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Medical appointments exempt from restrictions: Keeping patients safe

Dear patients and professional colleagues,

We hope that you are all keeping well.

Sadly another lockdown is needed, but the Government has been very clear that medical appointments are exempt from the restrictions.  Some of the conditions we see are very treatable conditions if identified and managed, but can be sight-threatening if not.  We will continue to care for our patients as normal in our safe clinic environment with strict hygiene and social distancing protocols in place (see below).

We have also been carrying out surgery very successfully for some months now, ensuring that national procedures regarding self-isolation and Covid testing are adhered to prior to surgery.

Procedures in place for your visit to the Clinic:

  • Patients arriving at the Clinic will be given a sterile face mask, asked questions about current health, have their temperature taken and will be asked to sanitise their hands.
  • Only the patient will be allowed to enter the London Clinic Eye Centre. We have to maintain social distancing where at all possible. Whilst we have ample space, this is jeopardised if patients are accompanied by relatives, partners or friends. This rule currently applies to the vast majority of private and NHS hospitals. Relatives who come by car will be asked to wait in the car. The only exception to this rule is designated carers. If there are concerns or problems with this then please let us know in advance of any visit.
  • Rest assured that strict social distancing rules are applied in our waiting rooms.  We’re fortunate in that even on our floor we have 4 separate areas for patients – although with appointments more spaced out, it’s unlikely they would ever all be used.
  • Mark and Avni wear disposable gloves and aprons which are changed for each patient. Rooms are disinfected between patients.  All practice staff wear masks.

We have redesigned and streamlined the patient journey in order to reduce the waiting time by:

  • Minimising essential tests – for example we will not usually dilate patients’ pupils. Where possible, we will avoid performing visual fields when another test will do.  For example, with the OCT scan, we can broadly maintain the 2-meter separation rule, so we rely more on these tests. We have a new eye pressure machine which is quicker, more comfortable and minimises close-up examination time (Icare tonometer).  Where possible, Mark and Avni will avoid the slit-lamp test as this involves closer doctor/patient contact (although patients are protected by a plastic screen for when it’s necessary). We will also minimise the use of drops.
  • Either Sandrine or Anabela will be in the office to book your follow-up appointments and any further tests or treatments. Payments can safely be made on the day or afterwards via bank transfer/secured online payment.
  • We are of course always contactable on non-clinic days during the week via telephone or email.  The practice is (thankfully) totally electronic and we all have secure access to everyone’s notes and accounts.

Please rest assured that coming in to see us is as safe as it possibly can be.  Obviously if your journey is difficult, or you would prefer to postpone for another reason, please let us know and Mark will review your file and let you know how long it’s safe to postpone for.

Our priority over the last few months has been to manage our patients’ care as safely as possible, and we’re very confident that we’re set up to do that.

All the very best and keep safe.

Mark, Sandrine, Avni and Anabela