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Frequently asked questions

We understand that it is a difficult time for all. We appreciate your continued support and understanding during this challenging time.  We would ask that you only contact the surgery if absolutely necessary as the service is under extreme pressure.

Below are some frequently asked questions:

How can I get an appointment with the doctor?

We have suspended our online booking service and are not offering routine booked appointments until further notice.  If you feel you need to see or speak to a doctor please phone the surgery on the usual number (contact details).  A member of our experienced reception staff will take your contact details and will ask some questions regarding why you want to speak to the doctor.  This information helps us prioritise patients who need urgent medical attention and we would ask that you cooperate with this.  A member of our practice team will then phone you back.  You will be offered an appointment with a doctor if this is deemed necessary.

How do I order and collect my repeat prescriptions?

Please use the dedicated phone line (contact details) to order your repeat prescriptions or the online service.  Due to high demand this line can be very busy.  Thank you in advance for your patience with this.  When you phone the repeat line you will be asked to nominate a preferred pharmacy, if using online services please use the comment box to indicate your preference.  You can then collect your prescription there 72 hours later.  We are asking that you allow extra time before collecting your prescriptions due to the extra pressures on all services. 

What is social distancing and who are the high risk groups of people?

Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.

Social distancing will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus by reducing the social interaction between people.

You should:

  • Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus - these symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough;
  • avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible
  • work from home, where possible - your employer should support you to do this.
  • avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs
  • avoid gatherings with friends and family – keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
  • use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.

Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as possible.

We strongly advise you to follow the above measures and to significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible, particularly if you:

  • are over 70;
  • have an underlying health condition;
  • are pregnant.

This advice is likely to be in place for some weeks.

The link below gives further guidance on social distancing and a list of conditions deemed to be at higher risk who should be particularly stringent in following social distancing.

Guidance on social distancing for everyone and protecting older people and vulnerable adults

Should I continue to take my immunosuppressant/biological therapy?

Please see the below links for further guidance on this:

For patients with rheumatological conditions taking immunosuppressant/biological therapy- British Society of Rheumatology Coronavirus Advice and Rheumatology Coronavirus Risk stratification table

For patients with dermatological conditions taking immunosuppressants/biological therapy-British Association of Dematologists Coronavirus advice and Dermatology Coronavirus Risk Stratification table

For Patients with Inflammatory bowel disease taking immunosuppressant/biological therapy IBD UK Coronavirus Advice and IBD Coronavirus decision tree

What are COVID Centres?

As from Monday 30th March COVID centres will be set up all over Northern Ireland.  The Belfast COVID centre will be in Beech hall in West Belfast.  The purpose of the centre is to clinically assess patients with COVID 19 symptoms in order to decide if they are well enough to stay at home, need hospital admission, or may have another cause for their symptoms.  At present patients will not be tested for Coronavirus.  You can only be referred to the centre by your GP, who will only refer you if felt necessary.  Most patients with Coronavirus will have very mild symptoms and can be managed safely at home.  If you have Coronavirus symptoms which are mild access NHS 111 online, if you have symptoms which are concerning you please phone NHS 111.  Please only contact the surgery directly if you have an underlying significant medical condition, your symptoms are worsening or you are feeling very unwell.  If it is an emergency please phone 999.

Should I use Ibuprofen?

There is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus worse.  Until more information is available the advice is to use paracetamol to treat symptoms of coronavirus (unless you have an allergy to paracetamol or told you should not take it) in preference to ibuprofen.  If you are taking NSAIDs(ibuprofen and Naproxen) for other reasons and can continue to take it as long as you do not have coronavirus symptoms.

Should I continue to take my ACE inhibitor(ramipril, perindopril) or ARB (candesartan, irbesartan)?

The current advice is that you should continue with these drugs.  There is no evidence that these drugs increase the risks of infection from coronavirus or its severity.

Should I have a 'rescue pack' of antibiotics and steroids at home if I have asthma or COPD?

We do not recommend having rescue medication at home.  If you have a flare of symptoms or are unwell you should contact the surgery to speak to a doctor.

For further advice on coronavirus and asthma please see Asthma UK coronavirus Guidance

For further advice on coronavirus and COPD please see British Lung Foundation Chronic Lung Disease and Coronavirus guidance

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