Monthly Archives: July 2020

Elm Hayes’ Response to the Pandemic


As you may have already experienced we have had to make a few changes to the way we work at the moment.

Consultations with the Doctor or Nurse maybe a telephone appointment initially, and then the Doctor or Nurse may invite you to attend the surgery if required.

We are now able to book up to 2 weeks in advance to talk to a Doctor.

We also hold daily emergency appointments for things that will not wait, and require an urgent Doctor or Nurse review.

Paulton Minor Injury Unit (MIU) are now reopen. A+E are still seeing patients for very urgent situations.

Strain on Primary Care

Although, many patients believe that we are not very busy at the moment, in fact, the opposite is happening.

We have a smaller workforce at the moment. Hospitals are not yet running at full speed. They also have staff shortages and limitations on procedures they are allowed to perform.

Therefore, we are required to keep more patients comfortable in the community, while they wait for their hospital appointments.

All services are dealing with the backlog of work from when we were in total lockdown. Some procedures that we used to do have had to be delayed. We are carrying out risk assessments as required to keep everyone safe.

But please remember we are here to help you. We urge you to contact us if you need medical assistance.

Telephone Appointments

The telephone appointments are at designated timeslots. If you make a telephone appointment it is very important that you are available to receive the call, otherwise the clinician may move onto the next patient on their list, and you will not get another phone call.

PLEASE NOTE: The exception to this is the daily emergency surgery where your phone call will be made by one of the emergency team at anytime throughout the morning, or afternoon, depending on which you have booked.

Video and Text Messages

Like many other Doctors Surgery’s, we have become very reliant on technology to assist us with our daily activities at Elm Hayes.

If you have a visible complaint (such as a rash, spots, throat infection or a burn etc.) the Receptionist or Secretary may ask you to send in a photograph via text message. The reception team will send you a text message, which you reply to with the photo. (Follow the instructions you receive on the text).

If appropriate, your photograph will be added to your medical record. When the Doctor or Nurse telephones you, they have the image in front of them so they can offer advice or treatment.

IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO DO THIS PLEASE TELL THE RECEPTIONIST. This is not obligatory. It is simply to assist the Doctor or Nurse, and if you do not feel comfortable doing this, its absolutely fine to decline.

The Doctor or Nurse may invite you to do a video call. This have become very useful of late and is a great way for the clinical staff to communicate with their patients. You will get a text message to your phone, and you follow the instructions.

The clinical staff are equipped with cameras and microphones so they can talk to you ‘face to face’ so to speak.

Attending the Surgery

We are trying to keep the number of patients that attend the surgery to a minimum so to protect both patients and staff from the possible spread of Coronavirus.

We will see especially vulnerable people first thing in the morning after the overnight clean. However, we have allocated time for additional cleaning throughout the day, and to allow staff to change their PPE between patients.

PATIENTS ARE REQUIRED TO WEAR A FACE COVERING and can use the hand gels available at the surgery.

You may notice that we have new glass screens in the reception and dispensary areas. This is to protect you and our staff from the spread of the coronavirus.

You may be asked to wait in your car, or outside, rather than coming into the waiting room. The Doctor or Nurse will collect you from the car park. Your receptionist, Doctor, or Nurse will inform you of the process.

We truly hope that these measures will protect our ongoing services, and our local community, from another potential surge of COVID-19 cases.

We do ask that patients have patience with us at this time. We understand the frustration this huge change has brought.

We are very proud of our team, and all of the teams we work closely with, and hope that we continue to be able to provide a good service to all of our patients.

FAQs – Patient Services during Covid-19 updated July 2020

FAQ document





GP appointments and bookings



The way we access GP services has changed. Below are some frequently asked questions that may help you understand these changes:

Why can’t I walk into my GP practice?


The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has forced us all to work differently to help slow down the spread of the virus. All healthcare settings are taking special measures to protect you, the public and their staff. GP practices are working as hard as ever, but differently.

Where possible we want to avoid people having to wait inside a waiting room together, as we know this increases the risk of the virus spreading. Like hospitals and dentists, we have also had to change how we offer our services to you.

If you do need to come in, then we can ensure there are a minimal number of people in the practice, we can maintain social distancing and keep patients and staff safe.

How do I get an appointment?


The easiest and most effective method is to use e-Consult through the practice website, or you can telephone. You will then be contacted by a clinician to talk through your symptoms either over the phone, via email, or if needed and you have the available technology, through a video consultation.

Why can’t I book a face-to-face appointment?


We have adapted the way in which you can get an appointment quickly and safely.


Most patient’s health concerns can be managed over the phone or via video consultation. This is why we are providing you with either an initial phone call or video consultation to decide what would be the best way to help. If we can support you without needing you to come into the practice then we reduce the need for you to travel and reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

If you do need a face-to-face appointment, you will be invited to attend the practice.


If we can ensure there are a minimal number of people in the practice, we can maintain social distancing and keep patients and staff safe.

What is e-Consult?


You can access e-Consult via the practice website. It lets patients consult with their own NHS GP online by completing a quick form which is reviewed by the practice. After reviewing your query, you will then be directed toward the most appropriate help. This might be some advice on self-help, pharmacy advice, an appointment with one of the practice clinical team or another service. Your data is secure at all times – including during a video consultation or telephone call.

What if I do not have access to a smartphone or web camera?


While technology has evolved and supports us all in many different ways in our day- to-day lives, we appreciate not everyone will have access to a smartphone or web camera for a video consultation.

We can still talk to you on your mobile phone or landline.


Will I need to wear a face mask if I come into my practice for an appointment?


To help limit the spread of the virus, we are asking for all patients aged 12 and over to wear a face covering when they come the practice. This doesn’t have to be a face mask, but a cloth covering which covers your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. It can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head. You can find additional information by visiting covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

How do I get a repeat prescription?


Use our online services – as reception if you need to sign up for this service.


Drop in your repeat prescription slip to our post box outside the building

You can telephone if you are not able to use any of the above options but please leave these requests until the afternoons.


How do I cancel for move a booked appointment?


Contact our receptionists on 01761 413155.


How do I see a GP during the evening and weekends?


For evening and weekend access to GPs please either visit or call NHS 111.

What if I am not registered with a GP practice?


You can call any GP surgery to get emergency treatment for up to 14 days if you are not registered with a GP or are away from home.

If your treatment will last longer than 14 days, you’ll have to register as a temporary or permanent resident. You can find more information about this via and search ‘how to register with a GP practice’.

If you are a resident in the area and need to register with a practice, then it’s best to look at practices where your home falls within its geographical boundaries. You can check a GP practice boundary by visiting their website.

Once you have selected which practice you would like to register with, make contact with them either by calling or visiting their website.

You will be asked to fill out a registration form and once it is completed and returned, NHS England will transfer your medical records to your new practice. They will also write to you to confirm your registration with your chosen practice.


What do I do if I think I have coronavirus (Covid-19)?


The main symptoms of coronavirus are:


  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back


  • new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms then DO NOT visit your GP practice. You should visit or call NHS 111 if you cannot get help online.

You must self-isolate for seven days from when your symptoms started. Anyone you live with, or in your support bubble, who does not have symptoms must self-isolate for 14 days from when the first person started having symptoms.

You must also ask for a test as soon as you start showing symptoms. You can do this online – visit

Face Coverings on Public Transport and in Shops

Covid-19 – The compulsory wearing of a face covering in shops & on public transport
The introduction of the requirement for people to wear a face covering whilst in a shop or while using public transport is intended to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
There are certain groups of people who are exempt from this requirement and they include:
children under the age of 11,
people with disabilities
those with breathing difficulties or
those who are travelling with someone who relies on lip reading.
These groups of people, their parents or guardians are able to indicate the reason, if required, as to why they are not wearing a face covering.
There is no requirement for general practice to issue letters for patients who are unable to wear face coverings, as the Government have clearly defined the exemptions to this requirement.
General practice is under considerable pressure as a direct result of the current challenges they are faced with delivering a service to patients at the same time as coping with the consequences of this virus.
General practice needs to focus all its time and effort managing those who need their help and not be diverted from this by unnecessary tasks.
Many thanks for your help and support in this matter.
For more information on face masks see

You can also visit or the British Lung Foundation at where you can download an exemption card.
Travel providers such as and have further information for users of transport services.
Hidden disabilities also have an exemption card available to order at
The Partners
Elm Hayes Surgery