Dear Courtfield Patient,
Good news to start with– for the third week in a row there have been no new coronavirus cases amongst our Courtfield patients. The vast of majority of our patients who have had Covid-19 have now recovered although a few still report extreme fatigue and a persistent cough.
As Coronavirus activity continues to drop across all sectors in our part of London, we felt it was now appropriate to suggest that certain face to face consultations can now safely take place. We are particularly thinking of those of you with long term conditions who have been waiting for blood tests or those who require vaccinations (both adults and babies) and injections (such as for Vitamin B12) and also follow up smear tests.
Although no routine appointments can be made without assessment and discussion with your GP, it is likely that we will more commonly offer face to face consultation if you would prefer this and where – after suitable risk assessment, we feel it is safe to do so.
We are particularly concerned that some of you may be ignoring symptoms that require more urgent assessment, in particular:
- Skin rashes that have been present for more than 2 weeks, or spots or “lumps and bumps” (especially breast lumps), that are getting bigger
- A cough that has been present for more than 4 weeks – particularly if you are a smoker
- Change of bowel habit – i.e developing unexplained diarrhoea or constipation, or passing blood in your faeces over the past few weeks
- Unexplained abdominal pain
- New onset of chest pain, particularly if brought on by exercise
- Irregular periods or unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Unexplained weight loss
- Worsening depression or anxiety
As previously mentioned, we aim to keep Courtfield building a “Coronavirus-free” zone. Any patient with even the slightest risk of having Covid-19 will continue to be managed remotely. If a face to face assessment is deemed necessary, where possible, this will be carried out by home visit.
With respect to appointments at the practice, there will be no waiting time on arrival, and both you and our team will wear appropriate PPE during your time in the building. Appointments will be widely spaced to prevent mixing of patients in the waiting area.
Some of you who have visited us recently, have kindly come up to reception to settle the fee at the end of the consultation – thank you – but to maintain social distancing rules please feel free to leave the building without paying and we will phone you to settle the invoice later.
Covid-19 in children
There have been concerns this week – published in the Health Service Journal – about a cluster (reported as 12 cases in all) of children with a severe inflammatory condition affecting the heart and digestive tract. Some – but not all of these children – had Coronavirus and it is therefore possible that this condition is a very very very rare complication of Covid-19.
However, this is not a new condition and it’s incidence has slowly been increasing over the years, well before the emergence of Covid-19. It may well be that although Coronavirus was associated with these recent cases, it may not in fact be the causative virus. More research is necessary and it is important to emphasise, again, that this condition affected only a tiny number of children.
Our own experience bears out the fact that the overwhelming majority of children with Covid-19 have very mild symptoms.
Please do not hesitate to contact any of the doctors if you wish to discuss this further.
Update on testing
Unfortunately, there is still no approved antibody test available (which tests for evidence of past infection), but as mentioned last week we do have the approved antigen swab tests (which tests for active infection). However, the antigen test is only relevant for patients with active symptoms of Coronavirus.
The picture is constantly changing and we will of course continue to keep you updated with any changes to the way we are working at Courtfield.