Coronavirus update from the Rycote Practice

Although The Rycote Practice has been very busy with plans to help patients with possible Coronavirus symptoms, we would also like to emphasise that we are keen to see on an urgent basis patients with other serious health concerns including possible cancer symptoms (see: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/ ), heart disease or stroke symptoms etc. There are concerns across the country that some patients with worrying symptoms have been slow to see their GP because of concerns about the risk of infection. The Rycote Practice encourages anyone with significant health concerns (physical or mental) to make contact preferably through our e-consult service on the practice website: https://www.therycotepractice.co.uk/appointments-clinics/online-services-2/ or otherwise by phone.

Essential routine healthcare
In addition the Rycote Practice continues to offer essential routine healthcare such as regular reviews of patients with long term conditions, health checks, immunisations and cervical smears. We strongly encourage patients to take advantage of these key NHS services when we contact you.

Your safety at this time
We are offering an increased number of consultations via e-consult (see above) and also by phone. This allows us to reduce the number of patients that we see face to face and allows more time for each patient whether they are coming to the practice for a blood test or to see a nurse or doctor. As a result our clinics now run very closely to time so that patients spend the minimum amount of time in the waiting areas which have very few patients in them. We generally do not need to see patients with Coronavirus symptoms but if we do, they are seen in a special assessment clinic entirely separate from the main practice – see below.

Coronavirus Assessment Clinic
The Rycote Practice in Thame has undertaken an intensive programme of work to transform one area of Thame Health Centre into a separate clinic for patients of the Rycote Practice who might have a significant Coronavirus infection, whilst continuing to see patients with other serious concerns in the main part of the building.

Under the guidance of Managing Partner Karl Savage, local contractors worked to partition off a suite of 4 consulting rooms, creating a dedicated entry / exit point and transform floor coverings. The Thame Coronavirus Clinic is now receiving its first patients – strictly by appointment only.

Most patients with Coronavirus infection will not need to see a GP and can be looked after in their homes with the aid of phone, video and email consultations if necessary. However on some occasions (and only after an initial telephone or video assessment with a Rycote GP) a face to face appointment will be required. Patients will be given clear instructions on where and when to attend – parking restrictions have been lifted outside the health centre solely for the benefit of patients attending the new service which is separated from the main health centre.

There is a strong emphasis on safety for patients attending and clinicians working in the new clinic, which is run by a multidisciplinary team of receptionists, nurses and GPs. The infection control protocol was developed with advice from Rycote’s lead nurse Valerie Gilbert. Full PPE [personal protective equipment] will be worn by all clinicians and rooms cleaned after each consultation. Dr Dan Faller the clinical lead for this project said ‘We think we have put in place an excellent plan, not only for assessment of patients who are suffering from symptoms of Coronavirus, but also to ensure the rest of the surgery is as safe as possible so we can continue to offer high-quality routine care to our patients. This plan has been commended by the infection control team of Oxfordshire CCG’.

It is anticipated that appointments will run strictly to time and that patients will spend the minimum amount of time in the Health Centre, with detailed phone consultations taking place before and after they are assessed in the practice – all with a view to minimising the risk of transmitting the virus.

The practice would like to thank local companies who have assisted in the project, particularly 3D Print World in Aylesbury who manufactured face shields, several of our patients who helped with items of PPE, staff of Lord Williams School and Thame Day Centre who generously helped with the provision of other valuable equipment.

We have worked closely with Thame Town Council and are particularly grateful to Love Thame Helpers for their input and support. For more information please see the Rycote Practice Facebook page and website.

Patients who are concerned they might have Coronavirus infection should initially seek advice from the 111 service ideally online at 111.nhs.uk or by phoning 111.