As we are all aware, the current Coronavirus pandemic has presented huge challenges over the last few months. Nobody has been immune from the disruption, uncertainty and, at times, distress.
The practice team are normal people and we share the same fears and anxieties as all of you. While the number of deaths from the virus is falling, coronavirus remains a very real threat to everyone and the practice cannot simply return to “normal”. To let our guard down now would risk the safety not only of staff but of other patients and this is not something we are prepared to do.
Our staffs wear facemasks and shields predominantly to protect the patients they are treating. If a patient comes in who is suffering from coronavirus (and they may not be aware of it themselves) then our team is only protected by, either, social distancing from the patient or by the patient wearing a face covering or mask. It is not normally possible to socially distance if you are attending for a medical appointment. Our team face these risks on a daily basis. Their professionalism and commitment to you, our patients, means they shoulder this risk every day.
We are therefore asking ALL patients to wear a face covering when attending the practice for ANY reason. Unfortunately, we cannot supply masks – the supplies of PPE are unreliable and we must preserve stocks of clinical masks for our staff so that we can protect you, our patients. We do not expect you to wear a clinical or fluid resistant mask but a homemade facemask or scarf, even a bandana over your mouth and nose would be adequate. You may notice that not all staff are wearing masks – this is because the areas of the practice these staff work, and their roles, meaning they are able to comply with social distancing guidelines. Patients, who come to the practice without a face covering, and with no medical reason why they cannot wear one, may be asked to return home and book another appointment once they have a face covering.
We are seeing more patients coming into the practice to make appointments or ask general questions. We wish to avoid gatherings and crowds in the premises; therefore, we will continue to keep our doors closed and communicate through the intercom.
The ONLY reasons for coming to the practice are to attend a booked appointment or to pick something up from us, where we cannot e-mail it to you. You MUST put samples, prescription requests, letters etc in the letterbox to the left of the main front door.
You should contact us by phone for anything else, including booking a telephone assessment.
Please also note that hospitals and other health organisations have a backlog of referrals to process and you may not obtain an appointment as fast as you would like to. You must be patient and understand that they will prioritise urgent cases.
When you arrive to your appointment at Newton, please ring the doorbell and notify us, but please wait outside the practice until we call you in. This is safer for patients and safer for staff.
Please understand that if our practice team become unwell we will not be able to treat patients – we are asking our patients to help us so that we can continue to help you.
We know many patients are anxious about the months ahead, managing existing and new health conditions and flu vaccinations. We are continuously spending time and effort to find new ways of working to ensure the safety of our patients, their carers and our staff.
A huge amount of work and planning is going on behind the scenes to provide you with the best care and to keep you safe – please be patient with us. If you have urgent concerns, please contact us, by phone, for advice. The best source of up to date information is our website www.newtonmedical.co.uk
Thank you for your understanding and your continuing kindness.
The Newton Medical Centre Team