COVID-19 & The Surgery

How to Access Services - Letter to Patients 3rd March 2022

Dear Patient,

During the pandemic life has been difficult for all of us, we have had to change our lives, manage pain, illness, suffering and in some cases the death of people close to us. If people you care about have died during the pandemic, please accept my deepest condolences.

We want to reassure you that the team at your GP practice continues to be here for you and your family. As you will be aware, we have had to make changes to the way we work to be able to support you and keep you safe to ensure we can continue to provide services for you and your family.

We would like to take the opportunity to clarify how you can contact us and how we can help and support you.

How You Can Contact Us

There are several ways you can contact the practice; these are listed in a table accompanying this letter so that you can keep it handy for reference. There’s also useful information on how you can access wider support and contact details for other healthcare organisations and services, including telephone numbers for local NHS organisations in case you need to follow up a referral – the practice doesn’t have any access to the appointments of other organisations.  

At the practice we (as well as all other GP practices) are experiencing a high demand for our services, and we are taking all the actions we can to provide you with the support that you need. In order to do that we need to work together with you.

We appreciate that the phone lines are very busy and not being able to get through to us can be very frustrating. We are reviewing our phone services to see what we can do to improve them so that you don’t have these problems. These improvements may take some time to implement, so thank you for your patience as they take place.

How We Are Seeing Patients

As per recent guidelines, COVID–19 still remains a significant concern and we taking appropriate steps to reduce the risk of infection within the practice still governs how we can use the building. We need to ensure waiting rooms do not become crowded and carry out cleaning between patient consultations. For these reasons, it is not possible for practices to see as many people in person as before the pandemic. We ask anyone visiting the surgery to please wear a facemask.

The arrangements that we do have in place for consultations with you are:

  • telephone consultation
  • video consultation
  • In person, face to face consultation

We are working hard to make sure that you get the same high standard of care whatever type of consultation you have with us. Telephone and video consultations could be safer, quicker and more convenient for you. If during a telephone or video consultation, there is a decision that it is necessary to see you in person then an appointment will be made for you to come to the practice.

Your consultation will be made with the professional who can best deal with your query. We rely on the expertise of our colleagues who are: nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, healthcare assistants, physiotherapists and doctors. This enables us to have a large volume of appointments available for people each day and ensures that you get the right care from the right professional.

Our reception staff are trained to sign post you to the right health care professional for your need as efficiently as possible and will ask for the reason you are contacting the surgery. We understand you may feel reluctant to share personal medical information, but please be assured our reception staff are there to help and your information will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Routine services

The successful roll out of the booster programme means that our practice can now resume routine appointments after some of these were paused in mid-December to divert resources to delivering more vaccinations during the Omicron wave. We are now urging patients who have held off contacting their practice with more routine issues over recent weeks, and those who are due to have health checks, to come forward.

Support for patients with urgent health concerns and for clinically vulnerable patients or for people with an ongoing health condition has continued throughout. We continue to be here for you. Please don’t hesitate in contacting us.

How To Get Involved

If you would like to become more involved in how the practice works, we would like to invite you to become part of our Patient Participation Group (PPG). This is a group of patients, carers and practice staff who meet to discuss practice issues and patient experience in order to help improve the service. If you would like to become part of the group or have a discussion with one of the members the contact details are on the list below.

If you do have any comments or feedback you would like to share you can also do this by contacting our Practice Manager, Monika Smith.   We’re always looking for ways to improve our services, and if something has not met your expectations or you’d like to share a positive experience, we would like to hear about it.

Thank you very much for your time. We are confident that as a team of patients and professionals we can continue to look after one another and ensure that the services you need are available for you.

Kind regards

Abridge Surgery Team

You can contact Abridge Surgery practice in the following ways

Method

Details

Telephone

Our number is:01992 812961
Phone lines are open from 08:00-18:30 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday and 08:00-13:00 on a Wednesday

The NHS app

(download for Android or Apple to your smart phone if you have one)

You can use the NHS app to;

  • Book appointments
  • Order repeat prescriptions
  • Review your medical record
  • See our COVID pass

www.nhs.uk/nhs-app/

In person

You are welcome to come to reception to:

  • book appointments
  • drop off samples
  • drop off letters

In writing

Please post letters to:

Abridge Surgery
37 Ongar Road
Abridge
Romford
Essex
RM4 1UH

Or drop them off at the practice

For prescriptions

There are several ways you can order prescriptions, including repeat prescriptions. Please talk to us about this.

Either:

  • drop off a request in the box in the waiting area at the practice
  • order on the NHS app

Patient Participation Group

Contact details – Practice Manager Monika Smith

Telephone  01992 812961

To follow up a referral that the practice has made for you to either the community services or a Hospital, please contact the community service or hospital

The most common organisations we refer to are:

Essex partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Community and Mental Health please call: 0300 123 0808

The Princess Alexandra Hospital please call: 01279 444 455

To change an Outpatients appointment please call: 01279 827 391 

To contact the maternity team if you are in labour please   call: 01279 444 455 and enter extension 2144

Addenbrookes Hospital please call: 01223 245151

Mid Essex (Broomfield) please call: 01245 362000

Barts Health please call: 0207 3777 000

Postponed outpatient appointments and numbers for patients to contact for urgent queries

The numbers below are direct contact numbers for specific services. If the service you need is not detailed below or you are unable to get through, please contact the hospital’s switchboard:

For Mile End, St Bartholomew's or The Royal London please call: 020 7377 7000

For Newham please call: 020 7476 4000

For Whipps Cross please call: 020 8539 5522

Whipps Cross Hospital
Appointment call centre please call: 020 8537 6768

Sharing feedback with the practice

Please contact the PM, Monika Smith, in the first instance

The practice complaints policy can be found here www.abridgesurgery.co.uk

If you would rather speak to someone not directly involved in your care:

 

Other ways to get medical support and advice

Method

Details

 

NHS 111 online

If you have an urgent health need that can’t wait, please visit NHS 111 online, or if unable to use the internet, call 111, who will advise the best place or treatment to suit their needs.

Please contact 111 before going to A&E. They can book an appointment for you at A&E.

Dial 999 for life-threatening emergencies

 

To get help from NHS 111, you can:

  • go to 111.nhs.uk (for people aged 5 and over only)
  • call 111

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

If you’re Deaf and want to use the phone service, you can use the NHS 111 British Sign Language service available in your country.

You can also call 18001 111 on a textphone.

England – NHS 111 (BSL) interpreter service:

https://signvideo.co.uk/nhs111/

Pharmacies

For minor health conditions contact the community pharmacists for help. As qualified health professional they can offer clinical advice and over the counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains. If symptoms suggest something more serious, pharmacists have the right training to get you the right help. 

To find your local pharmacy visit:

https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/pharmacy/find-a-pharmacy

Mental health support

Adults

If you, a family member or friend are in crisis and need help, please dial NHS 111 and select the option for mental health crisis. You will be connected to our contact centre where trained staff will provide appropriate support and advice 24 hours a day.

Under 18s

If you are under the age of 18 or are the family member of someone under the age of 18 who is in crisis there are various ways you can get help.

Adults
To get mental health help from NHS 111, please call 111 and select option 2

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Under 18s
For North East London NHS Foundation Trust’s Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Service please call: 0300 300 1600 or email nelft-ewmhs.referrals@nhs.net
If you need urgent help or out of hours help, call please call: 0300 555 1201

Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service

Information, advice and support for children, young people and families, including advice around family health, minor illness, caring for your baby, parenting support and special educational needs, as well as a number of other specialist community healthcare services such as therapies.

Healthy Family Teams:

Please call: 0300 247 0122 (Option 1)
vcl.essexwest-hftcentraladminhub@nhs.net

 

Specialist Healthcare Services:

Please call: 0300 247 0122 (Option 3 then Option 1)
vcl.essexwest-harlowcdc@nhs.net

Website: https://essexfamilywellbeing.co.uk/about-us/

Herts & West Essex ‘Healthier Together’ Website

Provides clear health information for parents/carers and young people put together by local health experts, helping you to recognise what might be wrong, when to seek help, how to keep your child comfortable and how long their symptoms may last.  Also includes a dedicated section on young people’s health and wellbeing.

 

Website: https://hwehealthiertogether.nhs.uk/

 

All the staff at Abridge Surgery would like to thank our patients for their support during this time!


If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus - a high temp, continuous cough, loss of sense of taste or smell please dial 119


Flu vaccination

Patients over 50 who still wish to have the flu vaccine please call us to book your appointment before the end of March. If you have received this elsewhere or do not want this, please inform the surgery.

Smear tests

Please call the surgery to book your appointment

Childhood immunisations

Please call the surgery to book appointments for your children.

Chronic diseases

Chronic diseases such as:- asthma, COPD and Diabetes are still being managed over the telephone where appropriate and face to face where needed. Please contact the surgery to discuss.

We are not currently offering ear irrigation as advised by our CCG. If you are in any pain or discomfort do make an appointment with the Doctor to discuss.


It is important that our patients do see medical advice if they are concerned.

If you are unable to make an appointment directly when the surgery is closed, contact NHS 111 and call 999 with any medical emergency like breathing problems or chest pain or signs of a stroke or sepsis.

Important Patient Information

  • We will now be triaging all appointments when you call to make an appointment.
  • Please do not come into the surgery to post your repeat prescription.
  • Please use the box outside the surgery (which is emptied regularly).
  • We will not now be printing prescriptions at the surgery.
  • If you do not already have a nominated pharmacy please telephone the surgery to arrange this.

If you are needing a self isolation note for your employer please click here to download a letter you can complete.

Important Patient Information: Non-Covid emergencies

  • Please don’t ignore medical emergencies.
  • The surgery is still open for telephone and video consultations with both the GPs and nurse.
  • Any patients with chronic diseases, contact the surgery to book an appointment
  • We are still giving baby and children’s immunisations – contact the surgery to book an appointment

Click here for details of other services available to provide help and support to carers and vulnerable people within the community

Our staff

As our surgery door remains closed during this time, please respect our staff and do not bang on the front door.  The staff will have seen you and ask that you telephone the surgery either when you arrive for an appointment or if you wish to speak to a member of our team. Please be patient - as you can imagine, the phones are constantly busy and we will of course endeavour to answer your call as soon as is possible.

Please do not ask our staff to carry out any surgery-related issues out of surgery time or out of their working environment.  Some of our staff do live in the village and we would ask you to respect their private time whilst they are not at work.

Thank you again to our patients for your many words of support during this time.  It is very comforting and they are very much appreciated by our staff.

Abridge Surgery have been awarded the COVID-19 Secure Assessment Certificate by the Infection Prevention Control Team at Hertfordshire and West Essex CCGs.

This evidences that the surgery has implemented measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and to provide a safe environment for both staff and patients alike.

Please click here to view the certificate (PDF, 447KB)

 

Local Services, Let
Local Services, Let