Medical Centre latest and further lockdown easing in Kirknewton


EAST CALDER MEDICAL PRACTICE LATEST

The Health Centre is open 8am-6pm, but we have significantly reduced capacity for seeing patients, and staff are being asked to signpost patients who present with problems that could be dealt with by other services. This is necessary to ensure we have enough capacity to deal with those patients who do require medical advice or treatment that only a member of our team can provide

For those needing medical advice the GPs are offering telephone consultations and where necessary video consultations, but to reduce the risk to the staff and patients, are only seeing patients face to face when deemed medically necessary.

Patients who have concerns about their health should contact us by telephone in the first instance.

Prescriptions must be ordered via one of the local pharmacies, via our website or by email, and we will send all prescriptions direct to pharmacy, so it is important that if patients are not ordering via pharmacy that we know which pharmacy to send the prescription to.

We have a special arrangement in place to see shielding patients to ensure that we are maximising infection control measures. For this reason, we ask that anyone attending an appointment of any type does so on their own, and on time (but not early). Is it vital that if any patient with a prebooked appointment develops Covid related symptoms they do not come to the surgery, and in these circumstances we ask that patients phone us for advice.

Whilst chronic disease management has been put on hold (UK wide in Primary Care) we are now exploring ways to start offering this service, but need to prioritise those who would benefit most, i.e. those at highest risk. We will be contacting patients directly for review.

We expect cervical screening to resume in the near future, and that this will be widely publicised by the Scottish Government.

As services are reintroduced, patients are likely to have a longer waiting time to be seen for non urgent problems. This is due to the limited number of people allowed in the building at any one time and the impact this will have on our appointments system.

The Pharmacy First service has been extended to all patients, and this should be the first point of contact for all minor illnesses.

Opticians are still operating a limited service, and those patients with any eye problem that cannot be dealt with by pharmacy should phone any local optician in the first instance. The optician can arrange appropriate follow up, even if the shop is closed.

Dentists are still operating a limited service, and all patients with any type of dental issue should phone their local dentist and seek advice and treatment as appropriate.

We are receiving a significant number of calls from patients who are seeking advice or support before returning to work, either because they have been working from home or because they have been Furloughed and are now being asked to return to their normal duties. It is not our place to get involved in any employment related issues, even if the employer has asked the patient to contact us. In these circumstances we recommend that the employee asks their employer for an individual workplace risk assessment and seeks occupational health referral if appropriate. The occupational health clinician may then (with consent) contact the practice with specific questions which can aid them in any workplace decisions.

We understand that this can be a very anxious time for patients, especially those with underlying
health conditions, and we would like to take the opportunity to remind patients that if they are worried about any aspect of their health they should still contact us for advice. We thank patients for their support in accessing our services appropriately.

RESTRICTION EASING UPDATES

The five-mile travel limit has been lifted and self-contained holiday accommodation can now reopen as virus restrictions in Scotland are eased.

Visits to care homes can also now resume, and physical distancing rules for young people have been relaxed.

The changes to the travel rules do not apply in parts of Dumfries and Galloway due to a local outbreak of Covid-19.

Up until today, people in Scotland have been advised against travelling more than five miles from home for leisure purposes.

However with the infection rate low and fewer than 1,500 people currently thought to be capable of spreading the virus, this restriction is being eased.

Self-catering accommodation which does not have any shared facilities, such as holiday cottages and caravans, can also now reopen.

Visits to care homes can also resume from Friday, although strict rules will be in place after the facilities were badly hit by the virus.

Residents can have one named “key visitor” attend if their home has been virus-free for 28 days, but they will have to remain outdoors, 2m (6ft 6in) away and must wear a face covering throughout the visit.

There have also been changes for young children, with physical distancing rules being scrapped for those under 12 when meeting other children or adults outdoors.

Meanwhile young people aged 12 to 17 are allowed to meet people from an unlimited number of households in a day, as long as groups do not exceed eight and physical distancing is maintained.

DAY BY DAY UPDATE

From Friday 3 July, people will be able to travel for more than five miles for leisure or recreation – although that restriction will remain in force in parts of south west Scotland, where a cluster of cases has been identified.

The use of self-contained holiday accommodation – such as cottages, lodges and caravans with no shared services – will also be allowed, along with second homes.

Children under the age of 12 will no longer have to follow distancing rules when meeting other children or adults outdoors.

Those aged 12 to 17 will still need to obey distancing rules, but there will no longer be a limit on the number of different groups they can meet during a day.

Children in both age groups will still be restricted to meeting outside in groups of up to eight people from no more than three households.

On Monday 6 July, pubs and restaurants will be able to open outdoor spaces, such as beer gardens.

People will be able to meet in extended groups outdoors, and meet a maximum of two other households indoors, from Friday 10 July.

The wearing of face coverings will become mandatory in shops.

While the government’s advice remains that people should continue to follow the two metre physical distancing rules, some exemptions will be possible for shops, pubs, restaurants and public transport.

The distance could be reduced to one metre if other steps are taken, such as installing perspex screens and enhanced ventilation.

Non-essential shops inside shopping centres will be able to reopen on Monday 13 July.

Children and young people will also be allowed to play organised outdoor contact sports from the same date.

Dentists will be able to see patients for routine treatment, and optometrists can begin to scale up work.

Hairdressers and barbers will be able to reopen – with enhanced hygiene measures – on Wednesday 15 July.

Pubs and restaurants will also be able to open on that date, although Ms Sturgeon said this would be on “a limited basis” and subject to several conditions.

All holiday accommodation will be able to open, as will museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments and libraries.

The first minister has said “further consideration and assessment” is needed on some of the other steps planned for phase three, and it is unlikely that they would take effect before 23 July.

These will cover indoor entertainment such as nightclubs, bingo, theatres, and music venues; indoor and outdoor live events; communal worship; indoor gyms; and restrictions on attending weddings and funerals.

They also include the reopening of non-essential offices and call centres, and the phased return of universities and colleges.

Schools have already been told to prepare for pupils to resume full-time study from 11 August.

WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW

Since the start of phase two, people from up to three households have been able to meet outdoors in groups of up to eight people.

Those who are shielding are now able to go outdoors for exercise, including non-contact activities such as golf, and meet people from one other household.

People who live on their own, or only with children under 18, can form one extended household group – which cannot include anyone who is shielding.

Face coverings are now mandatory on buses, trains, trams, planes, taxis and private hire cabs, as well as enclosed areas on ferries.

Dentists can see patients with urgent care needs and places of worship have reopened – but only for individual prayer, not communal worship.

Stores of all sizes are now able to reopen – but only if they have outdoor entrances and exits. Outdoor markets can also open, as can outdoor sports courts and playgrounds, zoos and garden attractions.

While non-essential offices and call centres must remain closed, factories, laboratories and warehouses can reopen – subject to strict physical distancing, hygiene and health and safety guidance.

Marriages and civil partnerships are now allowed outdoors, with limited numbers, and registration offices can reopen for essential business.

And professional sport has been allowed to resume, but only behind closed doors.

IF YOU ARE TRAVELLING – WHAT CAN YOU DO ELSEWHERE IN THE UK

This will take effect in England from 4 July.

Restaurants, pubs and cafes will be allowed to reopen, as will holiday accommodation – including hotels, B&Bs, cottages, campsites and caravan parks.

Hairdressers will also be able to reopen, as libraries, community centres, bingo halls, cinemas, museums, galleries, funfairs and theme parks, children’s play parks and amusement arcades.

Nightclubs and casinos remain closed, along with bowling alleys, spas, swimming pools, indoor gyms and soft play centres – and theatres and concert halls will not be able to host live performances.

Northern Ireland allowed holiday accommodation can reopen for business from 26 June, and pubs and restaurants can open on 3 July. A decision is expected in Wales early next month.

Two households of any size will be able to meet indoors or outside in England from 4 July, and people from multiple households can meet outdoors in groups of up to six.

Any number of people from two different households can now meet outdoors in Wales, while groups of up to six people who are not in the same household can meet outdoors in Northern Ireland.

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