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Preparing for a COVID surge in January - important information for all patients

 
The NHS in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is expecting to be very busy in January due to a predicted surge in Omicron cases, peaking in mid-January.
 
Even with very high vaccination uptake in our patients and staff, the spread of COVID-19 is already having a significant impact on NHS staff absences and this is likely to become worse. This will further impact on staffing and will cause more disruption to wider health and services.
 
Every additional person with COVID-19 impacts on the ability of the NHS to carry out other important work. For example, for every inpatient in hospital with COVID-19, on average more than 8 other operations are postponed.
 
To prepare for this surge in January and the impact on staffing, in Falmouth and Penryn, our GP practices are:

  • Reducing non-urgent work, for example routine check-ups, routine monitoring, minor surgery, sick notes
  • Starting each consultation with a telephone call or online consultation first. We need to limit exposure for both patients and staff but anyone who needs to be seen face-to-face patient contact will be, where it’s safe to do
  • Limiting the staff working in our buildings to reduce the risk of outbreaks, along with regular staff testing
  • Strictly applying infection control precautions such as masks, ventilation, social distancing, and hand sanitiser

By ensuring these measures are in place, we will keep general practice open and therefore support our local hospitals, ambulances and out of hours services.
 
If we find that despite these measures some individual GP practices cannot open for a short period of time, then neighbouring GP practices in our area will support each other to ensure we can still ensure patients have access to GPs when it’s urgent in Falmouth and Penryn.
 
Our practice will review the suitability of these arrangements each week as we learn more about the impact of Omicron on NHS services in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
 

How can you help?

  • Please be patient and kind to our staff who are working under extreme pressure
  • Get your COVID-19 booster vaccination as soon as possible if you haven’t already. Many people in intensive care units in Cornwall are young and unvaccinated. 
  • Continue to follow national guidance about wearing face coverings, social distancing and any other restrictions that are in place

Minutes from the Patient Participation Group meeting held at Trescobeas Surgery

Please find attached the minutes from the recent meeting of the Patient Participation Group that was held at Trescobeas Surgery. If you wish to find out more about the PPG, please contact the Surgery and we will put you in contact with them. 

PPG Meeting Minutes Nov 2021

An open letter to the people of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly from the NHS and Cornwall Council care services.

As we approach Christmas and New Year, we want to thank you for the many ways you have responded to the pressures on our health and care services in 2021 and we have a big ask – we need you to continue to help us, to help you.

Health and care workers across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are working tirelessly together to keep services running to support us all, our loved ones, our neighbours, and our communities.

We are all in the unprecedented circumstances of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with its new Omicron variant. We have an ambitious booster vaccine programme for anyone aged 18 and older and by the end of the month we will have vaccinated 172,000 people – around 9,000 people a day. The booster provides up to 70% protection from the new variant. We are expanding the places where people can be vaccinated, including at the re-opened Stithians showground site.

There is high demand for all services, and we are preparing for an anticipated surge in COVID-19 cases. It is vital we keep beds in our acute hospitals at Treliske and Derriford free for people needing urgent and emergency treatment, our community hospitals free to provide continuing care, and our ambulances on the road able to respond to emergency calls.

In recent days we have seen many ambulances queuing and unable to unload patients causing delays in response time to 999 calls. There have been many people in hospital beds who are waiting for care to be arranged in their own or care homes and we have a lot of people waiting in the emergency department for hospital beds – which is the reason the ambulances can’t unload their patients. It’s a vicious circle – but if we all work together, we can fix it.

Here’s how you can help us help you

Support loved ones to leave hospital

Please collect loved ones from hospital as soon as they are ready to leave, either from the emergency department or from wards, to free up beds for patients needing emergency care. If you need help managing your loved ones at home, let us know and we will do all we can to support you.

Choose services well – helping us to help you and everyone in Cornwall

While the whole of general practice is focused on delivering the vaccination programme, we would like to reassure you that they remain available to treat urgent and complex conditions.

GP surgeries

GP surgeries are open on Christmas Eve, 8am to 6.30pm, reopening at 8am on Wednesday 29 December. They will be closed on 1 and 2 January, but NHS 111 and out of hours services are always available. Please always call your GP in the first instance if you need health advice, but consider delaying your call if it’s routine or non-urgent, or if you can get help from another service, such as a pharmacy. This will allow GPs and practice nurses to deliver the vaccination programme and focus on urgent health care needs.

Your GP knows you and your family best, and will be able to help you to make the right choices. You should always call your GP if you are worried about something, or you have a condition that isn’t getting any better. You will be seen in person if you need to be examined, but most conditions can be discussed over the phone, or by video call with a clinician. Your GP practice still needs to limit the spread of infection, so please understand if the practice doesn’t feel you need a face-to-face appointment.

Pharmacists

Pharmacists can give expert and speedy help with minor ailments such as cystitis, conjunctivitis, impetigo, and rashes. They can also provide over the counter remedies to treat coughs and colds, so stock up now and please feel confident speaking to a pharmacist about your health.

Pharmacists can also dispense emergency medicines if you have forgotten to organise your repeat prescription before the holiday, or if you have a guest who has forgotten their medication.

NHS 111 and out of hours services

Don’t forget NHS 111 and out of hours services. Please call 111 or use the NHS 111 online service if you need health advice, or think you need to be seen in a minor injury unit to treat broken bones, burns, animal and insect bites, deep cuts that need stitching, or you need an x-ray.

Emergency department and 999

Only visit the emergency department or use 999 for life threatening conditions. Please do not call 999 asking for an update on when an ambulance will arrive.

Get your COVID-19 jab

Anyone 18 and older can now book an appointment online or by calling 119, or visiting one of our walk-in centres. It’s also not too late for people to book their first or second dose if they’ve not yet received any protection.

Nearly 10% of people are failing to attend their vaccination appointment; please help us by cancelling your appointment if you no longer need it to free it up for someone else. There are plenty of appointments available, but please be patient as we are experiencing overwhelming demand and be kind to our NHS staff.

Keep safe – if we all work together, we will keep everyone we love safe

We should continue to wear face coverings in public and crowded settings, wash our hands, keep rooms ventilated, get tested regularly and isolate if you or anyone else at home has symptoms of COVID-19.

Do not visit your GP, pharmacy, our hospitals, care homes, or schools if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Remember all services are available online or by phone.

Look after your mental health

We know that the festive season can be a challenging time for some people. Help is available for anyone including those who want to talk to someone. Cornwall’s mental health response line is available all day, every day if you need help or support with your own or someone else’s mental health. Call free on 0800 038 5300.

Don’t be reckless this Christmas

Most people are looking forward to enjoying the upcoming festivities with their friends and relatives. At this time of year our hospitals and minor injury units are traditionally busy with revellers who have had drunken accidents. Please do not add to the NHS’ burden by hurting yourself or others because you think you have superpowers after a couple of festive sherries! Please help us by keeping safe and keeping our hospitals and emergency services free to focus on caring for people who really need our help.

We’re all in this together and only by working together and supporting each other and our services can we keep each other and our health and care provision safe and available for all.

We wish you a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

Drs Penny Atkinson, Jim Tait, Andy May, Clinical directors for north and east, west and central Cornwall
Kate Shields, chief executive officer (CEO) designate, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly’s Integrated Care System
Tony Chambers, interim CEO, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
Debbie Richards, CEO, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Kate Kennally, CEO, Cornwall Council
Dr Paul Cook, Chairman, NHS Kernow, Clinical Commissioning Group

A MESSAGE FROM THE PARTNERS, TRESCOBEAS SURGERY, 14th DECEMBER 2021

Due to the Government’s announcement on Sunday, and the need to role out at speed the COVID Booster programme, we are now running a restricted service.  This means we are standing down any non-urgent telephone call backs or appointments.

We urge you to keep our phone lines free and only call if we leave a message, or if you have an urgent health issue.

Please remember that our staff are working under extreme pressure and your co-operation and patience is appreciated.

COVID BOOSTER INFORMATION - 13th DECEMBER 2021

Following on from the announcement last evening by the Prime Minister, we are in the process of identifying all patients who are now eligible for a Covid Booster vaccination. Please appreciate that this situation is changing on a daily basis, and we are doing our very best to achieve maximum coverage by 31st December 2021. This is adding pressure to an already overstretched Practice - we would be grateful for your cooperation in waiting to be contacted by us to book your appointment. Further information will be posted here once we have a clear understanding of when we will be able to start vaccinating. 

Thank you for your patience. 

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Assignment of named GP for all new and existing patients - update 21st October 2021

As you may be aware from the note below, Dr Clark has now left Trescobeas Surgery. With her departure, we have had to look at our patient list, and re-assign her patients to a new named GP. At the same time, we have taken the time to review the assignment of patients to GPs in line with the number of sessions that each GP works within the Practice. 

If you have any queries or concerns about this, please can you contact us here to discuss in person. 


Important changes to routine and non-urgent blood test appointments  - Update 23rd Aug 2021

All GP practices are affected by the current national shortage of blood tubes and are taking urgent steps alongside our hospitals to prioritise their use for people with the greatest clinical need. This includes testing for serious conditions such as cancer.  

We are following national guidance which has been issued in response to the shortage. As a result, we need to cancel and delay a number of patient appointments for blood tests deemed routine or non-urgent. If you have a routine blood test appointment the reception team at the surgery will be in touch directly if they need to cancel your appointment, this will be by phone or by text message.

Please be assured that appointments will be rescheduled once the situation has improved, and in line with national guidance. There are a few things you can do if you are affected by this change: 

  • Keep checking our website for regular updates – we will be sharing the latest patient information here as soon as we receive it. 
  • Check your phone for messages from us – we will also be using our patient text service to keep people informed. 
  • Please don’t call or contact us with questions about routine blood tests – we are experiencing exceptional levels of demand at the moment, and your cooperation will help us to reach those without smartphone or internet access with this critical information.  
  • Do get in touch online if your condition worsens or changes so that we can prioritise your blood test if necessary following clinical review

The changes are likely to be in place for at least four weeks. We will keep all our patients regularly updated as the national situation changes. We fully understand the frustration this is likely to cause, and apologise for the inconvenience.  


Message from Dr Clark Update 23rd Aug 2021

Dear Patients,

It is with great sadness that I left Trescobeas Practice on July 31st 2021. I contracted Covid back in March 2020, and continue to struggle with the consequences to my health. My 15 years as a member of the Trescobeas team have been an absolute joy, and I am very proud of what we have achieved together as a practice in supporting the health and wellbeing of our local population. It has been a privilege to be your GP, and I am sorry that I have not been able to say any form of farewell to my patients due to my sudden onset illness. I love being a GP, and remain hopeful that my health will eventually recover and enable me to return to my vocation. Covid is still with us, and I urge you all to take great care, follow all the guidance for staying safe, and especially to look after those you love.

Goodbye all Carol Clark


Pharmacy

  • Need medical help? Ask a pharmacist for advice. They’re experts in treating minor health issues like colds, stomach upsets, aches and pains. #HelpUsHelpYou
  • Pharmacists can arrange an emergency supply of medicines if you forget to renew your prescription or bring your medication on holiday, even if you don’t live in Cornwall.

GP

  • Contact NHS 111 if your GP surgery is closed, and you can’t wait for advice. Visit 111.nhs.uk or call 111.
  • Did you know that even if you are on holiday you could get a phone or video consultation with your doctor at home? For GP advice out of hours, contact NHS 111. Visit 111.nhs.uk or call 111. #Staycation #HelpUsHelpYou
  • On holiday in #Cornwall and need health advice? Your own GP is always the best first point of call. Pharmacists can also offer help and treatment with over the counter remedies. #HelpUsHelpYou this Summer. #Staycation

Hospitals

  • A&E isn’t for anything and everything. Please only visit the emergency department for life threatening and emergency conditions. Visit 111.nhs.uk or call 111 if you need urgent medical advice.
  • Please do not turn up at one of our hospitals without contacting 111 first. NHS 111 will be able to assess you and, if you should need it, book you a time slot to make sure you can be seen safely. Visit 111.nhs.uk or call NHS 111.
  • Protect yourself and your loved ones by keeping our emergency department free for those with life and limb-threatening conditions. Not sure what to do? Think 111 first – visit 111.nhs.uk or call NHS 111. #HelpUsHelpYou
  • See the sea on your visit to Cornwall, not our ED and if you need an NHS service, 111 will get you to the right service fast. Visit 111.nhs.uk or call NHS 111.
  • The emergency department is not an alternative to a GP appointment. If your GP practice is closed you can contact NHS 111 which will direct you to the best local service to treat your injury. #HelpUsHelpYou
  • We love our jam first but not our emergency department jammed fast. Visit 111.nhs.uk or call NHS 111 first to find the right health service fast. #HelpUsHelpYou
  • When you need urgent, but not emergency, care please contact 111 and the team can direct you to the best service. Please don’t turn up at the emergency department, minor injury units, or our urgent treatment centre without contacting 111 first.

We have upgraded our surgery leaflet, click to download: Trescobeas Surgery Leaflet 2021 - Update June 2021


General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR)- Click Here for our Privacy Notice and Opt Out Form - update May 2021


Would you like to receive SMS or Email for appointment reminder/ results or any other communication.

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Dear Patients,

In recent weeks there has been a great deal of publicity about general practice and their desire to avoid seeing patients; this isn’t the case.

Our reception team are coming under a great deal of pressure and downright rudeness from some patients, and we see a need to clarify what happens when you speak to a member of our reception team.

Our reception team are experts at ‘signposting’. They don’t direct you elsewhere so that we can avoid seeing you. Our reception team will ask what the problem is, no matter why you want an appointment. They aren’t nosey, and they’ve undoubtedly heard it all before. They ask you about your problem because they want you to have the most appropriate appointment in the quickest time possible. If you’re telling us that you have severe chest pain, we don’t want you waiting a few hours to see us; we want you to call 999. This happens more frequently than you might think.

*Please note* our receptionists are not allowed to book face to face appointments directly with a GP. All GP appointments have to be triaged by one of the Doctors first. Please do not blame the receptionist for this, they are working to the Partners' instructions.

You might want to see your usual GP because you like them and feel they know you and your medical history. But if you want or need to see a GP sooner than their first available appointment, you will have to speak to a different GP; they will be able to see your records. 

Sometimes you might want to see a GP for something that one of our nurses does routinely.

We’re encouraged to send people with a cold, diarrhoea or other minor ailments to the pharmacy.  Again, this isn’t because we don’t want to see you; this is because having minor ailments dealt with at the pharmacy means we have more appointments available to deal with suspected cancers, mental health problems and chronic conditions.  111 should be your first point of contact with suspected COVID symptoms.

In short, each one of our team became part of the NHS family because we want to help our patients, so please don’t feel that we don’t want to see you. Sometimes we can get a quicker, more appropriate result for you by asking you to see someone who isn’t your usual GP.

Thank you

Hannah Cole

Practice Manager, Trescobeas Surgery


Useful Links:

https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/mental-health/mental-health-safety-plans/

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