COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus. Because this is a new illness it has been able to spread quickly, which is why the Government and the NHS are taking significant steps to combat it.
As patients and citizens, it is vital that we all follow the advice and do our bit to help minimise the spread of the illness.
We know this is a fast moving situation and things are changing quickly.
We’ll update this page with general information and specific changes here at the practice. Please bookmark or save this page for future reference.
Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms
- A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
Links and Resources
- Coronavirus overview (NHS)
- Check if you have Coronavirus symptoms (NHS)
- Get an isolation note for your employer (NHS)
- Our Practice briefing (pdf)
- How to talk to kids about Coronavirus (pdf)
Changes at Jesmond Health Partnership
To help minimise the impact of coronavirus, there are a number of changes we have made to our normal services.
- Reduce the risk to our patients, their family, their friends and our community.
- Ensure that we have the capacity to advise and assess unwell patients who may have an urgent medical need.
Only come to the practice if you have spoken to a member of the team and they have asked you to come in.
Do not go to No. 200 without an appointment.
Do not go to No. 17 if you do not have any appointment.
NHS and government guidance says staff should use PPE at all times to keep themselves and patients as safe as possible.
Health visitors are offering telephone advice and telephone developmental reviews. They are still providing New Baby Visits but will attend in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Baby vaccinations are being carried out by the Practice Nurse Team.
FREquently asked questions
You may have lots of questions about what to do at certain times, or about the advice given to you. We’ve done our best to explain something as simply as possible below.
Everyone who is medically recognised as at risk will receive a letter strongly advising they avoid face to face interaction for 12 weeks, though this may change.
We've added a Shielding questions and answers document here.
Our guide on shielding, social distancing and self-isolation can be found here.
- Work from home if you can
- Don’t use public transport unless there is no other option
- Avoid anyone with symptoms - cough, fever etc
- Avoid public gatherings, even visiting family or friends
- Use phone or online for essentials services like contacting your GP
If you do go out, stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone else. More here.
You can get an isolation note to give to your employer by visiting the 111.nhs.uk/isolation-note.
It is a new illness and very infectious, which is why following Government and NHS advice to reduce its spread is so important.
This situation is unprecedented, and it’s vital we all follow advice and act responsibly.
You can read more about vulnerable groups and measures to protect them here.
Visit the NHS Coronavirus service and answer the questions for advice.
Prescriptions and medication
General advice on our prescribing, and information about specific conditions and medications.
We’re urging patients not to over-order their repeat prescriptions or request advance medicine supplies. Order as you would normally do. Do not ask for an increased supply if you don’t need it, only order one month at a time, unless you’ve been advised differently by your healthcare professional.
To make the process easier, some patients will start having their regular prescription sent to the pharmacy automatically through the Electronic Repeat Dispensing service. This will mean you don’t need to contact the surgery to order your regular prescription, and the pharmacy can better plan what medicines to order and when they need to be ready for you to collect.
You can nominate a pharmacy to have your prescription sent to online or by calling us. Reducing visits to the practice will help stop infections spreading.
This will mean you don’t need to contact the surgery to order your regular prescription, and the pharmacy can better plan what medicines to order and when they need to be ready for you to collect.
If your condition changes or you stop a medicine, your GP can amend your prescription for the future instalments. You can change pharmacies at any time during the duration of the eRD prescription. If clinically appropriate you can request the next issue early or obtain more than one prescription, for example when going on holiday.
410 million repeat prescriptions are generated every year - equivalent to an average of more than 375 per GP per week. Switching 80% of these to eRD could save 2.7 million hours of GP and practice time, meaning more time to care for patients.
To nominate a pharmacy to have your prescriptions sent to, call us on 0191 281 4588 or use our online services, if you are registered.
But until we have more information, take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.
Patients who have confirmed COVID-19 or believe they have COVID-19 should use paracetamol in preference to ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medicines.
Those currently taking ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (such as naproxen or diclofenac) on the advice of a doctor for other medical reasons (e.g. arthritis) should not stop them without checking first.
If you take an ACE-I or ARB medicine, it is strongly recommend that you continue to take your usual therapy. You should not stop taking these medicines without discussing it with your doctor first.
There has been some speculation in the media that ACE-I and ARB drugs might increase the risk and severity of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. This will provoke anxiety for many people taking these medicines and leave them uncertain about the best action to take.
There is a lack of any evidence supporting these claims of harmful effect of ACE-I and ARB. Patients are assured that they should continue these medicines unless told otherwise by a healthcare professional.
For some people, particularly those with heart failure, stopping the drugs suddenly can lead them to become unwell. This can cause people to become more breathless and may create uncertainty about whether symptoms are due to infection (such as COVID-19), or to underlying health problems.
This advice will be updated as needed while health experts review the available evidence.
Statement from the Renal Association.
Statement from the European Society of Cardiology.
Even at this busy time for the NHS, getting early support for any problems with your lungs is critical to keep you well and out of hospital.
Some people with lung conditions are prescribed rescue packs of steroid tablets. If you're normally advised to have a rescue pack available to treat your lung condition then it's a good idea to check you have one.
Some patients with COPD who have exacerbations and normally have a rescue pack as part of their personalised action plan should continue to use these as recommended in their personalised plan.
Advice from the British Lung Foundation and Asthma UK is that rescue packs are not recommended for people with asthma as standard. If someone’s asthma is bad enough to consider rescue steroids, then it is essential that they are assessed by a healthcare professional.
If you have asthma, more health advice is available on the Asthma UK website here.
The British Lung Foundation also have a page here providing useful advice.
Evidence shows that if your asthma is normally well controlled without needing to use a preventer inhaler (containing an inhaled steroid), you are unlikely to get any significant benefit from starting to use one.
We have seen an increase in the number of requests for preventer inhalers from people who don’t normally use them. At the same time, there has been a recent stock shortage of these inhalers. It is very important we make sure the people who rely on these inhalers can continue to get them so that their asthma doesn’t get worse. We will only prescribe inhaled steroids to patients who have a clinical need for them.
If you are taking any of the following medicines and develop a dehydrating illness (diarrhoea, vomiting or a high temperature associated with not eating and drinking adequately) you should consult a Healthcare Professional.
If the Healthcare Professional advises stopping any of the above medications, then they should also advise when to restart your medication once you have recovered from the illness. Typically, this would be after 24 to 48 hours of eating and drinking normally.