However, we're aware there will be people slipping between the cracks and this service is here to help them."
One Northern Devon Chair Dr John Womersley says: “It’s been fantastic to see so many groups spring up for people in communities to help one another. The One Northern Devon network does not replace that – we are using all the brilliant schemes that are out there and offering them our support. If there are any volunteers or volunteering groups that are not yet part of the network, we’d love to hear from you.”
The number to call is 01271 388280 and the online form and more information on community support are on the NDC website.
Customer and Corporate Communications Manager
North Devon Council
When to self isolate, shield or social distance yourself
Your Doctors are busy trying to save lives, so please DO NOT contact them asking for letters which justify your need to Self-Isolate or Social Distance. The flow chart below shows what you should be doing and what paperwork is available:
What is SELF ISOLATION and what should I do or not do?
You MUST stay at home and NOT leave the house. If possible, you should not go out even to
buy food or other essentials. If you need to leave the house to do some exercise, it must be
at a safe distance from others (more than 2 metres away).
More info here:
What is SHIELDING and what should I do or not do?
You are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact,
with anyone, for a period of at least 12 weeks. This period of time may change.
More info here:
Hospitals and GP surgeries have been given this additional information:
What is SOCIAL DISTANCING and what should I do or not do?
Please note that this applies to EVERYONE who is not in self isolation or shielding.
1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).
These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible
3. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this.
4. Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure
centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces
where people gather together.
5. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as
phone, internet, and social media
6. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services
More info here:
Additional Information from the World Health Organisation:
Get the NHS App
To download the app or for more information visit https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/the-nhs-app/.
Are You A Carer?