Community Coordinator / Social Prescriber
Many of you will know that five years ago the RSPG started the project to employ someone locally to pick up the non-medical support needed by members of our community and not covered by the NHS. Thanks to the generosity of so many of you, we have a 300 Club that generated funds to pay for such a post. After a very successful couple of years our original postholder moved on and we have been without a replacement for several months. We are delighted to be able to tell you that a new person has been recruited formally as a Social Prescriber by the Arbennek Primary Care Network. Bridie Vinnicombe started this week and is based at Portscatho Surgery, 9 am – 5 pm Monday to Friday.
Bridie has a background within the NHS, working in both primary and secondary care, most recently working with elderly patients in the Ophthalmology Dept., and she is very keen to continue her patient-facing work. Bridie is available by phone(01872 580345) or face-to-face for our patients across the Roseland to offer support where you need it – this includes assisting patients with non-medical social issues, access to services, dealing with isolation/loneliness and supporting patients to gain the confidence to engage in activities themselves to improve physical and mental wellbeing. She is keen to forge relationships within the community.
The NHS would only fund 25 hours of Bridie’s time so it is entirely thanks to the members of the 300 Club that we have been able to make this a full-time appointment of 37 hours per week. Hilary Box our previous postholder was usually working overtime to cope with the needs identified locally, so we know that this is a really important resource for our patients.
Now that travel restrictions are easing and more countries are opening up, so there is an upsurge in interest in getting away – either for a holiday or to see much-missed friends and family. To say that the conditions remaining in place that travellers must meet are confusing is a bit of an understatement!
Start with your travel agent, then a trawl of the government sites to check that they are up-to-date as things change so very fast. Also, worth looking at the website of the government of your destination to check their current conditions for entry.
Basically, you are going to need a fit to travel certificate plus evidence of your double vaccination. Lots of guidance here.
The double vaccination proof is easy if you have downloaded the NHS App onto a smartphone – and that too is very straightforward – click here – If you have not got a smartphone then you can apply for proof of your status in writing by phoning 119 – but this takes 5 days minimum.
The travel permit certificate is trickier as you need to have that certificate within 72 hours before you fly. This travel permit requires you to take a PCR test NOT a lateral flow test – that won’t do, and you will be turned back from our border. The PCR test is a private test, and the Surgery cannot offer that service nor can any NHS vaccination centre. So, it becomes a question of choosing a private test provider – trawl the internet – a quick look just now revealed prices between £59 and £199 as companies jump on the bandwagon to make a quick buck or two – the best price was at Heathrow for the £59, Brittany Ferries for a posted test kit is £45. You can probably get that down further by searching. The essential calculation for you is to allow exactly the right time between taking the test and departure and that must not be more than 72 hours. Also suggest you make sure – preferably in writing – that the company you choose for your test WILL deliver within your time scale – the cheapest may not be the best!
Our Surgery has been inundated with emails and queries about travel – here is what our Practice Manager has just sent to clarify their position – please don’t take up their time with this sort of query – they are a health/medical service not a travel agent!
Antigen Blood Tests (PCR): A few patients have reported that they have been asked by their travel operator to provide proof of their Covid-antibody status by having a PCR / ‘Antigen Blood Test’. Again, this is NOT available on the NHS and any patient wanting to have such a test would have to get that by approaching a private provider. Please do not contact the surgery to ask for this.
Proof that you are ‘clear of Covid’: We are also aware that some people who have had a positive Covid result previously, and now want to travel abroad, are being asked by their travel operator to provide proof that they are clear of Covid. The surgery cannot provide this proof. Currently, you should be asked only to provide proof of a negative PCR test which you have undertaken as part of your travel planning.
Proof of your Vaccination Status: Our advice remains that you should download the NHS App and once registered, you will have vaccination information within the app that you can share when asked. If you are unable to do this, or don’t have access to a smartphone/iphone, you can ring 119 and ask for a letter of proof of Covid vaccination. This letter will take a minimum of 5 days to be posted out to you and cannot be done until a minimum of 5 days has passed following your second vaccination. GP surgeries are NOT able to provide anyone with written proof of their Covid-vaccination status.
WHO Yellow Vaccination Card: GP Surgeries are NOT able to provide these Yellow Vaccination Cards which are apparently endorsed by the World Health Organisation. We are aware that you can buy these cards on Amazon, but we would not suggest this to our patients. Some patients are allegedly being asked to provide these as proof of vaccination status for travel. This is not something that is currently available on the NHS nor yet generally recommended.
Online Access to your Medical Records: You are entitled to have access to your medical records via an online platform linked to the clinical computer system at the surgery. There is a form that needs to be completed which can be downloaded from the surgery website. https://www.roselandsurgeries.co.uk
Once filled in, it should be brought to one of the surgery sites along with some photo-ID (driving licence, passport). We can then process that application and you will, within a couple of weeks, have access to coded data so you’ll be able to see all your vaccination status, medication/allergies.