You may have seen in the news that people with certain health conditions will receive a letter from the NHS advising them to self-isolate for 12 weeks.
We have received a few questions from our patients about this and we hope the following information will be helpful.
If you are suffering from a new, continuous cough or have a high temperature then you should self-isolate for 7 days. Others in your household need to stay at home for 14 days; if they start to show symptoms they should self-isolate for 7 days from when the symptoms first started. For more advice please click on the following link:
High Risk Patients
People over the age of 70 or with some health conditions have been identified as being high risk and should practice social distancing. Typically these patients may have chronic conditions such as significant asthma, kidney disease, liver disease, COPD; the list includes all patients who are eligible for an NHS flu jab due to an underlying condition. This group of patients should not be confused with those classed as very high risk (see below). They will not receive a letter from the NHS or their GP, but are advised to follow social distancing measures. For a list of conditions included in this group and for information regarding how to social distance please click on this link:
Very High Risk Patients
The following patients are classed as being at very high risk and should self-isolate for 12 weeks:
Solid organ transplant recipients
People with specific cancers
People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell disease)
People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
People who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired
This initial list of patients was put together centrally by NHS England and a letter (or in some cases a text message) was sent to these patients. If you are one of these patients you will have received the letter or text by now. For this group of patients the surgery has received notification that you are on this list.
There is another group of patients who will be sent the letter by the hospital; this will probably be because you are taking a specific medication that was prescribed by the hospital (usually a certain type of immunosuppressant) or because you are undergoing a specific treatment, usually for certain types of cancers. At the moment the surgery does not have a way of knowing which patients have received these letters.
Finally, the GPs are in the process of identifying patients they believe to be at risk but who don’t fulfil the criteria to receive the letter from the NHS or the hospital.
The letter itself is the same, regardless of who sends it to you. It includes advice on how to self-isolate as well as links to services that are available to help you, such as food deliveries or help getting your regular medication. However, patients MUST be on a central database in order to be able to arrange the support.
If your GP sends you the letter there is currently no system in place to add you to the NHS database and we have been advised to wait until guidance has been released. This is expected soon.
If your GP has identified you as a very high risk patient they will write to you or send you a text message. The letter will be the same as what NHS England is sending centrally but there may be a delay in adding you to the database so you can receive the support mentioned in the letter.
If you do need some help in the meantime, there are some local voluntary initiatives that can direct you to the help you need to pick up shopping, collect prescriptions or just offer support and advice. These links are below should you need them.
Voluntary Action South West Surrey is coordinating volunteer efforts in Guildford and Waverley to provide support to anyone who is self-isolating or vulnerable.
a.Voluntary Action South West Surrey Volunteer Centre:
i.Phone 01483 565456
b.They will act as a central hub to help people who need it
c.Find out more on the Voluntary Action South West Surrey website
Surrey County Council have set up a new Community Helpline to direct you to services that can help during the coronavirus pandemic. This community phone line is here to help direct residents who need support, such as picking up shopping, prescription collections or having someone who can be a telephone friend, and to provide advice on where to register your offer of help to support your community
a.Community Helpline number is 0300 200 1008 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
b.If you need to contact Adult Social Care click here.
c.If you need to contact Children's Social Care including Surrey Children's Single Point of Access click here.
If you are a carer, Action for Carers have can offer you advice in the following ways:
a. Phone 0303 040 1234
b. Text 07714 075 993