Covid and flu vaccine updates
Yesterday, at the same time as you, we learnt the governments intentions for future COVID management plans, including updates to the COVID vaccine programme.
The two key updates for the vaccine programme are regarding the offer of vaccinations to all 12-15 year olds and the COVID booster programme.
Re the 12-15 year old COVID vaccination: NHS England have confirmed that the 12-15 vaccine programme should be delivered in school settings wherever possible and that provision will be made available for those children aged 12-15 who are not in mainstream education by the local school aged immunisation service. As such there is no need to call us to book an appointment. The government hopes to have given or booked a vaccination for all children by the October 2021 half term.
Re the COVID booster programme: We are working with our existing COVID vaccine partners, Alliance for Better Care (ABC), who run the Clair Hall site to get this up and running as soon as possible. A number of national level agreements need to be made, such as the legal direction to give the boosters, an update to the invitation system and an update to the national IT system to record the vaccination event before we can start this programme. We are fortunate to have a very well trained team at Clair Hall, so once all these updates are made we will get invites out to you. Please note that the COVID booster guidance states that we can only offer the booster to people who had their second dose of COVID vaccine at least six months ago. As such the invites will be phased, much in the same way as the initial COVID vaccine doses were phased.
We are planning to commence our flu vaccine campaign in early October (we had a two week vaccine delivery delay unfortunately) and will be offering appointments in practice. We are also working with our ABC partners to see if we can co-deliver both COVID and flu vaccines together at Clair Hall should you wish to do so, but do remember you might not get your COVID booster invite for several weeks due to the six month limitation.
Again we ask you not to ring us to find out when your flu or COVID vaccine will be, we won't forget you and you won't miss out.
Thank you for all your great support at this complex and exceptional time.
All the team at MSHC
GP Shortage notice
Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances we have a reduced number of GPs available for the next few weeks which will significantly affect the services we can provide. We are extremely sorry and we ask you to bear with us during this short term problem.
Fewer GPs means you may need to wait a little longer for a routine appointment or you may be offered an appointment with another member of our team. We hope you understand that it is important to ensure that patients with urgent health care needs are still seen, despite the reduce number of GPs.
When you contact us for an appointment our reception team will use a professional guided process called Care Navigation to help decide with you which professional from our team would be best suited to help you with your problem. We are very lucky to have a multi-disciplinary team including our Nurses, Care Co-ordinators, Social Care Prescribers, Physiotherapist and Pharmacists who all work alongside our GPs, and will be here to provide their usual support during this time.
Our reception team will try to help you with your problem as best they can and we thank you in advance for your patience.
The Mid Sussex Health Care Team
Vaccinations for under 18s update August 2021
Please follow the link below to read the information regarding vaccinations for under 18s.
National Blood Testing Equipment Shortage August 2021
NHS has advised us of a global shortage of some equipment used for taking blood tests. This means that all NHS Services are having to suspend non urgent blood tests at this time. The surgery has been provided with guidance and criteria that clinicians have been asked to follow. This may result in blood tests being deferred until blood testing equipment is at an acceptable level. You may be contacted by the surgery if you already have an appointment that requires a blood test that is now classed as non-urgent.
Given the nature of the shortage, we cannot give an exact date for when the test will be rescheduled, but please be assured that if your condition or symptoms require it, then you will get a test, and we will be re-booking your test when supplies become more easily available.
The criteria for urgent blood tests is as follows:
- Blood tests required to facilitate a two-week rule referral
- Blood tests that are extremely overdue and/or are essential for safe prescribing of medication or monitoring of a medical condition
- Blood tests which if taken could avoid a hospital admission or an onward referral
- Blood tests for those patients with suspected sepsis or other conditions with a risk of death or disability.
If your condition or symptoms change or get worse, please contact the NHS as you would normally
we wanted let you know that we will continue to require all visitors to our practice sites to wear a face mask and maintain social distancing.
Thank you for your help in making sure the most vulnerable in our community are protected.
All the team at MSHC.
Patients with 'viral' symptoms
We are in contact with quite a few patients now who are presenting to us with 'viral' symptoms: sore throats, headaches, runny nose and earaches most commonly. If you have these symptoms and you also happen to have a cough, a high temperature (37.8c or more) or altered smell or taste then you still have to assume you might have COVID.
You need to follow the 'blue advice' below: Self isolate and arrange a formal lab based PCR test. The home lateral flow tests you have are not good enough sadly.
You can still call us and if we need to, we will see you but you don't need to wait to contact us before arranging the PCR test and the earlier you get the test the less time you will have to self isolate.
Thank you for working with us on this.
All the team at MSHC
The only info you need re Covid passports is here:
No one should ever charge you money to prove your COVID vaccine status.
P.S. you are all amazing for getting your vaccines done - one of the best vaccine uptake areas in the country (and therefore the world). Helping yourself helps us all.
Walk in Clinics
More walk in clinics - https://abcltd.org.uk/covid-vaccination-programme/walk-in-clinics/
We are receiving lots of calls from patients asking us about their referrals. Once we send a referral off to the hospital or other provider we do not get notified of when the appointment will be and do not have any control over these bookings. If you want to find out how long the wait will be or other queries please contact the provider directly on the numbers attached to the link below.
We know it is unsettling and difficult to not know when your appointment will be but we don't have any influence over appointments and don't have any special access to finding out. All we can do is ring the same numbers you can.
We are working with the local health authority (West Sussex CCG) to find ways to get you more information and ideally better access to clinics and appointments.
Thanks for your understanding.
News that General Practices will open their doors again
You may by now have seen the welcome news that General Practice has been told that it can soon open its doors again and offer routine face to face appointments.
We received this letter last night, here:
To summarise: our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) has not yet been changed by the NHS leadership team so for now we will be following the existing SOP which is still in power.
We will transfer to the new ways of working as soon as practicable, but until then we will be offering triage by phone first for all medical queries.
We plan to offer patients a choice of appointment type - many people prefer a telephone call consultation - whilst also ensuring we keep all our patients and staff safe.
We will update our website when the SOP changes and look forward to working in a more traditional way.
See you soon!
The partners at MSHC
Contacting Mid Sussex Health Care
If you need to book an appointment with a GP you will be given a phone call appointment initially where a GP will assess your symptoms over the phone and if you need a face to face appointment they will arrange a time for you to come in.
We are receiving large volumes of calls every day and are trying to answer them as quickly as possible. We have a designated phone room based in Hurstpierpoint which takes calls for all of our sites, where we have 6-8 staff answering your calls from 8.30-6pm, our staff will ask you for some information regarding what the appointment is for in order to be able to make your appointment with the right clinician, if you do not wish to share this you can let them know it is private.
If you are on hold when you call us please be patient and wait while we try to answer your call.
There are alternate ways to contact us
- Book online via our website https://www.midsussexhealthcare.co.uk/online-services
- Send in an econsultation request https://midsussexhealthcare.webgp.com/
- Use the NHS app https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/online-services/nhs-app/
- Download the LIVI app and access video consultation with a NHS GP. https://www.livi.co.uk/
- If your query is about Covid 19 vaccination appointments you can contact us on our designated phone line 01273 837981 This line is answered between 8:30-18:00 however there is a delay due to demand. If there is noone answering the phone, the answerphone will kick in and we will call patients back.
Taking a skin photo guidance MSHC
Patient Online Accesss - SystmOnline and Smartphone Apps
Patient Online Smartphone Apps
Please see links below to SystmOnline for patients smartphones and tablets (one for Apple and one for Android).
Apple iPhones and iPads: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/developer/tpp/id711398513
For Android devices: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=px.app.systmonline&hl=en_GB
Logging into Systm Online for the first time
You should have been given a username and temporary password by the receptionist after they have activated your account. You will need to log in to your new account before midnight in order to set a new password.
In order to log into your account you will need to go to the web address on your letter and then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the logo.
You will then be prompted to enter your username and password and should then be directed to update your password.
Should you have any problems logging in or forget your password at any time please bring photo ID to the reception desk and ask for a password reset.
NHS Health Checks
As a practice we have elected to not offer NHS Health Checks for 40-74 year olds because of the lack of evidence of benefit, and the risks of detecting 'illness' that would not cause any harm. The recent Cochrane review of 14 trials (with 182,880 participants) demonstrates this clearly, and includes an excellent plain language summary.
Furthermore, we believe this to be a waste of public resources, not targeting the population who stand to benefit the most. Please read the Cochrane review link above for an explanation of the science behind this decision.