COVID 19

Cornavirus advice

Exemption letters for wearing masks

We are aware that some patients might be understandably anxious about the Government’s recent announcements around the use of face masks in various public settings. GPs are unfortunately not in a position to provide individual risk assessments or letters for patients who feel that they should be exempt from wearing a face mask.

Local Medical Committees have therefore prepared this guidance note as the statutory body that advises and supports all GPs and practice teams across both counties.

The government guidance on exemptions suggests there is no requirement for evidence for exemption, therefore it is sufficient for an individual to self-declare this. Current government advice on the use of face coverings can be found here:

If you still require a letter then this will be private fee. Please speak to reception regarding a letter

Free NHS Viral COVID19 test

You can have a test (swab test) to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) now. You can choose to take the test:

  • at a test site near you today and get your result tomorrow

  • with a home test kit

NHS Covid19 Antibody test

An antibody test can tell you if it's likely you've had coronavirus before. But it does not work for everyone, as some people who've had the virus do not have antibodies.

An antibody test does not tell you:

  • if you're immune to coronavirus

  • if you can or cannot spread the virus to other people

Getting an antibody test

Free antibody testing is not widely available yet. It's currently offered to NHS and care staff, as well as some hospital patients and care home residents. This will help show who has had the virus and how it is spreading in the UK.

Home antibody test kits are not currently recommended, as it has not been confirmed if they're safe and reliable yet. You can pay for a test to be done at a private clinic if you want to

Isolation note

The government have recommended that if you are isolating to your their services to produce an isolation note for your employers. A digital isolation note is now available to provide patients with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone with symptoms, and so cannot work. After answering a few questions, an isolation note will be emailed to the user.

Visiting your GP surgery in person during COVID19 pandemic

If you have any of the below symptoms

- a new cough

- a mild temperature

- shortness of breath

- flu like symptoms (headache, sore throat)

The government has advised to self isolate (stay at home) for 10 days AND visit 111 Online or ring 111 if you do not have access to a telephone

NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Use this service if:

  • you think you might have coronavirus;

  • in the last 14 days you’ve been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus;

  • you’ve been in close contact with someone with coronavirus.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone.

Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also catch the virus by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.

Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict guidelines. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals and returned home also in isolation. Any equipment that come into contact with suspected cases are thoroughly cleaned as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others. Patients can be reassured that their safety is a top priority, and are encouraged to attend all appointments as usual.

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.

Visit NHS 111 online for more information