Dear Colleague

Please find attached and below a summary of the most up to date information on COVID-19. We will be sending out a summary of the latest information to practices every Friday.

Main Primary Care Website

There is now one site for all primary care guidance, which will be updated regularly – https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/primary-care/. Please ensure you check this site regularly for the latest information.

Primary Care Preparedness Letter 

Please find attached an update for general practice from Dr Nikita Kanani. Please in particular note the following areas from this update:

Changes to Online Booking – To mitigate any risk that potentially infected patients book appointments online and attend the practice, all practices are now being advised to change face-to-face appointments booked online to triage appointments via telephone or video. It is our expectation that practices should not look to suspend online appointments, but to modify them to allow them to be triaged rather than allowing the patient or 111 to book in directly for a face to face appointment.

We will be issuing practical guides to practices next week on how to facilitate these changes should they so wish. However please bear in mind that at this stage this is advice and not a directive and we recognise that not all practices will find it easy to make this change.

PPE – Deliveries will be made early next week to practices and more supplies will follow for larger practices on a regular basis. Guidance on infection prevention and control, including putting on and removing personal protective equipment, is available here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-wn-cov-infection-prevention-and-control-guidance

Business Continuity Plans – Please review your practice plan to ensure its robustness around staff sickness and site availability. We are also planning events to work with PCN Clinical Directors to support and discuss / develop local PCN plans.

Remote working – We will be issuing guidance next week to ensure practices can use their existing supply of laptops for remote work, and we are looking to purchase additional laptops as part of business continuity planning.

Prescriptions – Practices should consider putting all suitable patients on electronic repeat dispensing as soon as possible. The whole repeatable prescription can be valid for a year but each repeat should be for no longer than the patient has now.

Patient Information / Comms

You can download the latest materials for the public at https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/primary-care/. Click on “New resources and copy for practice websites” for the latest information for websites, telephone messages and patient posters, and check back here regularly.  The link for this is currently

Posters – The latest patient information posters to be put outside the practice and for a practice closure for cleaning are here https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101-coronavirus-/resources/5015.  You need to create an account with PHE to access them. Please ensure you check back regularly so that your posters contain the correct information. There is also guidance on cleaning at the main primary care website above.

Text messages – For practices wishing to send out SMS messages for operational reasons, for example, to advise the practice is closed for cleaning, we have purchased additional iPlato credits for you to use. Please contact your local CCG lead should you require further credits. We are awaiting further national guidance on general SMS messages to send to patients, and will be in touch to advise in due course.

Online & Video Consultations

Please click here for information on online and video consultations in SWL.

Best Wishes
Dr Nicola Jones
SWL Primary Care Clinical Lead

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