Welcome to Firs House
We are confident that our website will provide clear and concise help and give our patients the information they require in an easy and convenient format. It has been designed with the patient’s needs at the forefront of everything, from checking surgery times to letting us know what you think of us.
Our dedicated team are here to treat those minor ailments that occur as well as providing specialist management of long-term conditions and clinics covering a wide range of healthcare issues. The technology also means you can now do a lot of things from the comfort of your home such as order a repeat prescription, book or cancel an appointment.
Partners in Care
Once registered, patients and healthcare professionals work together to ensure the most appropriate care is provided. This partnership philosophy extends even further and our active patient group exists to make sure that patient needs and the practice offering are always heading in the same direction.
Firs House and Telegraph surgery: Working through the Covid19 Pandemic
We are living and working in unprecedented times. Never did we think that our front door would be closed during the working day. We want to reassure everyone that this measure was taken to ensure we could keep the surgery as safe as possible for those patients who still need to attend in person and for the staff who continue to work. We would like to reassure all our patients that we are still open and providing medical services.
Whilst our clinicians miss seeing patients face to face and find if a challenge to work remotely, the need for a face to face appointment has to outweigh the risk of potentially contracting Covid19 both for patient and clinician. We are following national guidance and anticipate that we may have to continue to work in different ways for some time to enable us to provide a safe service for the likely long duration of the Pandemic. A significant proportion of our workforce is currently shielding due to underlying significant vulnerability or vulnerabilities and working remotely or avoiding any patient contacts including members of the nursing and medical team. We will not be able to resume normal services until we can be sure it is safe for our patients, our colleagues and staff who also have vulnerable family members to consider.
How do the appointments work during this pandemic?
- Please telephone the surgery Monday to Friday as you usually would
- The Receptionist will assess your request and book you for a telephone call with a clinician. We will always ask what the problem is so that you can be called by the appropriate person.
- At this time we do not have individual Doctors’ clinics as we cannot guarantee who will be available. You can request to speak to a specific person and if it is possible this will be done.
- The GP, Nurse Practitioner or Practice Nurse will call you back. The time will depend on the number of calls requested on the day and how long these take.
- We have incorporated in our confidential clinical system a new software system approved by NHS England which allows video consultation and the use of clinical photography in line with CQC and GMC guidelines.
How are the GPs working?
- We are very busy mainly with phone consultations and video calls. We are seeing a lower number of patients face to face but have the facility to do this safely at our branch surgery if necessary where the GP will wear PPE to keep patients safe. This follows national guidelines to minimise risk to patients from necessary visits to the surgery. The majority of patient concerns can be appropriately managed via a remote consultation.
- If face to face assessment is warranted we try to limit the contact time and the risk to the patient, and perform the physical examination only in full protective equipment having discussed the history over the phone prior the assessment. We have been provided some PPE by the NHS and purchased ourselves extra equipment to ensure our patients are safely assessed and to protect our staff, families and ourselves. The PPE is limited and we have the use the equipment sensibly as we are unsure how long the risk and restrictions will last for and also considering there is a nationwide shortage of PPE if we were to run out.
- We have a mixture of inquiries and conditions presenting. All patients with a clinical inquiry will speak to a clinician. Patients who need to be seen will be triaged and given a time to come to the surgery.
- Patients, with very few exceptions, are being extremely understanding and appropriate in terms of their requests.
- We are still, of course, making referrals to urgent outpatient clinics or for more immediate assessment where we suspect serious conditions, for example cancers, heart disease, unwell feverish children etc . Secondary care has cancelled or suspended all routine referrals at the present time and we are awaiting further guidelines from the hospitals with regards to when the services will be available again.
- We very much encourage patients to use resources such as NHS 111 and NHS Choices online sites if concerned about any symptoms and not to delay coming forwards with symptoms that might need urgent assessment.
How are the nursing team working?
- The nurses are also triaging and carrying out urgent blood tests, dressings and children’s immunisations plus other absolutely necessary procedures.
- The clinics are organised to keep wait times and the number of people in the waiting room to a minimum so social distancing can be maintained. Some people prefer to wait outside or in their car with a mobile phone and tell us when they are here. This is working too.
- Some routine procedures and blood tests that can safely wait a little longer have been deferred to help us keep you safe.
- We are very aware that some of the patients who cannot wait for care are very vulnerable. We can reassure patients attending that the nursing team wear PPE (gowns, aprons, gloves, masks and goggles) and safety measures are being adhered to.
- Our management team are closely monitoring guidance and helping us adapt to the many changes that are happening
- We are continually sourcing PPE to keep everyone as safe as we can
- Our secretarial and admin teams are working on site and remotely and continue to support the team
Staff working from home
- Very early on we established which of our staff should be working from home. So we have a number of admin and clinical staff working remotely with NHS approved encrypted IT so we can continue to offer all necessary services.
- Members of the nursing team who are working from home are contacting all our vulnerable shielding patients and have started welfare checks on our elderly particularly those living alone. We are signposting to appropriate help including the volunteers in Histon and Cottenham.
- We are protecting our vulnerable staff as per government guidelines and this has resulted in a reduction of the staff available for face to face assessment.
We fully appreciate the help we have had getting PPE, donations of hand cream and a generous amount of Easter Eggs and would like to thank everyone who has contributed and to thank the local community for their support.
Well Pharmacy: Histon and Impington
Medication Delivery for Routine Repeat Prescriptions
The Well pharmacies are working with the local voluntary support groups and have set up a scheme to deliver medications to as many patients as possible, not just the housebound and self-isolating. This will help in the following ways by:
- Reducing long queues at the pharmacy
- Reducing delays for people who need urgent on the day prescriptions such as antibiotics
- Ensure people don’t have to worry about getting medication. It will be delivered as soon as it is ready.
- You will not need to contact the pharmacy or GP surgery unless you are about to run out of medication.
- Helping the pharmacies who are themselves experiencing staff shortages.
- Many people have friends and family popping in to the pharmacy several times to see if medication is ready to be collected. This makes social distancing much harder for those who have to attend the pharmacy and increases journeys for those people helping out. Having medications delivered will help this group of people as well.
To have medications delivered please phone 01223 320420 option 3. The team will take your details and co-ordinate deliveries with the pharmacy.
Important information about the coronavirus (COVID-19)
The NHS across the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will be better prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases, if the public follows Public Health England advice.
The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of patients and staff which may mean your patient experience is subject to change.
The Chief Medical Officer announced on Friday 13 March that the country is moving into the ‘Delay’ stage of the response to coronavirus (Covid-19).
The new advice issued by the Chief Medical Officer is to stay at home for 7 days if you have either:
- a high temperature or
- a new continuous cough
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or a hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition 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 here.
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.
Information remains subject to regular change and updates. More information can be found on the NHS website here.
Fit Note/Med3: If you have been instructed to self-isolate
The practice will not issue fit/sick notes or write letters of support to employers.
You should direct your employer to the ACAS website; https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus which states:
The government has stated that if NHS 111 or a doctor advises an employee or worker to self-isolate, they should receive any Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) due to them. If the employer offers contractual sick pay, it’s good practice to pay this.
The employee must tell their employer as soon as possible if they cannot work. They should tell their employer the reason and how long they're likely to be off for.
The employer might need to be flexible if they require evidence from the employee or worker. For example, someone might not be able to provide a sick note ('fit note') if they've been told to self-isolate for more than 7 days.
Download a self-certification form here:HMRC Employee's Statement of Sickness to claim Statutory Sick Pay
Changes to Appointments at Firs House and Telegraph Street Surgeries
In light of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic, we have implemented safety measures to reduce the risk of exposure which includes a change in how we offer appointments to patients. As of today, Wednesday 11th March 2020, we will not be providing advanced and / or follow up appointments at our Histon or Cottenham surgeries.
For more information please click here- Change to Appts- COVID-19
Firs House Receives Good rating from CQC
For more information and to read the full report, please see link below.
Firs House Partnership CQC 2019
(Site updated 30/04/2020)