ACCESS TO MEDICATION FOR UK RESIDENTS STRANDED ABROAD AS A RESULT OF CORONAVIRUS
Patients travelling abroad are advised to register with a local medical practitioner for any conditions that arise while they are abroad.
When a patient travels abroad, provision of medicines for the treatment of existing long-term conditions may be provided at NHS expense for up to 3 months. If a patient is travelling abroad for longer than 3 months they are expected to arrange for an alternative supply of medicine at their destination.
Patients travelling abroad should be advised to register with a local practitioner for any conditions that arise while the patient is abroad.
GP prescribing of repeat medication for people stranded abroad is not supported. When doctors prescribe a drug, they are clinically and legally responsible for any results of that decision to prescribe. In view of this, it would not be considered good clinical practice for a doctor to prescribe large amounts of repeat medication to a patient going abroad for an extended period of time, since the prescriber will not be able to monitor the patient.
Patients can be reassured that most medications are available in most countries so they are likely to be able to access a continuing supply of medications for long term conditions.
GMS regulations state that patients should be removed from the practice list where notification has been received that the patient intends to be outside of the UK for more than 3 months. This regulation has not been relaxed currently amid coronavirus pandemic.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has also not updated their guidance. The information on the UK government website is below: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-where-you-are-if-you-cannot-return-to-the-uk#if-you-are-running-out-of-your-prescription-medication
IF YOU ARE RUNNING OUT OF YOUR PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION
Contact your travel insurance company; they may be able to help get your prescription replaced. If they cannot help, seek medical assistance and follow advice from the local authorities in the country where you are staying.
Patients can be reassured that most medications are available in most countries so they are likely to be able to access a continuing supply of medications for long term conditions.
If you need urgent advice or information, contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) by phone 24/7 from anywhere in the world by calling our nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate or through the FCO line direct on 0207 008 1500.
Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own (including exemptions)
Important Safety Announcement
We are aware of the dangers of Corona Virus particularly for older people and those with underlying medical conditions.
Many senior leaders are planning for a second wave of coronavirus. If this does happen we want to be prepared and support you and your nearest and dearest to remain happy, healthy and as independent as possible in the event of a second lockdown.
In this situation knowledge is power. We can stream healthcare information directly to your own homes and support you and your family (as long as they are registered with our practice). However we need your help.
We need your help so that we can help you
- Make sure that you have given us up to date email addresses and mobile phone numbers for you and your family.
- Register for the NHS App https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/nhs-app/
This will allow you to book appointments order prescriptions, view your medical records. All from the comfort of your own home.
Things to have at home
If you have regular blood pressure checks or are worried about your blood pressure - Purchase a blood pressure machine, you can then take readings and send them to us and we can advise you
If you are an Asthmatic - Request a prescription for a peak flow monitor, use this to monitor your asthma. The nurse can tell you what your reading should be when you have your review. This will ensure your medication is still appropriate.
Keep a Thermometer in your medicine cabinet to check temperatures
A good tool to also have in your medicine cabinet is a SATS MONITOR or PULSE OXIMETER - this is used to determine the level of oxygen in the blood. This is valuable information in an emergency setting, to help a doctor or nurse decide if intervention is required. This tool is also widely used if Corona virus is suspected.
Dr Clarke & Dr Sood
We understand that many in our community will be concerned about what the next few days and weeks will bring, our practice team are also concerned but are working hard to continue to provide care.
As a team, we are reviewing national guidance daily and adopting new ways of working to keep you, our patient community, safe. Minimising your exposure to COVID-19 symptoms and saving the lives of the most vulnerable people in our community is our priority.
At the same time we need to keep our teams safe and well so they can keep on working to provide patient care.
We understand that these are difficult and worrying times. We have been saddened and dismayed by the verbal abuse our reception and Admin team have experienced on the phone and in person this week from a small number of patients. It is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
We are genuinely sorry if you are inconvenienced by having to wait a bit longer on the phone than you usually would or if you have to queue a few minutes to collect your medication.
At this time none of us know how long this disruption is likely to continue for, so we ask that ALL of our patients are kind to our team. It’s a very worrying and stressful time for them also, some of our team suffer ill health, some of our team have young families, they are choosing to work and not self-isolate in order to provide an essential service and they deserve your respect.
Reduce urges to self-harm and manage emotions in a more positive way.
Use breathing techniques to hep you and relax more, worry less and feel better
ThinkNinja is an app that helps 10 to 18 year olds learn about and manage their mental health
RE: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and requests for fit notes (Med3)
Sick note requests in relation to being off work. By law, medical evidence is not required for the first 7 days of sickness. For any period of illness less than 7 days you can self-certify.
In light of the emerging COVID-19 crisis it is likely a vast amount of people will be self-isolating in accordance with advice provided by the Government and Public Health. In these cases, your GP will not be able to issue you a sick note. We expect your employer to be sympathetic towards the circumstances.
If you remain unwell and unfit to work over seven days, the advice is to visit www.111.nhs.uk and complete an online self-assessment.
General Practice is under a lot of pressure and needs to prioritise the healthcare needs of patients who are acutely unwell. We hope that you understand the current situation and sorry for any inconvenience.
You may have received a letter from the NHS telling you that you’re clinically extremely vulnerable, or been contacted by your GP or hospital clinician.
It may take time for any support offered through this service to arrive. Wherever possible you should continue to rely on friends, family and wider support to help you meet your needs.
You can register yourself, or on behalf of someone else.
National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247 https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/
NSPCC helpline: 0808 800 5000 If you're worried about a child, even if you're unsure, contact NSPCC professional counsellors for help, advice and support.
Childline 0800 1111: Offers free, confidential advice and support for any child 18 years or under, whatever the worry.
MIND: Mental Health Support with specific advice on ‘Coronavirus and your wellbeing’. http://www.mind.org.uk
YoungMinds: Supporting children and young people and their parents/carers with their mental health and wellbeing. Specific advice on managing self-isolation and anxiety about coronavirus. https://youngminds.org.uk
ICON: Babies cry: You can cope. http://iconcope.org/
SafeLives: Specific resources for domestic abuse and COVID. https://safelives.org.uk/news-views/domestic-abuse-and-covid-19
IRISi interventions: irisi.org/iris/find-your-local-iris-site/
Resources for support workers who care for people with a learning disability: https://www.mencap.org.uk/advice-and-support/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-resources-support-workers
Coronavirus information hub: https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/coronavirus-information-hub/
To help us to support those who most need it, before using the service, please
- Ask family, friends and neighbours to support you and use online services if you can
- If this is not possible, there are a number of voluntary and community services who can help. You can find these from Redbridge CVS on their website or by calling them on 020 8708 5555
If you still need help, then please call the well-being service.
The well-being service will not provide medication. Pharmacies will deliver prescriptions to those who are not able to have their prescriptions collected.
Macmillan Support and Information
FAQ's for patients who are at highest clinical risk (.pdf, 301KB)
How to look after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
As human beings, we are hardwired to protect ourselves from potential threats so it’s understandable that you might have concerns about coronavirus and that it could be affecting your mental health. Perhaps you’re stressed about the financial implications if you have to take time off work or if you’re already self-isolating, you might be struggling with boredom or loneliness. For those of you with an existing mental health condition, such as anxiety, depression or OCD, this might be a particularly difficult time.
Good Thinking has lots of apps and other resources support you if you feel anxious, sleep deprived, stressed or sad, including a self-assessment tool that has been updated in line with Public Health England’s guidance on coronavirus. Good Thinking has also put together the following tips to help you look after your mental health over the coming weeks.
How to stay mentally well while you self-isolate
Staying at home comes with its challenges. You might experience feelings of frustration, boredom or loneliness. You might feel extremely stressed about the situation and worried about your loved ones. If you have an existing mental health condition, self-isolation might be particularly difficult. London’s digital wellbeing service, Good Thinking, has the answer to some of the questions you might have about self-isolation and your mental wellbeing.
Coping with loss and bereavement – loneliness
Bereavement, which is a difficult experience under any situation, is taking place under very challenging circumstances during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Both those who experience loss as a consequence to COVID-19, or loss through another cause may experience increased trauma and may be cut off from some of their usual support network.
Very sadly, some families may not have had the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones before they died, which can be particularly upsetting. The observance of other practices and traditions which normally occur after someone has died may also be affected. Those who are already struggling with bereavement, or whose relatives or friends die through other causes will also be affected.
Several UK bereavement charities and organisations have offered guidance, advice, and support to deal with bereavement during this pandemic, both the practical and psychological aspects.
When you are bereaved you should stay in touch with other people, however because of the virus this needs to be by telephone, video, and online. The bereavement care charity Cruse is helping families affected by coronavirus. You can find a broad range of guidance, including easy read fact sheets, on the Cruse website. You can also contact the charity’s free national helpline on 0808 808 1677 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is also further guidance on options for life streaming a funeral service and organising online family memorials.
Click here to download an information leaflet on Bereavement
Suggested social media posts:
- #COVID19 may sadly mean some people are having to grieve for a loved whilst feeling increasingly isolated. @CruseCare's freephone helpline is open to provide support and advice. Call 0808 808 1677. Full info and opening hours: www.cruse.org.uk/get-help/coronavirus-dealing-bereavement-and-grief
- If you or someone you know has suffered a bereavement through #COVID19, or under any circumstance during these uncertain times, you are not alone - there is support out there for you. The @goodgrieftrust has compiled a list if useful links and information: www.thegoodgrieftrust.org/need-know-info/coronavirus-bereavement-advice/
Support for Young Children
We know that whilst observing social distancing it’s difficult to find new ways to keep busy and support young children with their development and emotional wellbeing. To help families find a range of activities they could get involved with from home, the children's centre have developed their Virtual Services. These can be accessed via the Redbridge Children’s Centres website, Facebook and Instagram. Please find links below.
Children’s Centres’ staff have been working remotely and supporting families. So, if families wish to speak with a member of their staff, join virtual sessions and link up with other families, they or you can email them at the following email address and their staff will get back to them as soon as possible:
General Practice Transparency Notice for GPES Data for Pandemic Planning and Research (COVID-19)
This practice is supporting vital coronavirus (COVID-19) planning and research by sharing your data with NHS Digital.
The health and social care system is facing significant pressures due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Health and care information is essential to deliver care to individuals, to support health, social care and other public services and to protect public health. Information will also be vital in researching, monitoring, tracking and managing the coronavirus outbreak. In the current emergency it has become even more important to share health and care information across relevant organisations. This practice is supporting vital coronavirus planning and research by sharing your data with NHS Digital, the national safe haven for health and social care data in England.
Our legal basis for sharing data with NHS Digital
NHS Digital has been legally directed to collect and analyse patient data from all GP practices in England to support the coronavirus response for the duration of the outbreak. NHS Digital will become the controller under the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR) of the personal data collected and analysed jointly with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who has directed NHS Digital to collect and analyse this data under the COVID-19 Public Health Directions 2020 (COVID-19 Direction).
All GP practices in England are legally required to share data with NHS Digital for this purpose under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (2012 Act). More information about this requirement is contained in the data provision notice issued by NHS Digital to GP practices.
Under GDPR our legal basis for sharing this personal data with NHS Digital is Article 6(1)(c) - legal obligation. Our legal basis for sharing personal data relating to health, is Article 9(2)(g) – substantial public interest, for the purposes of NHS Digital exercising its statutory functions under the COVID-19 Direction.
The type of personal data we are sharing with NHS Digital
The data being shared with NHS Digital will include information about patients who are currently registered with a GP practice or who have a date of death on or after 1 November 2019 whose record contains coded information relevant to coronavirus planning and research. The data contains NHS Number, postcode, address, surname, forename, sex, ethnicity, date of birth and date of death for those patients. It will also include coded health data which is held in your GP record such as details of:
- diagnoses and findings
- medications and other prescribed items
- investigations, tests and results
- treatments and outcomes
- vaccinations and immunisations
How NHS Digital will use and share your data
NHS Digital will analyse the data they collect and securely and lawfully share data with other appropriate organisations, including health and care organisations, bodies engaged in disease surveillance and research organisations for coronavirus response purposes only. These purposes include protecting public health, planning and providing health, social care and public services, identifying coronavirus trends and risks to public health, monitoring and managing the outbreak and carrying out of vital coronavirus research and clinical trials. The British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the National Data Guardian are all supportive of this initiative.
NHS Digital has various legal powers to share data for purposes relating to the coronavirus response. It is also required to share data in certain circumstances set out in the COVID-19 Direction and to share confidential patient information to support the response under a legal notice issued to it by the Secretary of State under the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI Regulations).
Legal notices under the COPI Regulations have also been issued to other health and social care organisations requiring those organisations to process and share confidential patient information to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. Any information used or shared during the outbreak under these legal notices or the COPI Regulations will be limited to the period of the outbreak unless there is another legal basis for organisations to continue to use the information.
Data which is shared by NHS Digital will be subject to robust rules relating to privacy, security and confidentiality and only the minimum amount of data necessary to achieve the coronavirus purpose will be shared. Organisations using your data will also need to have a clear legal basis to do so and will enter into a data sharing agreement with NHS Digital. Information about the data that NHS Digital shares, including who with and for what purpose will be published in the NHS Digital data release register.
For more information about how NHS Digital will use your data please see the NHS Digital Transparency Notice for GP Data for Pandemic Planning and Research (COVID-19).
National Data Opt-Out
The application of the National Data Opt-Out to information shared by NHS Digital will be considered on a case by case basis and may or may not apply depending on the specific purposes for which the data is to be used. This is because during this period of emergency, the National Data Opt-Out will not generally apply where data is used to support the coronavirus outbreak, due to the public interest and legal requirements to share information.
Your rights over your personal data
To read more about the health and care information NHS Digital collects, its legal basis for collecting this information and what choices and rights you have in relation to the processing by NHS Digital of your personal data, see: