These are rare times upon us, and if predictions are correct we are facing a serious threat.

As your doctors, when we are uncertain, our job is to return to what we know, trust the science and follow the protocols. It is likely only a very few patients will become significantly sick, most cases will not require our care.

It does feel like we are sitting out the back of the surf, past the waves, but the “ big set is coming “.So we all paddle towards the big ones, together.

This is a virus infection and if you have a healthy immune system, expect your own bodies defences to do the job. If you become unwell, we are here to manage the complications.

If we do see you, it will be to look for bacterial complications, we can treat with antibiotics.

In some cases we need to decide with you, when more intensive treatment (in hospital) is required.

We wish we had an immune system booster, but no such pill exists. Your best bet is, as always, a healthy diet, regular exercise and up to date immunisations. ( friends and pets help too)

If you are over 65 years old we recommend the Pneumococcal vaccine, or over 70 shingles vaccine. We are looking to this seasons’ influenza vaccine, soon.

Another part of managing Coronavirus is to triage patients, with early assessment and rational use of COVID 19 testing. We encourage you to call first before you attend the surgery, if you are at risk. Currently the risks apply only if you have have been overseas in the last 14 days and have developed an upper respiratory tract infection or fever.

Before long, for our patients, this criterion will extend to include “if you have had significant contact with a patient who are COVID 19 positive.” Let’s be honest this virus is coming, the figures elsewhere suggest when it arrives it spreads quickly.
It is easy to pass on and has few symptoms.
We can offer advice over the phone and teleconferencing will be available soon. We are working on better phone access. We may need to return your call later in the day. However if we need to see you, we have a field station set up, next to the surgery. We will need to “ gear up” if we see you, to prevent spread to other patients and keep staff safe.

There are systems to get medications to you safely, thanks to our Berry pharmacy.
There are so many messages out there. The importance of hand hygiene, the need to self isolate if you are waiting for tests, have travelled overseas or are COVID 19 positive.

Finally the need to be respectful of each other and calm and rational in our thinking, so we can manage the resources we have .

So friends, please know that we are putting together the best systems we can. We are the backstop if things go wrong. Berry is resilient, Please stay calm , follow the experts advice and contact us if you need assistance.

Cheers, friends and fellow surfers.

Neil Donovan on behalf of the doctors, nurses and all the staff at Berry Medical Centre.