With the emergence of the Omicron variant the NHS is again being asked to support a national campaign to reduce the impact of coronavirus through delivering booster vaccinations at unprecedented pace.
The case rates in Merton are now very high and rising quickly. This may mean that some of our routine primary care appointments may need to be delayed as we focus on urgent care and the delivery of vaccinations.
We want to assure you that the practice is open as usual for all urgent health care needs and we will continue to provide care in the surgery, on the phone and online during our opening hours 08:00 – 18:30.
Additional urgent GP appointments are available at weekends and Bank Holidays from 8am to 8pm from the 18th December to the 16th January and can be arranged by calling 03333386570.
Outside of these times please call 111.
The current population rates of coronavirus are currently very high and rising rapidly.
The practice is open to see you in person, online, or on the phone if needed. We are continuing to use telephone triage to keep our patients safe. Some conditions can be managed remotely and we know this is convenient for some patients, this makes it safer and easier for those who need to come to the surgery to do so.
If you have symptoms that could indicate an infectious illness we will see you in our isolation room and will ask you to wait away from the main waiting area in order to keep other patients safe. Please ensure you follow these instructions clearly.
There are also things that you can do to help reduce the potential for transmission within the surgery.
- Please arrive on time (not early) for your appointment to reduce time in the waiting room
- Please wear a mask at all times during the building
- Wash or sanitize your hands before entering and when you leave
- Consider taking a lateral flow test before attending the practice.
The symptoms of coronavirus infection are often mild to start with and are often similar to many other viral illnesses with symptoms including muscle aches, headache, sore throat and tiredness as well as the well-known cough, fever and loss of smell. If in any doubt about your symptoms please book a formal PCR viral swab via: www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
If you need support during this difficult time please contact the Merton Community hub Covid-19 Community Response Hub (mertonconnected.co.uk). You can call them on 0208 066 4086 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about the covid situation in the borough is available on Merton Council’s website Coronavirus | Merton Council. We recommend signing up for email updates.
Vaccines are our most powerful defence again coronavirus and will help keep you and those around you safe, and to bring the pandemic to an end. Vaccines are proving safe and effective.
Anyone who has not yet had a vaccination should have one now. No appointment is needed, the clinics are listed here. Walk-in and pop up vaccination clinics – South West London CCG (swlondonccg.nhs.uk) or book using the national booking system here www.nhs.uk/book-coronavirus-vaccination
If you feel worried about having a vaccination please discuss with clinic staff or one of our team who will be happy to talk this through with you.
Booster vaccinations are our main defence against the Omicron variant – all patients over 18 who are more than 91 days from their second vaccination can book a booster now.
Additional clinics are taking place at the Nelson Health Centre and Wilson Hospital, as well as Centre Court Shopping centre and other sites in the borough. Appointments are often not necessary.
All details can be found here: Walk-in and pop up vaccination clinics – South West London CCG (swlondonccg.nhs.uk)
Or use the national booking system to book coronavirus boosters https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/
Our reception staff are not able to prioritise people for booster vaccination nor arrange ‘Covid passports’ as the process is managed nationally.
Our reception is staffed by patient care navigators from 7am until 8pm Monday to Friday and is open. We have always offered (and continue to offer) face-to-face appointments to those who want and need them throughout the pandemic. Over recent months we have however seen a significant surge in demand and are currently handling over 1,000 calls on average each day. We are providing over 1800 appointments per week – the majority in person.
We have noted an intermittent problem with the telephone system in that occasionally people are on hold for extended periods of time. We have therefore taken the decision to replace our telephony provider, which we hope will significantly improve the service. We apologise for the inconvenience whilst we do this and appreciate your patience and understanding whilst we make these changes.
We understand call waiting times can be frustrating but ask that you remain patient with our team. You can also you the online symptom checker ‘doctor link’ to access care directly, or use the ‘contact us button’.
We know that winter can be a particularly challenging time for all of us, particularly so in the current pandemic. If you have an urgent mental health concern please do call our practice team in hours. There are also many service that you can access directly:
Merton Uplift continues to offer access to psychological therapies and you can contact them directly by calling 020 3513 5888. They also run workshops in various areas including “Alcohol, Mood and Emotions”, “Feeling Confident coming out of Lockdown” and “Managing Sleep”. These are arranged through Merton uplift visiting. www.eventbrite.co.uk/merton-uplift
Off the record offer talking therapy for 11 – 25 years olds https://www.talkofftherecord.org/merton/
Kooth offer online support https://www.kooth.com/
Mental health crisis care can be accessed via 0800 028 8000
The Samaritans are available throughout the winter period via 116 123