Getting help if you are affected by Coronavirus

Get help if you are affected by coronavirus

A new Government website is now available to ALL patients which outlines what help is available if affected by coronavirus.  This website includes information on:

  • feeling unsafe
  • going into work
  • paying bills or being unemployed
  • getting food
  • having somewhere to live
  • mental health and wellbeng

If you need help or advice on any of the above, please click here to visit the website.

NHS Shielding Letters

We have been receiving many queries from patients asking if they will be receiving a shielding letter.  This is the current position as of Wednesday 22nd April 2020.

Patients with any of the following diseases and conditions are considered to be very high risk:

  • Solid organ transplant recipients
  • People with specific cancers (see GOV.UK Website for full list)
  • People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
  • People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
  • People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  • People who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired

If you do not have any of the above conditions you are not classed as being extremely vulnerable.

Extremely vulnerable patients have been identified in 3 ways:

  • From data which has been extracted centrally by the Government.  Letters to those patients identified have now been sent.
  • At the Surgery we have reviewed our patient list to identify those patients not picked up by the Government’s search.  Letters to those additional patients have now been sent.
  • We have also received a list of patients who have used the Government’s self-declaration website.  This list has been reviewed and those patients who are extremely vulnerable were sent a letter on Wednesday 22nd April 2020.

We have also now written to those patients who have declared themselves as extremely vulnerable but who do not actually meet the high risk criteria to advise them of this.

If you have not received a letter but think you should have, please contact the Practice.  Currently there are no plans to send any further letters.

Register to receive help

All patients identified as being of highest clinical risk who are shielding should register with the Government Support Website.  This website provides 3 offers of support:

  • Essential grocery supplies – a free, standardised weekly parcel of food and household essentials, as well as priority delivery slots with supermarkets (currently only available to those who are already registered with the supermarket in question).
  • Medicines – arrangements to have medicines delivered to your home by the Surgery or your local Pharmacy.
  • Social contact and basic needs – for example, emotional or social support such as people to talk to on the phone or via a computer.

Please note, there may be a short delay between people being identified as being at the highest clinical risk, a flag being applied to their medical record, and support arriving.

If you have received the shielding letter and do not register with the Government’s support website, Government agents will contact you directly to confirm whether you have a need and to help you register if appropriate.

National Shielding Helpline

Some Gloucestershire patients currently shielding have received telephone calls from the Government Support Service – the National Shielding Helpline – which they have queried with the Practice. This telephone number registers on telephones as 0333 305 0466. This number does not accept incoming calls, but if you call it, you will get the following recorded message:

“You were called today by the Shielding Helpline, sorry that we missed you. There is no need to call us back as we will try again soon. Thank you. Goodbye”

Please be assured this is not a scam, but a genuine phone call.

The Team is contacting those patients who are shielding to understand your food and wellbeing support needs and will always identify themselves with their name and as a representative of the National Shielding Helpline.

Early on in the call you will be asked to confirm some details about yourself, for example, your name and NHS number. This is to make sure they are speaking to the right person. They will never ask you for information such as your National Insurance Number or bank details. If asked for this information please do not give it out.

Getting Local Support

Other support, including care needs or social contact is being co-ordinated by local councils working with many other organisations.   You can contact:

Local councils are working with voluntary organisations and local communities to support residents affected by coronavirus.

Work, Financial Support and Money

The GOV.UK Website offers advice on what to do if you are:

  • unable to work – if you or someone you live with is ill
  • on furlough – what happens if your employer has no work for your
  • unemployed – what to do if you have lost your job
  • self-employed – what to do if you have less or no work
  • already getting benefits – how they are affected

Looking after your health at home

You can visit the Health at Home website for an overview of the NHS services you can access from home, such as how to order repeat prescriptions online and get them delivered.  If you can’t find the information you need please contact the Surgery and we will be happy to help.

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing

Public Health England have provided some guidance on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing, which can be found on their website.

Still confused about what you can and can’t do?

Visit the GOV.UK Website which details advice on the following frequently asked questions:

  • when am I allowed to leave the house?
  • can i go to the dentist, my GP or other medical appointment?
  • can I walk my dog/look after my horse?
  • should I stay at home or go to work?
  • I’m not a critical worker and I can’t work from home.  What should I do?
  • how can I find out if my work is essential or not?
  • can I see my friends?
  • can I visit elderly relatives?
  • can I go out to help a vulnerable person?
  • my boss is forcing me to go to work but I’m scared of coronavirus.  What should I do?
  • I can’t go to work because I need to look after my child, but my boss is threatening to sack me if I don’t.  What should I do?
  • can I move house?
  • can I go to the park?
  • can I drive to a national park or other green space to walk?
  • can I exercise more than once a day if I need to due to a significant health condition?
  • what will happen to me if I break the rules?

If you need further help or advice

If you need any further help or advice then please do not hesitate to contact the Surgery, either by using this website, or by telephone on 01594 542270 and we will be happy to help.