IMPORTANT NOTE: You should have arrived at this page having been sent a link via text or email – if you have found this page another way this information probably does not apply to you.
You have been linked to this page because our records show
- You have diabetes
- Your last, long-term blood sugar test (HbA1C) was not to target
- It is over 3 months since we last checked it
- Treating your blood sugars to a target range is really important for your long term well being and health.
COVID pandemic and impact on your health care
At normal times we would simply call you in for your bloods. However we are working during the COVID pandemic and we are trying to limit unnecessary contacts for our patients and health professionals. The latest COVID modelling suggests the pandemic and some form of social distancing /lockdown is likely to continue well into 2021 unless a successful vaccine is produced. There are hopes this may occur in September 2020 but this is far from certain and thus we must assume on-going restrictions for longer than this. As a practice we do not think we can safely put all routine health monitoring on hold for this length of time as our patients’ health would start to deteriorate with increased risks of severe and permanent health problems such as strokes and heart attacks. This article sets out our thoughts and approach and aims to help you make an informed choice about how to take your care forwards during the pandemic.
Routine health checks
Routine blood tests for our patients living with long term conditions are key to helping our patients with diabetes minimise their risk of complications such as strokes and heart attacks. To make blood tests as safe as possible we have taken huge steps to try and maintain your safety:
- We operate a strict hot and cold site policy – anyone with a fever or symptoms of COVID is not allowed in any of our buildings but are seen in the COVID hot hub at Devonport.
- We check the temperatures of all staff and patients on arrival at our buildings (if anyone’s temperature is over 37.8 they are turned away)
- We ask patients and staff about symptoms of COVID infection in their household prior to any attendance at our buildings – they are not allowed in if they have any symptoms
- We have redesigned our waiting rooms to facilitate social distancing
- We have the minimum number of people in the building at any one time
- We ask all people arriving at our building to use alcohol gel on arrival
- We wear masks and gloves for all clinical contact to keep you safe
- If you do not have your own mask we will provide one for you when you enter the building
By taking these measures we feel we have minimised the risk of infection and bloods tests are as safe as they can be.
Hopefully all these measures will help you feel safe when you come in for your bloods tests. As a group of GPs we certainly feel that these tests are in your best interests: we think the risks to your long term health of uncontrolled diabetes or high blood pressures are far more significant than the small risk of contracting a serious COVID infection from entering our buildings.
We are mindful we cannot totally exclude any risk of transmission. Different people will have different views on risk. Some may feel that despite all the measures we have taken to keep you safe that they still do not want to attend for bloods, if this is your choice we will ]support you. However we think that the vast majority of our patients will feel safe and still want to come in for their blood tests and essential monitoring.
Alternatives to coming in
Whilst coming in for a blood test is probably the quickest and easiest option for monitoring your diabetes you do have other options that could work. If you have your own BM finger-prick sugar testing machines we can help you manage your diabetes using these. You generally only have these machines if you take insulin or gliclazide but during the pandemic we are happy to supply these to other patients if this strategy appeals to them.
To run your diabetes using your BM machine simply check your blood sugars most mornings before having anything to eat or drink. Aim to take your sugars at least 3 mornings per week.
- If you are young and well aim for a fasting blood sugar less than 7.0 on two out of every three tests.
- If you are older and living with frailty or nearing the end of your life a more relaxed target of 9.0 makes sense.
Keep a log of your readings and call us if you are above target on more than one test out of three and we can advise on what to do and whether you need to change your medicines.
If this appeals we would also recommend purchasing a blood pressure monitor if you do not already have one – these can be purchased at your pharmacy or online at major retailers such as Amazon for £20 or less.
Your options now:
We would like you to complete a review to help us see how your Diabetes is currently being managed via our econsult service found https://pathfields.webgp.com/reviews.
Please have a think and let us know what you would like to do: your options are as follows:
- Book in for your bloods +/- and foot check with other essential monitoring (we will do it all in a single appointment where possible). Please ask for review 53 when booking and ask reception for a sample pot and provide a urine sample on arrival before your appointment
- Ask for a BM testing machine (contact us via phone or econsult and we will discuss with you in more detail to confirm it really is the right thing for you)
- Snooze your reminders for these tests (contact our admin team by phone or econsult and ask for your reminders to be snoozed)
- Do nothing– if you do nothing we will keep sending you reminders to books tests every 2 weeks by text /email and you can choose to action them or ignore them
We hope you found this article helpful and we hope to continue helping you achieve optimal health now and in the futures.
The Pathfields Team