Online Access for GP Advice And Appointments - AccuRx Online Request
In response to feedback from our patients and the increasing demand for appointments we are now operating a Triage Appointment System. Recommended initial contact is provided using the online request form AccuRx Online Request, but for those who have difficulty using this service our reception staff will take details of your request in order to ensure this is dealt with by the correct person at the correct time. Please note the most appropriate appointment may not be with a GP.
Patients using the online service can contact the Health Centre, without having to wait on the phone, about a medical, administrative or prescription issue by clicking AccuRx Online Request. Answer a few short questions and we aim to respond to you within 2 working days although often it will be the same working day. Your enquiry will be seen initially by one of the doctors. You will be able to upload photographs of skin lesions, and express to us what you feel you need from us. As we move out of COVID restrictions, our door is now open but we have no plans to change our "triage first" approach to appointments. Please do not use this online form for urgent or emergency requests. The submitted forms will only be read 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday. The forms will not be read on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays), practice closure for training or on bank holidays.
Please contact NHS 111 for out of hour's advice or 999 if it is an emergency. We hope that you will embrace this new way of contacting us. Holmes Chapel Health Centre.
Wearing of face masks and social distancing to continue within the Health Centre after 19th July
Current Public Health England guidance outlining the legal requirements around masks states: ‘Face coverings are needed in NHS settings, including hospitals and primary or community care settings, such as GP surgeries.’
The BMA has called for the Government to keep some ‘targeted’ measures in place when wider restrictions lift – including the requirement to wear a mask in healthcare settings. It has warned that an ongoing ‘alarming’ rise in COVID cases means ‘it makes no sense to remove restrictions in their entirety’.
The government has indicated that mandatory COVID-19 restrictions will end on 19th July, to enable the country to return to normal. It is also acknowledged that we are entering a third wave of COVID-19, with increasing case numbers driven by the more infectious delta variant. The hope is that the protection offered by a double vaccine dose in patients aged 40 and over, and the majority of over 18 year olds having had a least one vaccine dose, coinciding with the summer and school holidays, will enable us to start to live with COVID-19. The evidence so far is that the hospital rate is approximately 10% of the numbers seen during the previous two waves, and the death rate significantly lower, thanks to the protection offered by the vaccination. However, the vaccine does not guarantee protection against catching COVID-19 infection, and although the rate is higher in younger age groups who have not yet been fully vaccinated, an increasing number of cases are being seen in patients of all ages who have received both vaccination doses.
The wearing of face masks is something we have come to accept as part of getting on with living with COID-19 during the worst of the pandemic. They are known to be effective in preventing the wearer from spreading virus to others. They are less effective in protecting the wearer from catching the virus from others. Therefore, the main reason we have been wearing masks is for the protection of others. At the Health Centre we have to accept that some patients who enter the building will unknowingly have COVID-19 infection - they may not have any symptoms, and may even have been fully vaccinated, so spotting these cases is almost impossible. Because identification of infected people is so difficult the safest action to ensure maximum protection is to ask everyone entering the Health Centre to continue to wear a face mask. This is in line with the BMA’s stance that ‘this cannot be about “personal choice” when the risk comes from others around you not wearing them. Not only is the wearing of face masks the most effective way to avoid spreading the virus to others, but is also a courtesy to those patient and staff who are understandably nervous about abandoning these simple precautions.
We will also continue to observe social distancing as a sensible precaution, until the effect of the lifting of measures elsewhere can be assessed. We feel that in an environment where by definition we are seeing some patients who are unwell with respiratory illnesses, and patients who have underlying health issues that increase their risk from any respiratory virus, these measures are a sensible precaution.
Do you have a cold - or could it be the delta variant of COVID-19?
The delta variant of COVID-19 can cause symptoms similar to a common cold, i.e. sore throat, runny nose, headache, in addition to the more classical COVID-19 symptoms of cough, fever and loss of taste or smell. Symptoms may only be mild but you can still spread the virus to others. You need a PCR test to exclude COVID-19 infection if you have cold or flu symptoms even if you have received both vaccine doses. Get a free PCR test by calling 119 or online COVID-19 testing.
Getting tested for COVID-19
You can check if you have COVID-19 infection using two different tests, available free of charge by calling NHS 119 or online COVID-19 testing. Which one you use depends on whether or not you have symptoms:
- PCR tests – if you have symptoms, this test will tell you if they are due to COVID-19 infection. This is the most sensitive test. It is sent to a lab to be checked and takes 24-48 hours to get a result. You and your family and close contacts have to self-isolate until you receive a negative result.
- rapid lateral flow tests – these are only for people who do not have symptoms who need to demonstrate they do not have COVID-19 infection. They give a result within 30 minutes using a device similar to a pregnancy test
If you have symptoms of COVID-19The delta variant is also associated with common cold symptoms. Get a PCR test as soon as possible if you have any of the following COVID-19 symptoms:
You and anyone you live with should stay at home until you get your test result. Only leave your home to have a test.Anyone in your childcare or support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- sore throat
- runny nose
Rapid lateral flow tests are not suitable for ruling out COVID-19 infection when you have symptoms. A PCR test should be done if you have any of the symptoms above, or if you suspect you may have COVID-19 infection - this applies to both adults and children.
You may arrange a PCR test locally or arrange for a test kit to be sent to you at home by phoning 119 or follow the link COVID-19 testing.
Prescriptions - change to collection times
As a result of staff shortages in the dispensary, we have had to take the decision to close the dispensary reception between 12:00 and 14:00 each day. This is a temporary arrangement in order to allow staff to focus on processing prescriptions and maintain a safe and efficient service during a difficult time, so that prescriptions are available for collection when requested. As the dispensary is now the hub for prescription collection this will affect all patients - we apologise for any inconvenience. Patients will be notified when our normal service resumes. Thank you for your continued support.
- Prescriptions may be collected from the Dispensary from 08:30 to 12:00 and 14:00 to 18:30.
- Please allow 1 week for prescription requests
- Our Dispensary is available for collection of prescriptions for all patients who have not specified a preferred pharmacy.
- COVID-19 restrictions currently limit the Dispensary Waiting Room to two patients at a time - please wear a face covering when entering the building. If you are collecting a prescription on behalf of another patient you will need to provide staff with their name, date of birth and address. Unfortunately if you are unable to provide this information we will not be able to hand over the prescription.
Booking appointments at reception
We are no longer making booking appointments for GPs or Advance Nurse Practitioners at reception. All requests for appointments for GPs an ANPs should be made using the online request form AccuRx Online Request, or by telephoning reception at the Health Centre. This is to enable us to triage all requests for appointments with GPs and ANPs to help us manage the increased demand as we emerge from the pandemic. Patients trying to book an appointment with a GP or ANP at the reception desk will politely be requested to complete the online request form or telephone the Health Centre.
Reception will continue to deal with appointments for chronic disease reviews with a nurse, and for blood tests, where these have been requested by the Health Centre.
We appreciate this can be frustrating for patients and that this is sometimes taken out on our reception staff. Please note, we do to tolerate any form of abuse from our patients, including rudeness and verbal abuse. Please 'do not shoot the messenger' - this is a decision made by the GPs to help manage the demand for appointments, do please feel free to express your views to them rather than our reception staff.
Everyone aged 16 or over and some children aged 12 to 15 who have a higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 or who live with someone at high risk of catching it are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination - check the latest information at NHS COVID-19 vaccination
You need to:
- book 2 appointments for 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
- get the 2nd dose 8 to 12 weeks after getting your 1st dose
If you've had your 1st dose at a walk-in vaccination centre, you can book your 2nd dose using this service. You'll need to wait 24 hours after your 1st dose before you can book.
If you've had a positive COVID-19 test, you should wait 4 weeks from the date you had the test before you book an appointment.
If you're under 40, you'll only be shown appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.
If you're 40 or over, you'll be asked if you're pregnant. This is to make sure people who are pregnant are only shown appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.
If you are eligible you do not need to wait to be contacted to arrange an appointment for your COVID-19 vaccination. Book an appointment now by contacting the NHS booking line 119 or book online using the link to the National Booking Service.
The objective of the COVID-19 immunisation programme is to protect those who are at highest risk from serious illness or death. The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) have set out a prioritisation for persons at risk, ranking eligible groups according to risk, largely based on prevention of death from COVID-19-specific. For full details follow the link to the JCVI Green Book.
Texting is our preferred method of choice. It enables us to send information to a large number of our patients, for example dates of upcoming vaccination clinics, and we now have the advantage of being able to offer an advice service and appointment booking service based on the texting service. For this to work we require your mobile phone number and your permission to use it for texting purposes. Please contact the Health Centre if we do not have your mobile number or if you have previously opted out of receiving text messages.
If we do not have a mobile number for you we will contact you by phone or letter, but this process is inevitably slower, time consuming and more expensive for the practice. Please ensure we have your up to date contact details so that we can notify you - if not, please email the practice with your details using this feedback form.
2nd vaccine doses
If you have already received the first dose of the vaccine without suffering any serious side effects you should complete the course. This includes people aged under 30 years old. Second doses should be offered 8-12 weeks after the first.
The current guidance is that the second dose should be the same type of vaccine as the first dose. Whenever possible patients should attend the same vaccination venue for both doses to ensure that the same vaccine is available and the second dose is administered at the correct time. There are some circumstances where it clearly may not be possible for the patient to attend the same site (e.g. they have moved home or, in between the first and second dose, they have moved to a new GP practice which is not part of the PCN grouping that administered the first dose.) In these circumstances, it would be appropriate for the new provider to administer the second dose.
Link to news
Link to latest COVID-19 update
Autumn COVID-19 booster vaccinations and flu vaccinations
This year we are expecting flu to take over from COVID-19 in making headlines, for all the wrong reasons. Last year flu was overshadowed by COVID-19, and the precautions we all took to avoid COVID-19 also protected us from flu.
What's different this year? During normal times our immune system is constantly challenged by various infections, especially viral URTIs, and as a result we all develop a certain level of background immunity to protect us from colds and flu-like illnesses. The prevalence of viral upper respiratory infections (URTIs) has been relative low during the past 12 months due to social distancing measures, hand washing and the wearing of face masks, so our defences are relatively poor at present. This means that as we relax restrictions we can expect a surge in the prevalence of URTIs, and when autumn comes, this includes influenza. Unfortunately infection with the delta variant of COVID-19 causes symptoms that include cough, sore throat, headache and runny nose - i.e. all symptoms of a common cold! And it should be remembered that for many influenza is a very serious infection - in most years it kills approximately 10,000 people. Fortunately flu is preventable by a single vaccination.
This year the plan is to offer the flu vaccination to all adults aged 50 and over, and those at increased risk due to chronic disease - more than 30 million people. This same group will also be offered a booster COVID-19 vaccination which will help maintain protection against Covid-19 and new variants for those most at risk, before winter comes. The vaccines are thought to protect people aged 50 and over against serious illness for at least six months, but data on exactly how long immunity lasts is still awaited.
Please note, at this stage the practice currently has no information about the local availability of the third dose of COVID-19 vaccine. We have ordered more flu vaccines than usual and encourage all patients in the at risk group to attend for flu vaccination from the end of September onwards. Ideally we would offer COVID-19 vaccination at the same time but this is subject to availability. Details of vaccination clinics will be finalised when more information is known about the availability of a third COVID-19 vaccine - please do not enquire at the Health Centre at this stage.
Please do ensure we have your mobile number so that we can contact you when clinic dates are available.
Who should have a flu vaccination and a third dose of COVID-19 vaccination?
The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) recommends the following people would benefit from a third COVID-19 vaccination and a flu vaccination from September 2021:
- adults aged 16 and over who are immunosuppressed or clinically extremely vulnerable
- residents in care homes for older adults
- all adults aged 70 and over
- frontline health and social care workers
After those groups, it will be:
- all adults aged 50 and over
- adults aged 16-49 who are in a flu or Covid-19 at-risk group
- those living in the same house as people who are immunosuppressed
Younger adults will be not be given a third dose at this stage. This because they will only have completed their course of two vaccinations in the summer, and will therefore still be protected during the autumn and winter when the risk of infection is greater, plus it is thought the immunity provided by the vaccinations lasts longer in this younger age group.
COVID-19 Information for patients
You need to arrange a PCR test and self isolate until COVID-19 infection is excluded if you have any of the following symptoms:
- New continuous cough
- Temperature of 37.8 or above
- Loss/change of sense of smell or taste
The delta variant is also associated with symptoms similar to the common cold:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
Please do not attend the practice if you suspect you may have COVID-19 infection, either because you have symptoms as above, have tested positive for COVID-19, or if you have been in contact with someone who has suspected COVID-19 infection or tested positive for COVID-19. If you need medical assistance whilst you suspect you may have COVID-19 infection please ensure you inform the receptionist, doctor or nurse by telephone that you are potentially infectious.
A PCR test should be done if you have any of the symptoms above, or if you suspect you may have COVID-19 infection - this applies to both adults and children. You may arrange a PCR test locally or arrange for a test kit to be sent to you at home by phoning 119 or follow the link COVID-19 testing.
Rapid lateral flow tests are not suitable for confirming or excluding COVID-19 infection if you have symptoms.
For the latest information about COVID-19 visit gov.uk/coronavirus
Holmes Chapel Health Centre general information
‘Our aim is to provide the best possible health care for you and your family.’ Our practice is classified as semi-rural, based in a purpose built health centre in the heart of the community in Holmes Chapel.
We have a growing practice population, currently around 12,300 patients, served by an extended Primary Health Care Team including doctors, practice and community nurses, reception staff, physiotherapists and health visitors. We are part of the Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group .
Our aims here at Holmes Chapel Health Centre remain:
Safe, Effective Care for our Patients.
Remaining resilient in terms of our staffing to be able to remain open and provide our services.
We are in a unique period of time: facing an uncertain challenge and we will do all we can to support our patients.
The Friends and Family Test - How likely are you to recommend our GP practice to friends and family if they need similar care or treatment?
(Site updated 11/09/2021)