Influenza Vaccinations 2021
Next Clinic -
Wednesday 27th October 2.30 to 5.30pm - this is for those under 65 and children's nasal flu only
Details of further clinics are to be confirmed, subject to vaccine availability & future deliveries.
Please only attend if you have received an invitation from us. Due to the aforementioned delivery delays, we have yet to receive our full quota of vaccines and are therefore staggering invites to avoid disappointment for those who attend.
We encourage you to wear a face covering where possible. If you require assistance or have limited mobility, please alert a member of staff when you arrive.
If you are eligible for a COVID vaccine booster, you will be contacted separately and depending on where you attend for your booster dose, you may be able to have the flu vaccine at the same time. But please check this with the COVID vaccination sites, as not all sites offer this service.
Hitchin & Whitwell PCN - First Patient Newsletter
We are part of the Hitchin & Whitwell Primary Care Network. A Patient PCN Newsletter has been started which can be accessed here. In this first edition you will read about the PCN and find out more about our Social Prescriber and what their role involves.
Cancellation of Blood Tests - 27th August 2021
A supplier to the NHS has advised us of a global shortage of some equipment used for taking blood tests.
Anyone who needs a test for urgent health problems, will still get one but where your clinician recommends that it’s safe to do so, then you may be asked to come back for a test at a later date, or your appointment may be cancelled & rescheduled.
Given the nature of the shortage, we cannot give an exact date for when the test will be rescheduled, but please be assured that if your condition or symptoms require it, then you will get a test, and we will be re-booking your test when supplies become more easily available. We understand that this temporary national position is frustrating and we thank you in advance for your understanding.
If your condition or symptoms change or get worse, please contact the surgery or NHS 111 as you would normally.
UPDATE from 19th July 2021
We need to continue to do what we can to keep people safe from catching Covid-19. One way we can all help with this is by continuing to wear a face-covering in our practice and we are asking all patients to do that, as well as our staff. Keeping our staff safe is essential to keep operating efficiently.
We are also continuing to make sure we don’t have large numbers of patients in our waiting areas and on the premises – again this is about reducing the chance of infection when there are rising rates in the community.
The various measures we have taken, including increased use of personal protective equipment, patients wearing face masks, holding more virtual consultations, social distancing and extra premises cleans have helped protect staff, patients and visitors over the past year. Taking these steps has also enabled us to continue providing many of the non-urgent services that would otherwise have been postponed.
We want to make sure you can all be confident about accessing or visiting local healthcare services safely.
Thank you for your understanding and your cooperation with this – it makes a huge difference.
Data Sharing Update - 5/7/21
Concerned about your information being shared? What you need to know.
The NHS is planning to introduce an improved way for GP practices to share information about patients- called the General Practice Data for Planning and Research data collection. News of these plans has caused some concern to some of our patients, who have decided that they don’t want their data to be involved.
We have now been informed that no data will be shared in this new way until 1 September this year. If you have already been in touch with the practice to ask to be ‘opted out’, your request will be honoured. This will not affect your own care. To find out more about how and why the NHS securely collects and uses data, please go to this website.
We are here to help when you need us - how to access services
If you need the help of a GP, practice nurse or other health professional that works in our surgery, we are here for you.
GP practices are busier than they have ever been and we want you to know how to get the help you need from us.
As you will know, we have been open throughout the pandemic, offering you telephone and online appointments, with face to face consultations available for those who need them. We have continued to help many thousands of patients each week. We now offer directly bookable face to face and telephone appointments bookable online, by telephone and in person releasing at 8am for mornings and 12pm for afternoons.
There are some things that patients can do to help make sure we can see everyone who needs us, as quickly as possible. Please continue to contact us by phone or online as this helps us to manage people entering our practice building; it is much better if you don’t come to the practice unless you have an appointment. We need to keep social distancing in our practice building to keep everyone safe, we also ask that you always wear a mask while in the surgery and take your temperature before sitting in the waiting room. Please remember that appointments are a set amount of time so it is only safe to discuss one health issue. If you have more to discuss please mention this when you speak to reception staff.
During the pandemic the use of our online system “eConsult” increased. It is a great way to get clinical advice for your condition, however, it is worth remembering that each consultation takes a significant amount of time to review and there are lots of other ways to get advice. Also you will not get an instant response to these so if it is urgent please call the practice or contact 111.
On our website we have links to key NHS information and advice. Please also go to www.nhs.uk which is a as a source of trusted health advice about your or your child’s condition. Your local pharmacist is also there for you as an expert in medicines. They can offer advice for certain ailments. They will also know when you need to contact a GP or another more urgent service. Many pharmacies are open in the evening and at weekends, you can find them on the CCG website: https://www.enhertsccg.nhs.uk/pharmacies
Remember if the situation is urgent you can contact NHS 111 by visiting www.111.nhs.uk or by calling 111. They can also support with a mental health crisis if you select option 2.
You don’t need to see a GP to refer yourself for some mental health services. Find out more at https://www.hpft.nhs.uk/services/community-services/wellbeing-service/ If you are worried about your mental health and any harm you may cause yourself please contact your practice.
Remember to always dial 999 straight away when it is a real emergency, for example if you think someone is having a heart attack or a stroke.
Please continue to use general practice when you need to, we are open and there for you.
Thank you for your support.
Update 27th May 2021 - Data Sharing
There has been a lot of talk in the media lately regarding data sharing by GP Practice’s we would like to reassure you that we would never sell your data or release it to parties outside of the NHS without your consent.
Please find the below links which will give you information on how the NHS stores and uses your data.
If after watching the video and reading the information, you would still like to opt out of the data sharing please use the below link to complete your information or the telephone number for NHS Digital Contact Centre
You can make or change a choice for:
- Children under the age of 13
- Someone you can legally make decision for
NHS Digital Contact Centre phone number 0300 303 5678
Your choice will be entered into your records by NHS Digital and they will inform us of the choice, there is no need for you to contact your practice regarding this.
Type 1 Opt Out
In addition to the National Data Opt-Out, the existing ‘Type 1’ opt-outs will continue to be respected until Department of Health and Social Care conducts a consultation with the National Data Guardian on their removal. Therefore, until further notice, if you inform the practice, or have previously informed the practice that you dissent from the sharing your confidential data for purposes beyond your direct care (Type 1), your data will not be shared outside of the practice without your expressed permission, unless these is an overriding legal obligation to do so.
Data being used or shared for purposes beyond individual care does not include your data being shared with insurance companies or used for marketing purposes and data would only be used in this way with your explicit consent.
Your individual care will not be affected if you opt-out using the Tier 1 or the National Data Opt-out
If you would like to opt out please complete the form below (which will open as a word document) and return to the Surgery and we will update your record.
Bridge Cottage Surgery Update - 14th May 2021
Further to our update at the end of April we are pleased to announced : From Monday 17th May, Kimpton Surgery will be open between 9am and 12pm. Appointments for Kimpton Surgery can be booked in advance and on the day by calling 01438 833699 between 9am and 12pm.
From Monday 17th May the following changes to Bridge Cottage Surgery will also take effect.
Telephone appointments and Face to Face appointments will release at:
- 8am for mornings, both on the day and 1, 3 and 5 days in advance
- 12pm for afternoons, both on the day and 1, 3 and 5 days in advance
Appointments will be available to:
- book online
- by telephone
- in person
Please note that clinicians will only deal with one issue per appointment. This will enable clinicians to keep to time and assist in social distancing in the waiting rooms.
We ask that you arrive at your appointment on time and not too early before to prevent overcrowding. If you are early, please wait outside.
On entering Bridge Cottage Surgery, we ask that you check your temperature using the infra-red machine at the entrance and use the check in screens if you have an appointment. If your temperature is more than 37.5 please leave the building and call the surgery to notify and you may be seen outside.
If waiting areas have reached their maximum capacity unfortunately you will have to wait outside.
If you have COVID symptoms, please do NOT come into the Surgery.
Your views can help improve local GP and health services
Some patients registered at Bridge Cottage Surgery will soon be invited to take part in a national survey about their experiences of local NHS services.
It covers issues that concern patients, such as access to care and satisfaction with treatment.
If you receive a questionnaire, please help NHS England by filling it in as soon as possible.
It is really important that NHS England hear your views, even if you have received a questionnaire like this before. Your response with help NHS England to improve GP practices and other local NHS services so they better meet your names.
Visit www.gp-patient.co.uk to find out more
Bridge Cottage Surgery Update - 28th April 2021
Thank you to our community for your help and support during the pandemic.
We have been working under mandated national guidelines using a remote triage model to assess patients. We have been seeing patients face to face throughout the pandemic when clinically necessary and in a COVID secure way. We have protected our patients and staff and not had to close during the pandemic. Our shutters have only been closed during national lockdowns to reduce footfall into the building. Over the last few weeks, there has been very high demand for health services in all areas. We wish to apologise if patients have had difficulty accessing services. We are working with our telephone supplier to address the issues that some patients have faced.
Over the coming days, we will be adapting our model to mirror the Government’s roadmap to lifting restrictions. There will be more access to routine care however priority will always be given to the clinically vulnerable and the Surgery will continue to be COVID secure.
- 4th May: Telephone appointments will be released at 08:00 and 12:00 (including online).
- 17th May: Greater proportion of routine face to face appointments with clinicians after triage via telephone and e-consult.
- Week of 17th May: Re-opening of Kimpton Surgery with face to face appointments.
- 21st June: Directly bookable face to face appointments. (Government date for the end of COVID restrictions).
Patients who have a face to face appointment can check in at reception, have a temperature check and be seated in specific areas to keep the waiting areas safe. As space is limited, we will not be able to give a full choice of appointment times. This is to separate routine care from possible infectious cases.
There has been a good up take of the vaccine locally, however the vaccine is not 100% effective and not all our patients have been vaccinated. There are still cases of COVID locally. We will continue to operate in a COVID secure way until the Government removes restrictions. This operating plan may change if further restrictions are imposed by government.
For those patients who wish to continue accessing our services remotely by phone or e-consult, these services will continue post 21st June.
Dr Hari Pathmanathan
Domestic abuse: get help during the COVID-19 outbreak
If you are worried that a friend, neighbour or loved one is a victim of domestic abuse then you can call the freephone, 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 and further information is on the helpline's dedicated website.
If you believe there is an immediate risk of harm to someone, or it is an emergency, you should always call 999.
The Government has a detailed webpage Domestic abuse: get help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak where you can find out how to get help if you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse. In particular, the government pages have translated guidance, welfare benefits and housing advice as well as advice on how to get legal help.
The pages also give details on the domestic abuse code-word scheme. If someone is experiencing domestic abuse and needs immediate help, they can ask for ‘ANI’ in a participating pharmacy. ‘ANI’ stands for Action Needed Immediately but also phonetically sounds like the name Annie. If a pharmacy has the ‘Ask for ANI’ logo on display, it means they’re ready to help.
They will offer the person a private space, provide a phone and ask if they need support from the police or other domestic abuse support services.
Advice for Older People
Staying Well in Hertfordshire
You will find useful information on how to look after yourself over these colder months, what to look out for and how to get help in the 'Staying Well in Hertfordshire' booklet which is accessible by the following link:
Help us help you - busy service
All NHS services are under severe pressure at the moment, as we look after increasing numbers of patients who are sick with covid-19 and other seasonal illnesses.
We are also delivering the huge and vitally important covid-19 vaccination programme.
So that it can focus on these really important issues, you GP will understandably be prioritising urgent cases.
This means that when you contact your local practice, they will have an initial conversation with you to understand how urgent your health needs are.
If you have an issue that is not urgent, you may to wait longer than usual until your problem or concern can be dealt with.
Do please make sure that you continue to get in touch with us if you need to.
This is particularly important if:
· your problem is urgent;
· you have long-term condition that is getting worse
· you are worried about symptoms that might indicate cancer
Please also remember you can call NHS 111 for urgent concerns, and 999 for serious emergencies.
Your local pharmacist can also help with minor complaints
For adults with mental health problems including depression and anxiety, you can refer yourself directly to the local wellbeing service, via their website.
If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis, call this freephone number: 0800 6444 101.
For access to the Welwyn & Hatfield Healthy Hub - a one stop shop connecting you to health, sports and well being services in Welwyn Hatfield visit the website at https://healthyhub.welhat.gov.uk/
We have a childhood illnesses leaflet free to download here, full of advice and information for parents and carers of young children https://hertsvalleysccg.nhs.uk/application/files/1716/0941/0098/Help_your_Child_Stay_Well_This_Winter_FINAL.pdf
Herts Help has a range of support and information to help people though the lockdown here https://www.hertshelp.net/hertshelp.aspx
Thank you very much for helping us all manage under these very difficult circumstances.