PANDEMIC UPDATE DECEMBER 2021

 

Message from Dr Alexie Zimmermann

Dear Woolstone Patients,

We feel it is important to write to you as our patients and reflect on what we are seeing.  We are all facing a third wave of Covid, we have had 118 positive tests this week in our patients, which is a huge increase on an average of 25 positive tests a week.

In Lewisham one surgery has already had to shut its doors due to staff sickness. As a practice we want to maintain a high level of service to you as our patients.  Our doors will remain open unless we are put into a National Lockdown.

Our doctors and nurses will be telephone triaging and then booking you in for a face-to-face appointment if this is needed.  If you receive a text questionnaire prior to your face-to-face appointment about Covid symptoms please fill it in.

We sincerely ask that when entering the surgery that you wear a mask and alcogel your hands.  We will be aiming for those in our waiting room to adhere to strict social distancing and if you are able we would encourage you to wait outside if the waiting room is full.

We thank you for helping us to continue to care for you.

Dr Zimmermann, Dr Babu and the Woostone Team

 

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O is for Omicron 

O-day in this case stands for the Omicron variant.  The current expectation, as I am sure you have heard, is for a significant expansion in patient numbers for hospitalisation and unfortunately, more deaths from this variant as we move towards January 2022 and beyond.  It is for this reason we wanted to explain how we see things continuing to work at Woolstone Medical Centre, in order to provide as much protection for you and our staff as we seek to provide you with the most effective service we can.

It has been a very difficult time for all of us, and many of you have not wanted to come to the practice for non-serious ailments because of the potential risk of catching the virus, and consequently there is a large backlog of queries and demand for appointments - in some cases, 18 months’ worth.  Many of you have been required to isolate, and is also the case for some of our staff, further increasing pressure on colleagues.  There are other pressures as we enter the main holiday period, and we have staff who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic who together with their families also need a break. 

Over the past few months, we have been inviting patients to have their Covid booster jab as this provides better protection from having had just the first two.  If you have had a reminder to book your jab then please book using the link provided on the text message or If you cannot make it to our local vaccination hub, please visit the National Booking Website (https://bit.ly/Aplos-BookCovid) to book your jab.

We will be running a clinic on Tuesday 28th December 2021 at Sydenham Green Group Practice.  The expectation is to book as many people as possible by the end of December and through January and get them jabbed with the Booster Covid Shot to alleviate the mounting pressure caused by Omicron.

 

The main advice continues to be:

  • Ensure you are Booster vaccinated as soon as possible

  • Still wash your hands frequently

  • Keep fresh air circulating

  • Wear a mask while visiting the practice

 

With a double vaccine and Booster jab you are still not guaranteed not to catch Covid, it is just that the effects should largely be reduced, and likely to prevent hospitalisation. 

 

Remember… there is currently NO SUCH THING AS GUARANTEED 100% IMMUNITY

 

We would respectfully request you wear a mask when coming to the practice to protect our staff and other patients.  If we as a surgery fall ill, then we cannot open our doors, answer the phone or help with prescription requests or queries from our patients.

 

If you do have an exemption, please make sure that it is clearly on view to avoid any mis-communication when you attend.

 

Depending on the weather, we may ask you to wait outside the building until your appointment time.  This is to protect you as well as your fellow patients waiting in the reception area and practice staff working.

 

From now until further notice, we will be reverting back to a telephone triage system whereby the receptionist will request why you need to see or speak to the doctor.  The doctor will then call you back during their clinic. 

 

Only if the doctor determines that you need to be seen will they arrange a face-2-face appointment for you.

 

There have been complaints that we have not answered the phone quickly enough, or that appointments have gone too quickly.  Please be assured that we are doing everything in our power to prevent queues but can only do this with your help.

 

There will be some limited waiting space inside, but depending on numbers, some may be required to wait outside.

 

Only together can we combat this disease and therefore we are asking for all patients to continue to wear a mask when attending the surgery.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience during this pandemic period, but also to remind you that an appointment is for the main item that concerns you.  You may have more than one, but we ask you to prioritise what is most urgent. There are just 10 minutes for your doctor’s appointment and a lot to get through in that time, so attending to your main issue is the priority.

 

We do frequently review our appointment structure and make changes where it seems appropriate, but please bear with us as we move through the busier than usual winter period.  We will continue to do our best for you, and hope that will suffice. 

 

We would like to take this opportunity to Wish all our patients a Happy, Healthy and Safe Christmas and New Year! 

 

Kind regards

 

Stuart Hall

Practice Manager

 

20 December 2021

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