The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is exhausting and difficult for all of us. The news of the latest lockdown will increase anxiety for some people, but we know that it is vital for us all to follow the rules to protect us all and especially to keep the most vulnerable people we care about safe. The team at St Peters Medical Centre want to do everything that we can to continue to look after our community and to help you through this
We will be starting vaccinations very soon, and will be in touch as soon as we can with appointments. Please do not ring us, as you will be contacted as soon as appointments are able to be booked for people in your priority group. The government have given us very clear guidelines for the order that we have to vaccinate in and we have to follow these rules. The priority groups are:
1. Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
2. All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
3. All those 75 years of age and over
4. All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
5. All those 65 years of age and over
6. All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions, which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
7. All those 60 years of age and over
8. All those 55 years of age and over
9. All those 50 years of age and over
It is estimated that taken together, these groups represent around 99% of preventable mortality from COVID-19.
We want to reassure you that we are still open throughout lockdown, although we need to speak to everyone on the telephone first. We are also doing video consultations and we always arrange a face-to-face examination if someone needs a physical examination or has complex mental health difficulties that make video or phone consultation challenging. During the first lockdown, some people delayed coming to see us, and as a result, they had serious illnesses diagnosed later than normal. Please do ring us if you are unwell, and especially if you have any of the following symptoms
- Unexplained weight loss
- A new lump
- Rectal bleeding or persistent change in bowel habit
- A mole that is changing
- Persistent hoarse voice or cough
- Blood in your urine
The practice has taken steps to mitigate the risk of transmission of Covid19 in the building as much as possible, with masks and social distancing in the waiting room and other measures. We will soon also be doing twice weekly testing for all staff to make sure no one with an asymptomatic infection comes to work here without realising it. All of these measures mean that if you do have to come to the practice then we can keep you and our staff safe
Lockdown and Covid has had a huge impact on mental health.
There is free access to talking therapy at the Brighton Wellbeing Service (https://www.brightonandhovewellbeing.org/) and advice on community support at Community Roots (https://www.communityroots.org.uk/).
If you are struggling there is also 24/7 help from the Sussex Mental Health line (https://www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk/sussex-mental-healthline).
For anyone developing problems with alcohol or drugs the Change Grow Live can provide support (https://www.changegrowlive.org/brighton-hove-recovery-service/info).
Our patient participation group recently organised a webinar where Dr Claire Bowmer and Dr Rebecca Jarvis talked about mental health in the pandemic – you can find this on our website https://www.stpetersmedicalcentre.co.uk/health-and-wellbeing-advice-2
There is good international evidence that concentrating on the Five Ways to mental health can help all of us stay well
- Connect – if you are lucky enough to live with someone or have a pet then remember to take time with him or her. If you live on your own send a text, write a letter or phone someone you know. Alternatively, if you go out for your exercise or to the shop then smile at the person serving you. You can also connect with the world outside just by watching a travel documentary – but avoid checking the news more than once a day
- Learn – This doesn’t have to be formal study – learn a new recipe or a new route to the shop, or do a Sudoku or puzzle
- Be Active – the NHS website has exercises for people who are housebound and chair bound, and we love Joe Wicks and Yoga with Adrienne on You Tube as well as the couch to 5k app
- Take Notice- Look at the sky out of your window, and there is always something to look at outside in Brighton – even in lockdown. But also notice your body and your feelings
- Give – this can be as simple as giving a smile or. things that you have managed to do
Try to do these each week if you can
Stay safe and be kind – to yourself and others. We need to look after ourselves before we look after others, as you cannot pour from an empty cup.
We are the NHS and we are here for you
Vaccinations for COVID-19
We are delighted to inform you that we have found a central location at Brighton Racecourse for the practices in our Primary Care Network..
Our go-live date should be on Thursday 14 January and you will be contacted if you are in the initial groups to be invited. We will shortly have more information where health and social care workers will be able to receive their vaccinations. Please do not contact us at the surgery as our team will not be carrying out the appointment booking process. You will hear from us if you are housebound. Please click here for frequently asked questions.
COVID-19 vaccination scam alert
We are aware that some patients are receiving fraudulent calls and text messages offering the COVID-19 vaccination. In some cases, people are asked to press a number on their keypad or to send a text message to confirm they wish to receive the vaccine. Doing so is likely to result in a charge being applied to their phone bill. In other cases, callers are offering the vaccine for a fee or asking for bank details. We are working with community partners and the media to warn people to be alert to these scams.
The advice is that vaccine is only available from the NHS and the NHS will contact you when it is your turn. At present, appointments are only being offered to members of the public over 80 years old. If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Where the victim is vulnerable, report it to Sussex Police online or by calling 101.
IMPORTANT NEWS FOR FRONT LINE HEALTH AND CARE WORKERS (13 January 2021)
You are now able to book your covid vaccination appointment by clicking the link below:
Full details are at: www.sussexhealthandcare.uk/workforcevax
Appointments are available for all paid or employed health and care staff, including:
All NHS staff from primary (including general practice and general dental practice), community and secondary care
Staff of independent and third sector health and care providers, care and care home staff in public, private and not for profit sectors.
UPDATE FOR PATIENTS
You may receive a letter from the NHS about booking a vaccination at Brighton and Hove’s mass vaccination centre – the Brighton Centre. Your local designated site is at Brighton Racecourse which is going live on 14 January 2021 with appointments being booked over the coming days and weeks. You will receive a text to your mobile number with a link to book an appointment or a member of the booking team will be in touch over the phone. Please do not contact the practice as we are unable to schedule an appointment for you but please rest assured you will hear from the booking team shortly.
We are aware that you will have recently received a letter advising you of the mass vaccination site at the Brighton Centre. You are able to access either site that is most convenient to you. If you have already received a vaccine, please ignore this text.
Covid vaccine news story
The Government has asked the NHS to be ready to deliver a COVID-19 vaccination programme for England from December.
In Sussex, detailed planning is well progressed, building on the expertise the NHS has already in delivering immunisations like the annual flu vaccination programme. GP practices are working alongside community and hospital partners to plan what is needed and how a vaccination programme of this scale will be offered to our patients.
A priority in all our planning is to ensure that it is as easy as possible for eligible people to access a vaccination when they become available.
The NHS, working with partners, will deliver the vaccine through a network of locations, for example to vulnerable and housebound people in their own homes, at community clinics and at large scale centres. Eligibility for the vaccine will be prioritised by the Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, based on the latest evidence of vaccine effectiveness and clinical characteristics. The most recently published advice is that vaccines should first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people aged over 80 and health and social care workers, before being rolled out to the rest of the population in order of age and risk. A national public information campaign will start shortly. It will promote public understanding of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and provide more information about when and how you will be able to access a vaccine when one becomes available.
How can we help you?
If you think you might have coronavirus or you’ve been in close contact with someone who has it visit NHS 111 online coronavirus service for advice.
Well-being while staying at home
Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important while staying at home because of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Visit NHS Every Mind Matters for advice, practice advice and support groups.
If you cannot wait to see a doctor and feel unable to cope or keep yourself safe, it’s important to get support.
To stay fit and healthy whilst at home, try the NHS Home workout videos.
What are the differences between the Covid-19 tests?
Brighton & Hove Covid-19 Escalation Framework
Public Health have introduced a new escalation framework, using a traffic light system – from green to yellow, amber and red - to keep everyone in the city up to date about the current rate of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Brighton & Hove and how they can help to prevent the spread of infection.
Starting this week the city’s status will be updated weekly on a new Current Alert Level and Guidance web page.
We will also highlight groups and settings that are particularly affected so people can make extra efforts to reduce their risk.
I’m asking everyone to play their part and follow the guidance. To slow the virus we all need to step up physical distancing, wear face coverings where advised, limit contact between households and follow the ‘rule of six’ and also think ‘hands, space, face’ . Businesses also have a vital role to play by ensuring they are helping their customers to stay safe.