Services During COVID-19
The government has recently announced a number of changes to lockdown measures, social distancing and shielding guidance. Much of this guidance is offering more freedoms and flexibility around how we work and socialise.
Whilst we appreciate these changes will be welcomed by many, staff at Firs House Surgery and the wider NHS remain vigilant and cautious. Given the nature of COVID-19, and the needs of the people we see at the surgery, we will continue to employ strict measures that limit exposure. These measures include staff and patients wearing PPE, strict social distancing within and on the grounds of the surgery, restricted access to the building for the public with patients invited to attend only, and the continuation of telephone triage prior to attending.
The world may appear to be returning to some semblance of normality but we are conscious that we are still in the middle of a pandemic, so please understand that at this time we will maintain a cautious approach to how and when we offer our wider services. Moving forwards, the focus for Firs House will be on reducing the risk of exposure for our patients and staff, and only opening up services once we can offer assurances it is safe to do so. With this in mind, we ask for your continued patience and understanding, especially if we are not in a position to offer some non-urgent services.
30th June 2020
Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk from flu and its complications. Flu can be unpleasant, but if you're otherwise healthy, it'll usually clear up on its own in about a week. But flu can be more severe in certain people, such as:
•anyone aged 65 and over
•children and adults with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart or respiratory disease)
•children and adults with weakened immune systems
Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia (a lung infection), so it's recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to help protect them.
Flu Cinics 2020/21 at Firs House
The Partners and Managers have been working together on detailed planning with an aim to ensuring that there is a smooth delivery of the vaccine to the patients most at risk of flu, and also endeavouring to ensure that we have sufficient stocks available within the locality. We have also been training additional clinical staff to deliver the vaccinations.
We have been discussing and planning how to do this with the additional safety measures required due to the challenges of COVID-19 - social distancing; infection control; PPE requirements; managing the volume of clinical waste generated by the PPE; rapid changes in instructions and guidance and for some, potentially changing where the vaccine clinics are delivered, such as outside clinics and risk assessing these sites. With sufficient detailed planning and preparation, the aim is to mitigate risks and deliver an effective and timely vaccination programmes to protect our eligible and at risk patients.
How will the Flu Clinics function
Due to COVID-19 we will be running our Flu Clinics on Saturdays only, outside our normal weekday clinics, to allow for social distancing. Unlike previous years, appointments will be brief and we will be unable to discuss any health concerns outside the influenza vaccine. Please see further instruction please see Flu Clinic Information Sheet
Who should get the flu vaccine?
We are delivering our flu vaccine programme to an expanded range of patients this year:
•All over 65’s
•All patients at risk due to a medical condition – see the following full list of eligible conditions.
•Carers as detailed below.
•Infants aged 2 and 3, not otherwise at risk.
•NEW: Patients who were ‘Shielding,’ and any persons who shares a residence with a shielding patient – this is a new cohort of patients for this year. If you were on the Shielded list and someone lives with you permanently who is not registered locally, please ask them to register as soon as possible so they can be vaccinated to protect you.
•NEW: A 50-64’s programme is also planned and this group of patients are to be vaccinated in addition this year. This will not start however until all the higher risk groups above have been given the opportunity to be vaccinated to ensure that supplies are targeted to those most in need. Patients over 50 and not usually in an at-risk group must await further instructions from their practices. It is anticipated that this may start to be offered from November.
A vaccination programme for patients aged 50-64’s with no underlying risk factors is planned for later this year. This will not start until all the higher risk groups above have been given the opportunity to be vaccinated.
Please see NHS website – Who Should Have The Flu Vaccination, for full details click HERE
More information on the flu jab is available HERE
For children 17 and under flu immunisation is offered based on eligibility – please see NHS Children’s Flu Vaccine, click HERE for details.
When are the Flu Clinics?
Child Flu Vaccine Clinics- Children aged 2 or 3 on 31 August 2020 – children born between 1st September 2016 and 31 August 2018 are eligible for the nasal spray at the surgery.
The clinics will run on-
• Monday 21st September- AM
• Wednesday 23rd September- AM
• Thursday 24th September- PM
• Friday 25th September- PM
• Saturday 26th September- AM
Flu Clinics for At Risk and over 65’s are on-
• Saturday 3rd October- AM
• Saturday 10th October- AM
• Saturday 17th October- AM
• Saturday 24th October- AM
FLU SEASON 2020/2021 –CALL 01223 234 286 FOR AN APPOINTMENT
Joint Injection Clinic
We offer joint injections for a number of conditions where you have not responded to other forms of treatment.
A steroid injection is usually given into a joint or soft tissue to help reduce pain when joints may be swollen and tender. We usually use a steroid and local anaesthetic mix and inject around the affected area/joint. The injection helps reduce pain and as a result improves mobility and function.
Joint injections are done for a number of conditions – osteoarthritis, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel and many other conditions.
Due to the current circumstances, we are asking patients to review and complete the Consent Form before they attend their appointment with the joint clinic.
Cervical Screening (Smear Test)
What is cervical screening?
Cervical screening, or the “smear test”, is a routine health check that identifies potentially harmful cells and changes on the cervix. Cervical screening is not a test for cancer but catching any changes early can reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer. Cervical cancer kills two women every day. Regular screenings can help reduce that number, which is why it’s so important you attend your screening when invited.
Who is the screening for?
If you are a woman, or someone with a cervix, you will be invited for your cervical screening at regular intervals:
If you’re aged 25-49, you’ll be invited every 3 years
If you’re aged 50-64, you’ll be invited every 5 years
It is advisable you have regular cervical screenings, but ultimately, it is your choice whether you attend.
What happens during cervical screening?
Your screening will only take a minute or two, the whole appointment usually takes around ten minutes. During your screening, a nurse will give you a private space in which to undress from the waist down. They will also give you a paper sheet to cover yourself and will ask you to lie on the bed. They’ll then place a speculum (a hollow cylinder with a rounded edge) in your vagina. This helps them see your cervix. Then, using a small brush, they’ll gently gather some cells from your cervix. They’ll remove the speculum, put your sample in a pot and send it off for testing. You’ll get your results around two weeks later.
The nurse is there to answer any questions or concerns you may have before your appointment, so please talk to them if you’re feeling nervous. There are also a range of things you can do to put yourself at ease during your screening:
• If you’d like, you can take a trusted friend or family member with you
• Wear a long, loose dress or skirt. It may make you feel more covered during your screening
• Take long, deep breaths to help you relax
• Listen to a podcast or some music during your screening to put you at ease
• Speculums come in a range of different sizes. It is a rounded cylinder which is gently opened so nurses can see your cervix. You may want to discuss the size of the speculum with the nurse before you have the test.
If you’re due to have a cervical screening, you’ll receive a letter in the post. Don’t ignore it, book your cervical screening with Reception today.
If you missed your previous screening, contact Reception to book an appointment today.
How to book your cervical screening appointment
If you are due a cervical screening you can call reception and book an appointment with your GP or Practice Nurse.
More than 200,000 people are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes every year – and that means the risk of serious health complications and early death. Modern life can make it hard to be healthy but for many people Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making small lifestyle changes.
Marie Rouse, our Advanced Nurse Practitioner and Diabetes Specialist Nurse, runs diabetes clinics every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. These take place at both our Histon and Cottenham surgeries. Please speak to reception to book an appointment.
Soup & Shake Diet
Despite media reports or a national offer, Cambridgeshire is not currently taking part in the pilot for the new NHS Soup and Shake diet for Diabetes Type 2 and weight loss patients. Please keep checking the link below for updates.
Family Planning Clinics
We advise on all types of contraception. You can see any of the doctors or the nurse for advice during normal surgery hours, please speak to Reception to book an appointment.
Coil and cap fittings need a special appointment, Reception staff will be able to advise on clinic availability.
The Contraceptive Implant
Advice Regarding Coil Insertion
We provide antenatal and postnatal care with the help of the Community Midwife. The Midwife is also able to offer pre-conception advice.
Practice Nurse Clinics
The practice nurses are based in the surgery and can be seen by appointment. They provide a wide range of treatments including:
◦Contraceptive advice (including emergency contraception)
◦Travel health advice and Travel Immunisations
◦They are also able to give advice for some minor illnesses (ask at reception for details).
If you’re a smoker, giving up is the single most valuable step you can take to improve your health. It can improve your lifestyle and finances too! Please book an appointment with one of our practice nurses to discuss quitting smoking. The NHS can help you to quit using a variety of support tools and advice.
When you go smoke free, you are up to four times more likely to succeed if you use NHS support and stop smoking medicines such as patches or gum to manage your cravings.
Useful websites are -