Raising awareness of Long COVID & support available
Long COVID has been identified as a significant challenge for patients following exposure to the virus and affects individuals differently based on a number of factors including underlying disease, age of patients, e.g., children, living in areas of deprivation and whether or not patients were admitted to hospital or Intensive Care Units (ITU)
It appears that there is likely to be an ongoing challenge for healthcare organisations and services to manage Long COVID as emerging evidence suggests a significant long-term burden among those experiencing prolonged symptoms.
Although there is no specific treatment for Long COVID, there is a range of resources such as online help, complementary therapies & healthcare support to assist people to manage symptoms effectively.
Long COVID (Post Covid Syndrome)
Long COVID usually presents with clusters of symptoms, often overlapping, which may change over time and can affect any system within the body. Many people with Long COVID may also experience generalised pain, fatigue, persisting high temperature and psychiatric problems.
‘Long COVID’ is a commonly used term to describe:
- Ongoing symptomatic COVID-19: signs and symptoms of COVID-19 from 4 to 12 weeks.
- Post-COVID-19 syndrome: signs and symptoms that develop during or after COVID-19 and continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.
General practice plays a key role in supporting patients, both adults and children, with long term symptoms of COVID-19. This includes assessing, diagnosing, referring where necessary and providing longer term holistic support of patients.
Workforce education and training has taken place on how to identify, assess and manage Long COVID in patients.
Following patient assessment with a GP and relevant tests being completed, if ongoing symptomatic COVID-19 is diagnosed (from 4 weeks after infection), patients may be offered the following:
Your COVID Recovery website
Signposting to self-management support including the online platform Your COVID Recovery (YCR) Phase 1 https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk
Other local rehabilitation or support services
Supported self-management from the practice or primary care network team; this may include input from social prescribers, health / wellbeing coaches and care coordinators with linking into community groups or other existing community services as appropriate.
Post COVID assessment clinics
Referral into a Post COVID assessment clinic if self-management alone is not appropriate and if further investigations or support are required.
5-11 year old covid vaccines
If you have already received a letter notifying you that your Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) 5-11 year-old is eligible for a vaccine, your child will be on a waiting list for the next clinic being run by our local Primary Care Network. The next clinic is due to take place on Sunday 24th April. If you would like your child vaccinated before that date, please follow the directions below.
If you would like a vaccination for a non-CEV 5-11 year old, Lister House in Harlow are already advertising that they are taking this cohort. Harlow Leisurezone are due to start from 4th April.
Please follow this link to find your most convenient walk-in vaccination centre, paying particular attention to the notes on what age group each site can see.
Walk-in coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination sites near cm21 0bb - Find a walk-in coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination site (www.nhs.uk)
Following the COVID-19 booster announcement from the Prime Minister on Sunday 12 December 2021, all GP practices and pharmacies are working to provide vaccinations for all eligible adults aged over 18 in line with national timeframes.
We need to free-up staff to deliver this vaccination programme so we have to prioritise GP services and pause some routine healthcare appointments. We will continue to deliver patient care and will focus our support on those most in need as outlined below.
If you have an appointment booked with us please assume that this is going ahead and attend as planned. We will contact you if we need to change your appointment: you do not need to contact us.
Still here for you when you need us most
While we need to pause some routine services, there are some things that we know cannot wait. Please continue to contact us if you (or someone you care for)
- have a serious or urgent health concern that you need to speak to someone about today;
- have worrying symptoms that could be a sign of cancer and need investigating;
- have been contacted about booking cervical and other screening or immunisations;
- have a complex long-term condition that you need ongoing help with;
- have a serious mental illness and need support;
- have a learning disability and need medical help.
For all other things we would encourage you to seek help in other ways as described below.
Accessing our services
If phone lines are busy, please use our online form to seek help.
When contacting us please tell us as much as you can about what’s wrong so that help direct you to the healthcare professional best suited for your health care needs which might be a GP, nurse or another specialist such as a physiotherapist, pharmacist or paramedic. The information you provide will also help us to prioritise your care if it’s something urgent.
Our priority will be to ensure you receive care quickly and might offer you an telephone, video or face-to-face appointment, arrange a home visit or refer you to another service.
Other sources of help
There are a number of ways to get health advice and care if you, a family member or a friend feel ill.
- Visit the NHS website – for advice and information on how to look after yourself and your family. It covers thousands of illnesses and conditions: www.nhs.uk
- Visit a pharmacist – for expert advice and low-cost medicines to ease your symptoms and help treat your condition. Pharmacists are trained to spot worrying symptoms that require urgent medical help. Every area has a late opening pharmacy and most have consulting rooms where you can ask for advice in private. Go to www.nhs.uk to find your nearest open pharmacist.
- Visit www.111.nhs.uk or call 111 – for free, round the clock help when your GP is closed, when it’s an urgent but not a life-threatening 999 situation, or if you are unsure where to go to get the right help for your medical condition. You can telephone 111 to get straight through to mental health advice.
Please DO NOT call the surgery about arranging a covid vaccine or booster as we cannot assist, all housebound patients have previously been contacted by our team to organise vaccination.
You can book a vaccination through the national booking service website or go to the Healthier Future website to check your eligibility for a vaccination, see answers to frequently asked questions, or find out about walk-in appointments.
We will continue to provide home visits, where necessary, for housebound patients who need to be see in person and who have no other alternative due to immobility or very serious ongoing health conditions.
Housebound patients are a priority for COVID-19 boosters. If you haven’t yet heard from us please be reassured that we will contact you to make an appointment as soon as we can.
PANORAMIC - National Study for UK's most vulnerable people to receive lifesaving COVID-19 treatments in the community
Thousands of the UK’s most vulnerable people will be among the first in the world to access lifesaving, cutting-edge antiviral and antibody treatments, the government has announced.
A national study called PANORAMIC, run by the University of Oxford in close collaboration with GP hubs, has now launched and is recruiting around 10,000 UK patients at risk of serious illness from COVID-19 to have the opportunity to take the treatment molnupiravir at home after receiving a positive PCR test.
Those at highest risk who test positive for the virus – for example, people who are immunocompromised, cancer patients or those with Down’s syndrome – will also be able to access either molnupiravir or the novel monoclonal antibody Ronapreve outside of the study from 16 December 2021.
Click on the link below for more information:
Please DO NOT call the surgery about arranging a covid vaccine or booster as we cannot assist.
How to access your COVID-19 vaccination status
Through the NHS App
You can access your COVID-19 vaccination status through the free NHS App from 17 May. You can access the app through mobile devices such as a smartphone or tablet. Proof of your COVID-19 vaccination status will be shown within the NHS App. We recommend that you register with the app before booking international travel.
By calling 119
If you do not have access to a smartphone and know that the country you are travelling to requires COVID-19 vaccination status, you can call the NHS helpline on 119 (from 17 May) and ask for a letter to be posted to you. This must be at least 5 working days after you’ve completed your course of the vaccine. We expect the letter to take up to 5 working days to reach you.
The letter will be sent automatically to the address registered with your GP. The 119 call handler you speak to will not be able to see your address to check this with you. If you’ve recently moved house, make sure you’ve given your new address to your GP practice before calling 119.
Recording overseas COVID vaccinations in the National Booking Service
Some patients are contacting us asking about getting overseas vaccinations recorded. This is not something that practices can do themselves.
Eligible patients can now book a face-to-face appointment via the National Booking system at a selected vaccination centre to show evidence of MHRA-approved COVID-19 vaccinations administered abroad and have them recorded in the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS).
Support is also provided through 119 to signpost the service, or to make bookings on behalf of users.
More information is provided when patients book an appointment. Any patients contacting our practice about this service, will be directed to contact 119 as we cannot assist any further.
Will doses of the covid-19 vaccine received overseas appear on the patient’s NHS App?
The NHS App only promises to be a proof of vaccines delivered in England for those aged 16 years plus, available 2 weeks after having a full course of the vaccine. These won’t be on the ‘COVID-19 Pass’ section of the NHS App, but should appear on the ‘Your health’ section under ‘acute short-term medicines’ if they are added to the patient record.
What if patients don’t have a phone or tablet and want to travel overseas?
Patients can request a letter via the https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-pass/get-your-covid-pass-letter/ or by calling 119.
What if the patient doesn’t have the NHS App or an NHS number?
It is not possible for vaccination status to be recorded on the NHS App if a patient does not have an nhs number. Patients without an nhs number can register with a GP practice, receive an NHS number and subsequently use the NHS app.
Alternatively, a vaccination letter can be requested via https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/covid-status-letter/ or by calling the 119 (COVID-19 Vaccination Status) service. However, it will require the recipient to register with a GP which is explained via the link. If the patient does not wish to register with a GP practice, they will have their vaccination card as physical proof.
Do not contact your GP surgery about your COVID-19 vaccination status. GPs cannot provide letters showing your COVID-19 vaccination status.
In recognition of our COVID 19 Vaccination work in Bridging the Health Inequality Gap for all patients on our Learning Disability Register, we have recently been awarded the 'purple strategy certificate'
Hilary Gardener the Strategic Liaison Nurse for Primary Health at Hertfordshire County Council contacted us to advise:
Your passion, drive and commitment to overcoming barriers through using person centred reasonable adjustments to be able to successfully vaccinate these people is commendable and an example to everyone.
- Provided that person centred approach to overcome the barriers
- Provided the necessary reasonable adjustments
- Successfully vaccinated to date over 100% of your learning disability patients !!!!
Thank you so much for taking the time and understanding to achieve such a fantastic success rate. Those people who are reluctant to have the vaccine are the ones who would be likely to equally struggle with the complying with treatment if they did contract COVID19 and required hospitalisation. So every vaccine achieved in this patient group truly is one that has potentially saved a life and that is down to the team work of everyone involved in the planning, supporting and delivering of the vaccines
Good luck with achieving the same success with the second dose over the coming weeks.
Links to educational materials re Long Covid - raising awareness:
Your COVID recovery: https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/
Question: Does the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine cause blood clots?
Answer: Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon. Reports of blood clots received so far are not greater than the number that we would normally expect to see amongst the groups of the population who have been vaccinated. People should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.
More than 11 million doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine have now been administered across the UK. Vaccine safety is of paramount importance and the regulatory agency, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) continually monitors the safety of vaccines in the UK.
For more information and a statement from the MHRA, see this link.
For more information please visit: COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Covid-19 Vaccination and Pregnancy
Please click here for more information about receiving the Covid-19 vaccination during pregnancy.
April 2021 - If you are pregnant, it is now advised that you take up the offer of a vaccination if you are eligible to do so -for example, you are a health or social care worker, or you live with someone who is immunosuppressed. Contact our GP practice so that we can help to arrange this at a suitable vaccination centre.
Covid-19 vaccine easy read leaflet:
COVID VACCINATION SCAM
Neighbourhood watches have been alerted to a highly believable scam which starts with a text and advises the user that they are eligible to apply for the COVID vaccine and to click on the link in the text message. The user is then led to a webpage, which looks very convincing and asks them to complete some details, in order for them to be able to apply for the vaccine.
The details asked for:
- Date of birth
- Proof of address
- Card payment details
With the recent approval of multiple vaccines in the UK, these types of scam attempts are likely to continue, as fraudsters continue to take advantage of the rollout to some many people. Patients will never be asked to pay for a COVID vaccination.
Stopping Coronavirus from Spreading : What you can do to help.
Click here to read the government guidance on how to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
How to wear and make a cloth face covering
NHS Diabetes Advice helpline
NHS England and NHS Improvement have launched a new helpline in response to disruption to normal diabetes services due to the COVID-19 pandemic and response.
The service is for adults living with diabetes who use insulin to manage their condition and require immediate clinical advice.
Whether you or a member of your household have caught the virus, or routine care has been disrupted, the helpline is available for immediate clinical advice to help you understand how to effectively manage their diabetes.
You can access NHS Diabetes Advice via Diabetes UK’s support line on 0345 123 2399 Monday-Friday from 9am-6pm.
COVID-19 Research - Help the fight against COVID-19
Join a COVID-19 clinical trial - The PRINCIPLE Trial
The PRINCIPLE trial aims to find treatments that reduce hospital Admission and improve symptoms for people with COVID-19. You could be eligible to join if & self refer through the trial website if:
You have had these symptoms for fewer than 15 days:
- a continuous new or worsening cough
You are aged 50 to 64 with a pre-existing illness:
- High blood pressure and/ or heart disease
- Diabetes not treated with insulin
- Asthma or lung disease
- Weakened immune system due to serious illness or medication (e.g. chemotherapy).
- Stroke or neurological problems
- Liver disease
- You are aged 65 and above
Find out more via www.principletrial.org
Apply for a coronavirus test:
Advice for parents during coronavirus
Whilst coronavirus is infectious to children it is rarely serious. If your child is unwell it is likely to be a non-coronavirus illness, rather than coronavirus itself.
Click here to download helpful advice for parents
Easy Read Coronavirus Resources
Coronavirus / COVID-19 Privacy Notice
Click here for our COVID-19 Privacy Notice
Patients ‘at risk’, requesting letters from the GP
The government has already written to the VERY high-risk group, advising they isolate for 3 months at home and do not go out.
This was taken from a national database and we are awaiting further guidance from NHS England in relation to any other searches being run to identify more patients who fit the VERY high-risk criteria that may have slipped the net. The practice will be instructed by NHS England when these letters can be sent out.
In the interim, patients will need to make their own decisions with regard to self-isolating etc.
If patients have any problems with collecting medication, shopping, isolation contact the relevant village volunteer group ‘Operation CommUNITY’.
0300 123 4044
Age UK Herts
0300 345 3446
Citizens Advice Bureau
Important information about the coronavirus (COVID-19)
Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms
Read the NHS advice about staying at home.
Use the 111 coronavirus service
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
Information is available at gov.uk/coronavirus and https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19
Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact.
A person can also be infected by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.
The risk of being in close contact with a person with coronavirus or contaminated surfaces is very low at the current time.
Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:
Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict guidelines. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals and returned home also in isolation.
Any equipment that comes into contact with suspected cases are thoroughly cleaned as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others
In light of current concerns relating to the Coronavirus outbreak & to ensure patient / staff safety, we have temporarily suspended the online booking system for appointments.
Staff will now triage patient’s symptoms prior to any appointments being made. Please attend appointments on your own if possible. If you require assistance, please limit this to one person as questions relating to Coronavirus, will be asked at the time of booking & are applicable to all attending the appointment with you. Providing false or misleading information is against legislation and you will therefore be committing an offence for which you could be prosecuted.
Due to high patient contact levels, should our telephone lines 01279 594450 be busy, patients are able to email us via Parsonageadmin@nhs.net
Our website will be regularly updated with information relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Silver Line - helpline for older people
Need help? Call Silver Line ANYTIME on: 0800 4 70 80 90
The Silver Line is the only free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Please visit https://www.thesilverline.org.uk
Sexual and reproductive health help during COVID-19
Hertfordshire County Council has produced some useful guides to help support people who have been bereaved in these challenging times. There are versions for adults, parents and carers and young people, as well as an easy read version for adults and young people with additional needs.
Guides can be viewed or downloaded from www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/coronavirusbereavement