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.