Advice Getting a Test for COVID-19
Tests can only be booked on the national online booking portal or by calling 119 if you do not have access to the internet. You cannot book a test in any other way.
Anyone who tries to book a test and is unable to do so, or who is offered a location or time which is not convenient, should wait a few hours and then try again. More tests are available each day and are allocated based on areas of greatest need and the prevalence of the virus. As the service is very busy you may have to try more than once to access the service and be offered the location you need.
You should not go to A&E or your GP Practice to get a coronavirus test as you may spread the virus. Both A&E and your GP Practice are unable to assist you in booking a COVID-19 test and cannot provide COVID-19 testing.
Booking a test if you have symptoms is vital to the control of the virus and the saving of lives, so please continue to self-isolate and come back to the online booking portal or the 119 service if you have not been successful.
School Letters of Absence
It has been brought to our attention that parents are asking their GP for letters of absence and advice on whether their child should attend school or not.
Please note that it is not a GPs responsibility to issue school letters of absence for your children. Government guidance is that school attendance is mandatory unless your child is self-isolating, has symptoms of COVID-19 or is close to someone who has COVID-19.
Prostate Cancer Risk Checker
It's the most common cancer in men, but most men with early prostate cancer don’t have symptoms. So what should you do?
Check out the new prostate cancer risk checker online.
Digitisation of Medical Records
Lancashire and South Cumbria has been chosen by NHS England to be a national pilot for the digitisation of Medical Records. Scanning these paper based records and making them digital will enable better utilisation of space, creating more clinical space, staff areas, multi team space and video hubs, removing the need for some practices to build extensions. In addition it will also make your record more easily and speedily accessible to clinical staff within your practice.
Your complete GP medical record will be digital and stored in a secure cloud based clinical system (only accessible by your GP practice) with the paper based records being securely destroyed following BS EN 15713:2009 Secure destruction of confidential material. Your GP will still be able to access your records easily within this system. The scanning and destruction of the paper records will follow strict data protection guidelines adhered to by the NHS. As with paper based records, digital records are stored for the durations specified in the Records Management Codes of Practice for Health and Social Care. For GP patient records, this states that they may be destroyed 10 years after the patient’s death if they are no longer needed.
If you wish to discuss the scheme, please inform the Practice direct either by letter or email.
Enhanced Health in Care Homes
Under an initiative called Enhanced Health in Care Homes (EHCH) the NHS has asked GP practices to provide additional care and services to patients living in these homes. This includes the introduction of weekly ward rounds and multi-disciplinary team meetings that draw on the skills of multiple professionals to support you to ensure that your health is as good as it can be.
For this process to be as successful as possible, care homes and individual patients within them would benefit from becoming aligned to one Primary Care Network (a Primary Care Network is a group of GP practices who work together in a specified area) and then one GP practice within that Primary Care Network (PCN). This also allows the identification of a named clinician for each care home. Clearly it is not possible for practices to offer enhanced care and all these services to every patient in every home and so practices need to be aligned with a smaller number of homes.
To determine which homes are aligned to which practice, we have taken direction from Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and complemented this with practices’ own information where some practices are a more ‘natural fit’ with a particular home. This has usually been based on the geography and the number of patients already registered in each home with each practice.
Individuals will be sent a letter detailing the practice the home has been aligned to, containing the further steps required to register at that practice. All local practices are cooperating in this realignment and are working closely with residential care homes to make the process as smooth as possible.
For more information discuss with the appropriate care home manager, or Janet Byrne/Emma Stewart at Queen Square Medical Practice.
Bank Holiday Closure
ARRISA Asthma Study
If you are interested in the study, you can get a leaflet here.
Face Mask Exemptions
Since the Government announced that the wearing of face masks in shops will be compulsory from Friday 24th July, we have received a number of requests for letters of exemption.
The current guidelines do not require people to present evidence of exemption and as such, we are unable to provide letters regarding this.
If you are unable to wear a face covering for respiratory or other reasons, there are a number of websites from which you can print an exemption notice that politely advises others as to why you are not wearing a face covering.
Half Day Closure
Face Coverings in Surgery
In response to government guidance we are now asking ALL patients visiting our premises to wear a face covering when they are in the building. The face covering does not need to be a surgical mask, and can be a buff/scarf or other makeshift face covering that covers the nose and mouth. The exceptions to this rule are young children and adults with breathing problems.
PRINCIPLE COVID-19 Study
Queen Square Medical Practice is supporting vital COVID 19 research. As part of this, we are helping to carry out a national priority study called PRINCIPLE.
If you have symptoms of COVID 19, are aged 65 or over, OR are aged 50-64 and have an existing health condition, you may be eligible to join this important study. If you’d like to discuss taking part in PRINCIPLE, please contact us.
Please see www.phctrials.ox.ac.uk/principle-trial for full details of this study. If you’d like to know more about COVID 19 research and how you can contribute, please visit the Be Part of Research site, www.bepartofresearch.nihr.ac.uk which is run by the National Institute of Health Research.
COVID-19 Scam Calls and Texts
OFCOM have warned about scam calls and texts relating to Covid-19.
Calls may claim to be from the Government, your GP’s surgery or the NHS. In the calls, a recorded message or caller will claim to be contacting you about the coronavirus. They might offer a test, a treatment, or offer to discuss your medical needs.
However, these calls are designed to encourage you to either speak to an operator (in which you could be at risk of giving personal information), or press a button on your phone for more information (in which you could be connected to a high-cost premium number).
Scam texts often include links or attachments which can’t be trusted.
Here’s an example of a scam text, claiming to be sent by the Government. However, look at the URL – it does not link to the UK Government website. It is a fake website which requires you to enter your personal details – it is a phishing scam.
Official Government Text Alerts
The official government texts come from ‘UK_Gov’ and look like this:
If you suspect a scam, hang up or delete the text, and report the number to https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
If you think a call or text might be genuine you can call back directly to check whether someone has tried to contact you.
FAQs on Shielded Patients
The NHS has written to around 1.3million people considered to be at highest risk from coronavirus (COVID-19) to inform them that they should stay at home and avoid all face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks. This is known as ‘shielding’.
If you have any questions about this, please click the link below for a list of FAQs.
Available Support for Locals
You, or people you know may be finding themselves in difficult circumstances due to these unprecedented times. Many now suddenly find themselves in nil income households whilst waiting for central government support, and may never normally be inclined to ask for help. There is absolutely NO shame or loss of dignity in accessing the support families may need to see them through this time.
Lancaster City Council has set up a 7-day telephone and email helpline to make sure people can get reliable support:
Phone: 01524 582000
Email: email@example.com (for residents)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (for businesses)
The phone lines are currently open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm and every Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 3pm.
A partnership with LCC and Morecambe Bay Foodbank has also been launched to co-ordinate and deliver emergency food parcels to vulnerable people across the district and they are available to ANYONE who is struggling.
A new website, www.lancasterdistrictcovid19.org.uk
, has been created for agencies to refer someone for emergency food. If anyone needs help, they can find the contact details of people and organisations who can refer them. If they don’t have access to the internet they can telephone the food hub on 01524 932001.
Caring for your Unwell or Injured Child During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The following video explains what support is still available for you and your child during the coronavirus pandemic.
Lancaster Assessment Centre
During the Coronavirus Outbreak GP practices and community services have been asked by the NHS to work together. Across the Morecambe Bay area a number of Assessment Centres are being set up at which some patients who need to be assessed face to face can be seen by a GP/Other in a safe environment. Local centres are being set up in Morecambe and Lancaster. Queen Square GPs and staff are contributing to the Lancaster Assessment Centre, which will be located at the University Health Centre. You should continue to ring Queen Square Medical Practice on 01524 843333. You will be triaged by telephone and advised if you need to be assessed face-to-face and where to attend.
Most appointments will continue to be at Queen Square Surgery (2 Queen Square, LA1 1RP) [or our other sites at Healthub 1b Queen Street, LA1 1RS and Caton Health Centre, Hornby Road, LA2 9QW]
For a small number of our patients our staff/GPs may give you an appointment at the Lancaster Assessment Centre. Please do not just turn up there you will not be seen without being triaged first and allocated an appointment.
Lancaster Assessment Centre, Lancaster University Health Centre, South West Drive, Bailrigg Campus, LA1 4ZP (up the main drive, turn right at the roundabout, the Health Centre is the second building on the right)
Along with all of our NHS colleagues, these are extremely busy and challenging times. We want to thank all our patients who have been so understanding whilst trying to get through to us on the phone and whilst we’ve been talking to you about your appointments.
Community Support: Community Support Lancaster Morecambe Carnforth A collated list of all the support currently available in the local area. [Updated 6th April]
The Audiology department at RLI and Furness General are still providing a postal service for hearing aid repairs and for battery supplies despite not undertaking appointments during this time.
Patients can ring each department and if no one answers can leave an answer phone message and someone will contact them.
A Difficult Conversation: Andy Knox
Some patients may want to take the opportunity at this difficult time to consider their wishes regarding their future care. If you feel this may apply to you, then the attached video may help you in considering these decisions, or in having these discussions with either your GP or relatives.
Isolation Notes for Employers
If you need an isolation note due to having to isolate from symptoms shown by yourself or family, visit:
If you are at high risk and have received a letter from the government and are isolating for this reason, this should stand as proof for employers.
Rescue Packs and Inhalers
We have been made aware of some inaccurate information circulating (especially on social media) regarding special ‘rescue packs’ of antibiotics and oral steroids for patients with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (or even for those who don’t have these conditions).
We would like to reassure you that patients who suffer with severe respiratory conditions already have these in place (along with the instructions on how to use them). Oral steroids are powerful medicines and any decision to use them would need careful evaluation by a prescriber, usually a doctor or respiratory specialist nurse.
Please do not contact us for a rescue pack unless this is something that has been previously agreed and prescribed by your medical team. You should continue to manage your condition in the usual way and if you feel you have symptoms of COVID-19, go to https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 or call 111 (online services should be used as a first choice) before doing anything else.
We are aware of increasing requests for inhalers from patients who have not had them for a significant period. Each patient should be reviewed on an individual basis and certainly not all patients should have these prescribed as there should be a clinical need for this.
Patients who have not had these for at least 18 months probably do not need a prescription but may need them prescribing in future if they have a clinical need. There is a risk to general supply of these for those who do need them if we significantly change the normally prescribing rate and we are already seeing many stock shortages with these.
If the surgery offers you a video consultation during the COVID-19 period, please see the video below for guidance.
Just Found Out You Are Pregnant? Please self-refer to Maternity Services
Complete a SELF-REFERRAL FORM online @ www.uhmb.nhs.uk/maternity
A member of the maternity administration team will contact you within 5 working days to arrange your first appointment with your midwife.
If you need to speak to a member of the administration team or need help completing your online referral please call 01524 584130
Access to Appointments online (NOTE: currently unavailable due to COVID-19 restrictions)
From 1st April, GP Advanced Appointments will be available to book on the MyGp App, as well as on Patient Access.
Telephone Requests For Prescription Ordering (NOTE: Currently not in effect due to COVID-19)
Please note that we no longer accept prescription requests over the telephone. This is to avoid mistakes being made, and will keep our telephone lines and receptionist time free to deal with urgent patient enquiries. When prescriptions are requested over the phone, mistakes are more likely due to either confusion with drug name of pronunciation, or errors made when interpreting the verbal request. This has been in place since 1st August 2018.
Prescription requests must now be made in one of the following ways:
1. Online via Patient Access. Please click the following link www.patientaccess.com.
2. Using the Repeat Request Slip found attached to the right hand side of your prescription. The completed slip can either be handed in at reception or posted. (If you do not 3. have a repeat request slip, you may use our prescription request for which can be found at reception.
3. Via your Local Pharmacy.
Patient Representation Group Meeting February 2019
Click here to read the notes from the recent Patient Representation Group. If you are interested in attending future meetings, please let a member of the reception team know.
DESMOND: Diabetes Education and Self-Management
DESMOND is a nationally accredited course for people with Type 2 Diabetes.
It is an education programme specifically designed to support diabetics. The fully trained educators are there to help you increase your knowledge and understanding of what having diabetes will mean for you and how you can manage your care effectively. It is an opportunity to meet and share experiences with others.
Please click on the following link for more information on DESMOND. www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk/DESMOND
Changes in Prescriptions
Due to on going NHS Medicines Management changes, it is possible that the name and appearance of your medicines may change from time to time.
Don't worry. This is only a change to another brand or version of the medicine you have been taking. There is no change to the medicine itself. This may affect any tablets, capsules, inhalers or creams that you have been prescribed. It is important that you continue to take or use your medicine as before.
Please feel free to discuss any change with your local Community Pharmacist. You may also book an appointment with our Practice Pharmacist if you would like a more detailed medication review.
Gluten Free Prescriptions and Products
We are no longer able to prescribe gluten free foods. Morecambe Bay CCG has recently approved a policy that requires the Practice to stop supplying prescription for gluten free foods. This will release significant savings that will be used locally for other high priority NHS services.
The CCG's decision follows a review of gluten free prescribing that considered comment from local public engagement and the national guidance recently issues by NHS England. The CCG also took account of the following points in making the decision to stop providing gluten free food:
A wider range of gluten free products are now available at supermarks, health food shops and online.
Many carbohydrates foods are naturally gluten feed, such as potatoes, rice and some noodles. These products can be bought from supermarkets.
Gluten free products are significantly more expensive when prescribed on the NHS, than the retail price in the shops and online.
Food items are generally not available on prescription for other conditions.
Please click the following link for more information.
Gluten Free Prescriptions and Products