COVID-19 INFORMATION

Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information and advice

Face Coverings Advice

Please see this information guide regarding Face Coverings.

 

Covid-19 Antibody Testing

The Government recently announced the introduction of a test to detect the presence of the Covid 19 antibody. It is not fully understood what a positive antibody test means in terms of immunity and future risk from COVID-19. At the moment, tests are only available for the purpose of increasing understanding of who has (or has not) had an immune response. There is little clinical benefit in knowing this information as the evidence so far does not show that having had the virus once provides immunity to prevent a patient getting the virus a second time. Hence it is extremely important that we all continue with the current approach of social distancing, hand washing, infection control procedures and so on. The test may be offered, if deemed appropriate, to those patients who are having a blood test for another clinical reason.

The antibody test is not currently being offered to the general population. Some patients have said that their employer has asked for the test to be undertaken before they return to work. This is not in line with current government guidance

Please find via the link, information in relation to the COVID- 19 World Pandemic that has been produced by Doctors Of The World available in 32 different languages:

Advice in different languages

Information for the public on the outbreak of coronavirus, including the current situation in the UK and information about the virus and its symptoms.

Corona Virus Frequently Asked Questions

Current Prescription Advice

Wellbeing Support

COVID Symptom Tracker - Take 1 minute to report your health daily, even if you're well

Advice for parents during coronavirus

Frequently Asked Questions - Vulnerable Patients

 

Important information about the coronavirus (COVID-19)

The NHS across Suffolk will be better prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases, if the public follows Public Health England advice.

The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of patients and staff which may mean your patient experience is subject to change.

 The Chief Medical Officer announced on Friday 13 March that the country is moving into the ‘Delay’ stage of the response to coronavirus (Covid-19).

 The new advice issued by the Chief Medical Officer is to stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature or
  • a new continuous cough

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or a hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Stay At Home Advice can be found on the NHS website.

For the latest Covid-19 advice please watch the following video created by Dr Havard.

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.

Information remains subject to regular change and updates. More information can be found on the NHS website.

 

Coronavirus and requests for Doctor’s Notes (Med3)

The Government’s rules around issuing a sick note (Med3) are that a medical professional can only issue a Med3 when an individual has had more than seven continuous calendar days off sick due to an illness (including weekends).

For any period of illness less than seven days, you are able to complete a self-certification certificate and provide this to your employer. In the unlikely event that your employer does not accept a self-certification then your doctor may be able to issue a private sick note for which you may get charged.

In light of the current Coronavirus situation, it is inevitable that a number of employees may be required to quarantine themselves at home for example due to the nature of recent travel, even in the absence of any symptoms of an illness.  In these cases, your GP will not be abIe to issue a sick note as the time off work is not due to an illness, and isn’t affecting your ability to work, but rather is a precaution to avoid transmission of any illness that is yet to produce symptoms.

We therefore expect your employer to be sympathetic if you are required to self-isolate for 14 days and to understand that the reason for this is to protect the welfare of your work colleagues and the wider community. We understand that you may also be able to call NHS 111 to request an email confirmation of the suspected Coronavirus diagnosis, to show to your employer if needed.

Whilst we appreciate this may cause some difficulties between you and your employer, equally GPs have a responsibility to prioritise the assessment and management of the healthcare needs of patients who are acutely unwell, rather than spending time dealing with requests for sick notes, particularly when they aren’t in a position to issue one.

Also, for children taking time off school, there is no NHS requirement for GPs to provide letters to the school to confirm this. As I am sure you will appreciate, with the rapidly evolving Coronavirus situation, and the already existing pressures on GPs to meet the day to day demands from ill patients, the practice is unable to accommodate a school request for a GP letter. We hope that schools will work with parents to ensure any time off is appropriately recorded, obviating the need for a doctor’s note.  This briefing has been written for and on behalf of your GP surgery, so please accept this as a reply to your request for a sick note/letter from the surgery.

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