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INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS REGARDING NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) INFECTION

 

The NHS in Milton Keynes and Public Health England (PHE) are well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.

The Chief Medical Officer has announced that the country is moving into the 'Delay' stage of the response to coronavirus from Friday, 13th March 2020.

The new advice issued by the Chief Medical Officer is as follows:

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you are staying at home.

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service (https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19) if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your conditions 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: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

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.

Following the announcement that an individual in the Milton Keynes area has been confirmed as having the coronavirus, PHE is carrying out a thorough risk assessment to trace this individual’s movements in the last fortnight. Patients and staff can be reassured that their safety is the top priority, and patients are encouraged to attend all appointments as usual. The local NHS and Milton Keynes Council are working closely with PHE to support this work. PHE is prioritising contacting people who might have had close and sustained contact with the individual to provide them with health advice about symptoms and emergency contact details in case they become unwell. If you have not been contacted you do not need to take any action.

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 cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals and returned home also in isolation. Any equipment that comes 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.

It's not a 999 emergency.  But you need medical help fast?
There is now a 111 number to call.

 

What is 111?

It is a new NHS telephone number being introduced to help make it easier for you to access local health services.  You can now call 111 when you need medical help fast, but it is not a 999 emergency.

You will be assessed, given advice and directed straightaway to the local service that can help you best.  That could be A&E, an Urgent Care Centre or Minor Injuries Unit, an out of hours GP, community nurse, emergency dentist or a late opening pharmacist.

You can ring the 111 number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  Calls from landlines and mobile phones are free.

There is a typetalk service (18001 111) for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Why should I use it?

NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help - wherever you are, and whatever the time.

It can also help us free up 999 and local A&E departments so that they can focus on emergency cases.

How does it work?

111 will get you through to a team of highly trained advisers, who are supported by experienced nurses.  They will ask you questions to assess your symptoms, and give you the health care advice you need or direct you to the right local service.  The NHS 111 team will, where possible, book you an appointment or transfer you directly to the people you need to speak to.

If NHS 111 advisers think you need an ambulance, they will immediately arrange for one to be sent to you.

Calls to 111 are recorded.  All calls and the records we create are maintained securely, and will only be shared with others directly involved in your care.

When do I use it?

You should use the NHS 111 service if:

  • You need medical help fast, but it is not a 999 emergency.
  • You think you need to go to A&E or another NHS urgent care service.
  • You don't know who to call for medical help or you don't have a GP to call; or
  • You require health information or reassurance about what to do next. 


For less urgent health needs, you should still contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way.

If a health professional has given you a specific number to call when you are concerned about your condition, please continue to use that number.

For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, continue to call 999.

For more information please visit www.nhs.uk/111

 
Call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergencyNHS ChoicesThis site is brought to you by My Surgery Website