To look up local vaccination centres and for information please visit hertsandwestessexics.org.uk/covid-19
Raising awareness of Long COVID & support available
Long COVID has been identified as a significant challenge for patients following exposure to the virus and affects individuals differently based on a number of factors including underlying disease, age of patients, e.g., children, living in areas of deprivation and whether or not patients were admitted to hospital or Intensive Care Units (ITU)
It appears that there is likely to be an ongoing challenge for healthcare organisations and services to manage Long COVID as emerging evidence suggests a significant long-term burden among those experiencing prolonged symptoms.
Although there is no specific treatment for Long COVID, there is a range of resources such as online help, complementary therapies & healthcare support to assist people to manage symptoms effectively.
Long COVID (Post Covid Syndrome)
Long COVID usually presents with clusters of symptoms, often overlapping, which may change over time and can affect any system within the body. Many people with Long COVID may also experience generalised pain, fatigue, persisting high temperature and psychiatric problems.
‘Long COVID’ is a commonly used term to describe:
- Ongoing symptomatic COVID-19: signs and symptoms of COVID-19 from 4 to 12 weeks.
- Post-COVID-19 syndrome: signs and symptoms that develop during or after COVID-19 and continue for more than 12 weeks and are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.
General practice plays a key role in supporting patients, both adults and children, with long term symptoms of COVID-19. This includes assessing, diagnosing, referring where necessary and providing longer term holistic support of patients.
Workforce education and training has taken place on how to identify, assess and manage Long COVID in patients.
Following patient assessment with a GP and relevant tests being completed, if ongoing symptomatic COVID-19 is diagnosed (from 4 weeks after infection), patients may be offered the following:
Your COVID Recovery website
Signposting to self-management support including the online platform Your COVID Recovery (YCR) Phase 1 www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk
Other local rehabilitation or support services
Supported self-management from the practice or primary care network team; this may include input from social prescribers, health / wellbeing coaches and care coordinators with linking into community groups or other existing community services as appropriate.
Post COVID assessment clinics
Referral into a Post COVID assessment clinic if self-management alone is not appropriate and if further investigations or support are required.
Accessing our services:
If phone lines are busy, please use our online 'Accurx' form to seek help.
When contacting us please tell us as much as you can about what’s wrong so that help direct you to the healthcare professional best suited for your health care needs which might be a GP, nurse or another specialist such as a physiotherapist, pharmacist or paramedic. The information you provide will also help us to prioritise your care if it’s something urgent.
Our priority will be to ensure you receive care quickly and might offer you an telephone, video or face-to-face appointment, arrange a home visit or refer you to another service.
Other sources of help
There are a number of ways to get health advice and care if you, a family member or a friend feel ill.
- Visit the NHS website – for advice and information on how to look after yourself and your family. It covers thousands of illnesses and conditions: www.nhs.uk
- Visit a pharmacist – for expert advice and low-cost medicines to ease your symptoms and help treat your condition. Pharmacists are trained to spot worrying symptoms that require urgent medical help. Every area has a late opening pharmacy and most have consulting rooms where you can ask for advice in private. Go to www.nhs.uk to find your nearest open pharmacist.
- Visit www.111.nhs.uk or call 111 – for free, round the clock help when your GP is closed, when it’s an urgent but not a life-threatening 999 situation, or if you are unsure where to go to get the right help for your medical condition. You can telephone 111 to get straight through to mental health advice.
Please DO NOT call the surgery about arranging a covid vaccine or booster as we cannot assist, all housebound patients have previously been contacted by our team to organise vaccination.
You can book a vaccination through the national booking service website or go to the Healthier Future website to check your eligibility for a vaccination, see answers to frequently asked questions, or find out about walk-in appointments.
We will continue to provide home visits, where necessary, for housebound patients who need to be see in person and who have no other alternative due to immobility or very serious ongoing health conditions
How to access your COVID-19 vaccination status
Through the NHS App
You can access your COVID-19 vaccination status through the free NHS App from 17 May. You can access the app through mobile devices such as a smartphone or tablet. Proof of your COVID-19 vaccination status will be shown within the NHS App. We recommend that you register with the app before booking international travel.
By calling 119
If you do not have access to a smartphone and know that the country you are travelling to requires COVID-19 vaccination status, you can call the NHS helpline on 119 (from 17 May) and ask for a letter to be posted to you. This must be at least 5 working days after you’ve completed your course of the vaccine. We expect the letter to take up to 5 working days to reach you.
The letter will be sent automatically to the address registered with your GP. The 119 call handler you speak to will not be able to see your address to check this with you. If you’ve recently moved house, make sure you’ve given your new address to your GP practice before calling 119.
Recording overseas COVID vaccinations in the National Booking Service
Some patients are contacting us asking about getting overseas vaccinations recorded. This is not something that practices can do themselves.
Eligible patients can now book a face-to-face appointment via the National Booking system at a selected vaccination centre to show evidence of MHRA-approved COVID-19 vaccinations administered abroad and have them recorded in the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS).
Support is also provided through 119 to signpost the service, or to make bookings on behalf of users.
More information is provided when patients book an appointment. Any patients contacting our practice about this service, will be directed to contact 119 as we cannot assist any further.
Will doses of the covid-19 vaccine received overseas appear on the patient’s NHS App?
The NHS App only promises to be a proof of vaccines delivered in England for those aged 16 years plus, available 2 weeks after having a full course of the vaccine. These won’t be on the ‘COVID-19 Pass’ section of the NHS App, but should appear on the ‘Your health’ section under ‘acute short-term medicines’ if they are added to the patient record.
What if patients don’t have a phone or tablet and want to travel overseas?
Patients can request a letter via the www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-pass/get-your-covid-pass-letter/ or by calling 119.
What if the patient doesn’t have the NHS App or an NHS number?
It is not possible for vaccination status to be recorded on the NHS App if a patient does not have an nhs number. Patients without an nhs number can register with a GP practice, receive an NHS number and subsequently use the NHS app.
Alternatively, a vaccination letter can be requested via www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/covid-status-letter or by calling the 119 (COVID-19 Vaccination Status) service. However, it will require the recipient to register with a GP which is explained via the link. If the patient does not wish to register with a GP practice, they will have their vaccination card as physical proof.
Do not contact your GP surgery about your COVID-19 vaccination status. GPs cannot provide letters showing your COVID-19 vaccination status.
In recognition of our COVID 19 Vaccination work in Bridging the Health Inequality Gap for all patients on our Learning Disability Register, we have recently been awarded the 'purple strategy certificate'
Hilary Gardener the Strategic Liaison Nurse for Primary Health at Hertfordshire County Council contacted us to advise:
Your passion, drive and commitment to overcoming barriers through using person centred reasonable adjustments to be able to successfully vaccinate these people is commendable and an example to everyone.
- Provided that person centred approach to overcome the barriers
- Provided the necessary reasonable adjustments
- Successfully vaccinated to date over 100% of your learning disability patients !!!!
Thank you so much for taking the time and understanding to achieve such a fantastic success rate. Those people who are reluctant to have the vaccine are the ones who would be likely to equally struggle with the complying with treatment if they did contract COVID19 and required hospitalisation. So every vaccine achieved in this patient group truly is one that has potentially saved a life and that is down to the team work of everyone involved in the planning, supporting and delivering of the vaccines
Good luck with achieving the same success with the second dose over the coming weeks.
Links to educational materials re Long Covid - raising awareness:
Your COVID recovery: www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk
Covid-19 vaccine easy read leaflet:
COVID-19 Research - Help the fight against COVID-19
Join a COVID-19 clinical trial - The PRINCIPLE Trial
The PRINCIPLE trial aims to find treatments that reduce hospital Admission and improve symptoms for people with COVID-19. You could be eligible to join if & self refer through the trial website if:
You have had these symptoms for fewer than 15 days:
- a continuous new or worsening cough
- a high temperature
You are aged 50 to 64 with a pre-existing illness:
- High blood pressure and/ or heart disease
- Diabetes not treated with insulin
- Asthma or lung disease
- Weakened immune system due to serious illness or medication (e.g. chemotherapy).
- Stroke or neurological problems
- Liver disease
- You are aged 65 and above
Find out more via www.principletrial.org
Apply for a coronavirus test:
Advice for parents during coronavirus
Whilst coronavirus is infectious to children it is rarely serious. If your child is unwell it is likely to be a non-coronavirus illness, rather than coronavirus itself.
Click here to download helpful advice for parents
Easy Read Coronavirus Resources
Coronavirus / COVID-19 Privacy Notice
Click here for our COVID-19 Privacy Notice
Important information about the coronavirus (COVID-19)
Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms
Read the NHS advice about staying at home.
Use the 111 coronavirus service
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
Information is available at gov.uk/coronavirus and www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19
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 be infected by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.
The risk of being in close contact with a person with coronavirus or contaminated surfaces is very low at the current time.
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.
You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
The Silver Line - helpline for older people
Need help? Call Silver Line ANYTIME on: 0800 4 70 80 90
The Silver Line is the only free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Please visit www.thesilverline.org.uk
Sexual and reproductive health help during COVID-19
Hertfordshire County Council has produced some useful guides to help support people who have been bereaved in these challenging times. There are versions for adults, parents and carers and young people, as well as an easy read version for adults and young people with additional needs.
Guides can be viewed or downloaded from www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/coronavirusbereavement