I am writing to you with another update about coronavirus issues.
As you will have heard, the rules and the guidance changed this week to limit meetings to six people. This can be indoors or outdoors, as the autumn and winter are coming soon.
I have received a number of questions about the detail of the changes. The full detail of what was announced is here.
The important thing is to make sure that there isn’t a resurgence of the virus in our area. At the moment the incidence remains pretty low compared with other areas, but none of us want to see it start to spread again here.
Access to GP services locally
I have also received a number of questions about access to GP services locally. GPs have remained open throughout the crisis, though practices have changed their ways of working. In particular most appointments are now made online. However if people do not have access to a computer to book an appointment, they can still do so by phone. This is the guidance I have received.
All practices across Surrey have introduced a digital software platform called ‘Footfall’. This saves time for patients in allowing them to register an issue 24/7, seven days a week with their practice. The software will direct the issue to the right service who in turn will respond. However this is only to complement services already available from the practice including being able to ring and book an appointment. We realise not all patients want to use a digital approach and that is completely acceptable. To be honest the vast majority of all work in general practice is still being carried out by phone.
If you are looking for a new job at the moment, the local Job Centre Plus team have asked me to tell people that they are currently recruiting new work coaches for claimants. The details are at www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk.
Face coverings and deafness
I have had a request from a constituent who works to support deaf people to remind everyone locally that the widespread wearing of masks can cause problem for people with hearing impairments and who normally depend on lip reading. There are some helpful suggestions about this here.
For anyone who is still worried about going out shopping locally, I would just reassure you that social distancing measures and hygiene measures are routine in all our local centres, and local businesses are taking great care over the pandemic. Most people are also wearing masks when shopping, and I would urge everyone to do so. It’s not just about protecting against the virus – it’s also a reassurance for anyone who is nervous about being out shopping.