Frequently asked questions

What does ‘staying alert’ mean and what is the latest guidance (11 May 2020)

The most important thing we can do is to stay alert, control the virus, and in doing so, save lives. You can find out more about how to stay alert and safe here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing 

This has changed the guidance on what you can and can’t do and you should be familiar with this. You can check it here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

Where can I find the Government’s report on the next phase of response to COVID-19 (published 11 May 2020)?

Where can I find out more about the national testing programme?

You can find the government website on the national testing programme here.

You can also find a useful FAQ document by clicking here.

What can I do about my repeat prescription?

Order repeat prescriptions in your usual quantities at the usual time. Over ordering of your medicines may mean someone else has to go without their medicines.

  1. Order your usual prescription online or by an app. Do not go to your GP practice or pharmacy to order prescriptions and only phone them if you cannot order online or by an appYou can order repeat prescriptions on the NHS App and through your GP surgery or pharmacy’s online service, where available.
  2. If you have a prescription to collect:
    • if you are 70 or over and/or have a long-term health condition or are pregnant you should arrange collection by a relative, friend or volunteer, or ask your pharmacy about delivery
    • for everyone else, if you are going into a pharmacy in person, follow social distancing rules and the rules put in place by the pharmacy to protect you and their staff.
  1. Pharmacies will be operating social distancing measures to protect everyone and may have altered opening times to manage their workload.
  2. Ask any relatives and friends who are delivering your medicines to make sure they have seen you pick up the bag.
  3. If your medicines are being delivered, make sure you keep a safe distance when you receive them.

However, due to the increased demand of ordering prescriptions online there might be a very short delay in your prescription being ready. Please make sure that you order your repeat prescription in plenty of time.

You may also find that the packaging of your medication is different than you are used to. This is because pharmacies may use different brands of medicines when preparing your prescription in order to speed up the process. This will still be the correct medication but might just look different. You should always check your medication when you receive it.

You can also ask someone you know to collect the prescription for you; just make sure they use appropriate social distancing measures by having them leave the medication on your doorstep or somewhere appropriate for you to pick it up safely.

Some pharmacies do offer delivery options. If you use this option the delivery driver will leave the package on your doorstep. We would advise patients to contact the pharmacy or delivery driver prior to delivery, to raise awareness of any mobility issues so the appropriate level of help can be offered.

What advice is there for people who have a long term condition

We have set up a page with advice for people at higher risk here.

I want to help in some way – can I volunteer?

You can help people at high risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus by joining the NHS Volunteer Responders.

Read more about the NHS Volunteer Responders on the NHS England website.

Two of the main tasks undertaken by voulnteer responders are:

  • ‘Community Response’ – which involves collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating, and delivering these supplies to their home. This could act as a helpful complement to the food and pharmacy deliveries government is already coordinating for up to 1.5m people within the shielding group, who have been advised to remain at home and avoid all face to face contact.
  • ‘Check-in and Chat’ – where volunteers provide short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness as a consequence of self-isolation. This could help as your local area looks to provide social contact with the shielded vulnerable – I propose that volunteers should be able to commit to a weekly call to support someone who might be feeling lonely.

Read more about the NHS Volunteer Responders on the NHS England website.

How can I manage my health without going to the GP or other health service

If you have an appointment at your GP or at the hospital you should absolutely still go to it. Especially if it is for something like tests to rule out cancer.

You can also access a great deal of medical services at home online.

While you are at home it’s still easy to get NHS help using your smartphone, tablet or computer.

The Health at Home webpage has information letting you know how to:

  • contact your GP
  • order repeat prescriptions
  • manage long-term conditions
  • maintain your mental and physical wellbeing

If you need an NHS service, try to do it online first. If you cannot get what you need this way try asking a friend or family member to help you, or speak to your GP surgery on the phone.

Find out more at: nhs.uk/health-at-home

Can I take Ibruprofen?

The Commission on Human Medicines’ Expert Working Group on COVID-19 has concluded that there is currently insufficient evidence to establish a link between use of ibuprofen, or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and contracting or worsening of COVID-19.

Patients can take paracetamol or ibuprofen when self-medicating for symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever and headache, and should follow NHS advice if they have any questions or if symptoms get worse. Patients should always read the patient information when taking over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol, and follow the instructions on how to take the medicines.

What can I do if I need support with shopping?

Community Hubs

Hubs have been set up in each district of Lancashire to help support the people who need it most during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The hubs are being managed and operated by local authority staff along with local community and NHS volunteers and will provide support for vulnerable people in our community who may be self isolating due to illness or who are at increased risk from coronavirus.

Contact details for Fylde Coast hubs:

At the same time the NHS has also set up the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme.

NHS Volunteer Responders have signed up to carry out four types of task.  Two of the main tasks are:

  • ‘Community Response’ – which involves collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating, and delivering these supplies to their home. This could act as a helpful complement to the food and pharmacy deliveries government is already coordinating for up to 1.5m people within the shielding group, who have been advised to remain at home and avoid all face to face contact.
  • ‘Check-in and Chat’ – where volunteers provide short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness as a consequence of self-isolation. This could help as your local area looks to provide social contact with the shielded vulnerable – I propose that volunteers should be able to commit to a weekly call to support someone who might be feeling lonely.

During the current stay at home restrictions what can I and can’t I do?

I’ve heard about “rescue packs” from GP practices for people with Asthma. Is this true?

We have been made aware of some inaccurate information circulating regarding special ‘rescue packs’ for patients with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

While “rescue packs” for people with illnesses such as COPD do exist, they are usually given to patients as part of their clinical management plan for a flare-up or exacerbation of their COPD, not to prevent COVID19.

If you have Asthma, COPD or any other respiratory condition you are at increased risk and should follow the government’s advice to self isolate by staying at home and restricting contact with other people as much as possible. People with severe asthma should follow the full advice for people considered to be extremely vulnerable which can be found here.

Please do not contact your GP practice for a rescue pack. You should continue to manage your condition in the usual way and if you feel you have symptoms of COVID-19, go to NHS 111 online before doing anything else. Continue to use your preventer inhaler as prescribed and keep your blue reliever inhaler handy in case you need to use it. You can telephone your GP practice or normal nurse if you have any concerns or need other advice about your condition. Please monitor your medication carefully and order new inhalers as and when you need them – but please only order what you need and in plenty of time – you can have someone collect your prescription for you or have it delivered if your pharmacy offers this.

Please help us to help you by only ordering the medication that you need and please do not ask for more than 28 days supply.

What provisions are available for the Fylde Coast’s mental health patients during the self-isolation period?

These uncertain times can be difficult for people with mental health issues and patients can be assured that support can still be accessed when needed. All services are abiding by the latest government advice and therefore services are changing the way they support patients. As with many other health services, appointments can now take place by telephone or by video consultations, so that face-to-face contact is minimised for the safety of everyone. Face to face support, however, is still available for those who really need it and want it.

If anyone is struggling with their mental health we would advise them to access Big White Wall at www.bigwhitewall.com which is a free online mental health support service available 24 hours a day and is completely anonymous.

For further information on changes to services, and access to health and wellbeing support during the Coronavirus outbreak, go to the service changes page.

What should I do if I am, or know someone that is extremely vulnerable from COVID-19? What is ‘Shielding’?

The Government and NHS has issued some guidance for people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) because of an underlying health condition, and for their family, friends and carers. It is intended for use in situations where the extremely vulnerable person is living in their own home, with or without additional support. This includes the extremely clinically vulnerable people living in long-term care facilities, either for the elderly or persons with special needs.

Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. We are strongly advising people with serious underlying health conditions (listed below) which put them at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) to rigorously follow shielding measures in order to keep themselves safe.

People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include:

  1. Solid organ transplant recipients
  2. People with specific cancers:
    • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer
    • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
    • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
    • people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
    • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs
  3. People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.
  4. People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).
  5. People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
  6. Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.

You can read the full guidance here.

How can I stop the spread of COVID-19? What is Social Distancing?

Social distancing is what the Government and NHS are advising people to do to avoid contact with others and help prevent the virus from spreading.

It is why many people are now being told to work from home and many social venues such has restaurants and clubs have been closed.

Everyone, especially those at risk of more serious illness if they catch COVID-19 are being asked to distance themselves from other people as much as possible.

The guidance for social distancing can be found here.

What is self-isolating?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you need to completely stay away from other people to prevent the spread of the virus.

You’ll need to stay at home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.

Staying at home means you should:

  • not go to work, school or public areas
  • not use public transport or taxis
  • not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home
  • not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home

You can find out more about self-isolating, especially if you live with other people on the government website here or on the NHS website here.

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19

You can seek more advice by going through the NHS 111 online service.

You then need to make sure you self isolate for seven days. You can find out more about that here.

What if I have an emergency but am self-isolating due to symptoms of COVID-19?

Ideally you would need to go through NHS 111 for advice, especially if the emergency is related to your COVID-19 symptoms, however if it is a life-threatening emergency then please call 999 but make sure you tell the controller that you are in self isolation.

Can I still make a GP appointment

Yes you can.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (continous cough or a temperature over 37.8C) then please DO NOT call your GP practice. Instead visit NHS 111 online or call NHS111.

If you need a GP appointment for anything other than COVID-19 then please call your GP as normal or use the online booking system if it is available to you.

For some appointments you may be asked to have a telephone consultation initially to avoid you having to go to the practice. You may even be asked to have your consultation via video link and this will be explained to you if it is possible.

Where do I find more information?

The best place to find information is on the nhs website at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Or you could go to the gov.uk website here.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. (WHO definition)

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.  In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.  (WHO definition)

Last updated on 17 June 2020 at 10:37 by communications and engagement manager