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People not masked in my Doctors' Surgery

Yesterday, I had to attend my doctor’s surgery, after being advised to do so by a 111 doctor. I could not believe that most of the people in the waiting room, including the receptionists were unmasked and also people were there with spouses. It was jammed packed and I asked if I could sit in the hallway separately. The receptionist kindly got me a chair and I sat in the hallway by a window, which I asked to be opened.

When I got to see my GP, he was also maskless but at least had his window open. He had previously caught Covid himself last year. To say that I am shocked that there were so many maskless people around in the waiting room was very scary and freaked me out. It made me not only feel vulnerable, but thinking that was I the odd one out. I thought we were still in a pandemic where people were dying, yet people in that waiting room were acting like Covid had never existed.

Next week, I will now have to go and get my flu jab and stand in a line with a group of people. I pray that being older people, they may have more sense and be masked, but I will ask that they will keep their distance as we line up for this jab.

I wonder if any other forum users have had to go to their surgery and see full of maskless people or am I just reacting over the top.

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Oh @Lulu999, I think the problem is that the government have lifted all restrictions to this country and said that we have to learn to live with Covid and that is the vast majority of our population. It is really only the vulnerable population and those closest to us that are listening to our medical professionals.
I am realising that I cannot change the behaviour of others, I can ask, but I just have to keep myself as safe as possible.
Because I am self isolating and going out very occasionally I really notice the changes of behaviours, I think if I was interacting with people daily I would not notice the changes of behaviours gradually happening as much.
This means it feels a very scary place for us out there.
You are right the number of active Covid cases is still rising locally here.
I have to go to my surgery and hospital later in the month and I will report back.
Look after yourself.

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Thanks Erica. You take care too. I have to have a scan which will be private, according to my GP due to the backlog, so do not know at this time how I will get there as we do not drive, will not take public transport and have nobody who could take us. Not sure yet but it may be I will have to travel to get my third vaccine as well.

Yes it is very scary out there. I find most of my stress sadly is from dealing with the NHS, although if the government was working properly and efficiently, the NHS would not be in the way it is at present.

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I am genuinely gobsmacked at that scenario at your GP !!

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Blimey, that’s horrendous, @Lulu999! My GP’s surgery insists on masks, hand sanitising and social distancing for all, thank goodness. I’m not surprised you felt very vulnerable and horrified. Really shocking.

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Oh and I didn’t answer your question - my GP surgery insist on facemasks, just have a couple of chairs dotted around but so far I was the sole person sat there !! Our city hospital the same , just one person in for any appointments, you queue at the main entrance with your appointment letter and see someone who checks your letter, ensures yuh have a face mask and asks for usual have you had in the last 14 days … Inside the hospital everyone without exception has masks on. Even my very good dentist that I attended recently first time since the start of the pandemic were organised like a military operation sit in your car, receptionist pops out takes your temperature , makes sure you have been vaccinated and the dentist fetches you from the cad when when your turn !! Even my dogs vets are doing the same process!! In other words your GP surgery is failing - I feel for you

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Hello @Lulu999. I am really sorry that you had this experience at your doctors surgery. I visited mine last week and everyone was wearing a mask and sitting at a distance from one another. I would quite understand if you don’t feel well enough to follow this up, but I think I would maybe email the Practice Manager and express your concerns as I am sure you’re not the only patient to feel the way you do. Send warm wishes. Willow

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Hil Jilly 20 - When you said about your dog’s vet even being safe - that was it. I will write to the Practice Manager about what I found. However, I cannot see them hiring bouncers to make sure patients wear masks, but I think that is what is really needed at this surgery.

My GP was not setting a great example either, although at least he had the window open. I am suppose it is like on London Transport these days, not enough enforcers around.

At the same time, wish Blood Cancer UK could do something to make patients and GP surgeries more aware of our situation, so people will wear masks in surgery waiting rooms. I feel most people do not know about the vulnerability of blood cancer patients and other vulnerables and they should know about this; perhaps some would be more considerate if made better aware of our circumstances.

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Yes, me too. My go centre has been really careful precautions wise. Luck of the draw again!

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Hi @Lulu999, that really is totally unacceptable. You must have been completely panicked. I thought as part of the NHS at least the staff would have to wear masks, everyone does in the hospital. I just don’t get it, double jabbed people can still pass Covid onto others, more vulnerable than themselves, including the Doctor. I had to have some stitches removed and I asked if the hospital staff would do it rather than going to my surgery as I have very little resistance to anything after a stem cell transplant. Luckily they did, the thought of going to the surgery just freaked me out. I’m not sure it would do any good but I would definitely voice my concerns to PALS if you can. I just wonder if it’s better to go to a little pharmacy and paying for the flu vaccine? When I had mine some months ago there was no-one there and we were just in a small cubicle, no waiting either and pretty cheap. Xx

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Hi Lyn99,

Just received an email from the Complaints Person at my surgery - utterly disgusting. Saying it is govenment policy that shielding is now over. I wrote back saying that our local hospital has strict mask enforcement, as my husband has to attend theis hospital regularly re: his cancer treatment and other people attend surgeries where masks are required, but not this surgery.

I mentioned that we are to have our flu jab on Saturday week and when lining if in a “conga” line, I will ask that people in front and behind keep their distance. No doubt they will be unmasked and I wonder if they have got the Covid vaccine or are aysmptomatic.

I do not know what is more disgusting - that the surgery takes government advice run by an ignorant chancer or that ignores safe practice for its patients, of which people in our situation are extremely vulnerable.

At this stage, must wait until the beginning of November to find out about my third Covid vaccine - 28th of October is my 6th month anniversary. Agreed that I would call a surgery nurse to see what the situation is in early November. May need to go to the surgery for that if they will not do a home visit. Regardless I do not fancy going on public transport to have this done. All I can find out is that it will be Pfizer, after having two AZ jabs previously.

I am aslo waiting written confirmation of an MRI scan and I do not know where that will be held, but I am told it will be at a private facility due to the backlog. At this stage, may book a black cab for that, as they have a glass barrier between driver and customer, but will cross that bridge when I come to it. I at least will be masked and gloved for that too.

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Oh @Lulu999, you must feel completely powerless. The one voice of reason against a surgery that clearly can’t think for themselves and just go by the incredulous ignorance regarding the Covid policy. I don’t know what’s happened to the duty of care that should be top priority when running a medical establishment.

Thousands of people are still infected and thousands of people are still dying but it’s just become a statistic with little concern for loss of life and the grieving families left behind. Many people with 2 jabs are also dying so the ‘I’m alright Jack’ mentality isn’t necessarily the case. Wearing a mask is really our only defence, although if no-one else is wearing one I’m not sure if there is much protection. At least masks are still worn in hospitals (at the moment) so hopefully the scan should be less of a risk and good idea about the black cab.

I’m sorry that you have come up against a brick wall, all I can say is look after yourself the best you can. The email I received last week saying I no longer had to shield was only really fit for use in the toilet! Xx

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Hi @Lulu999 I said I would report back and I went for my 3rd vaccine today, everyone patient and medical where wearing masks and social distancing, I was very impressed so it just shows you some surgeries can and do follow Covid safety procedures.
I am so sorry you have had such a horrible experience.
Please try and look after yourself and if you do take it further, perhaps with your local CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group), please let us know how you get on.

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Hi Erica,

Glad you got your third vaccine and things went well. I will probably get mine the beginning of November and pray there are no complications mixing AZ with Pfizer. Before that, hopefully I will get an MRI scan to see what is wrong with my neck and shoulder blades. This will be non-NHS apparently, so wonder if they will also be mask-less like my surgery. Funny if they were masked. I will contact them when I get the appointment letter and tell them about my situation in the hope that they will take my situation into consideration and thoroughly clean their equipment.

So far, the NHS has been the cause of a lot of my anxiety and do not expect this to change. At least my husband’s cancer medical and support team are more on the ball, or at least cause us less aggro.

About going to the CCG, I feel going to that or even to the Health Ombudsman would be a waste of time. Independence of thought or common sense would be nice, but I do not think it will happen. If Boris told the country to put their heads in the toilet and drink the water, there would be those who would do that. Brains parked up their behind! I listen to the medical or scientific profession, not a bunch of ignorant, uncaring and on-the-make politicians. I will just tell people to keep their distance from me, if necessary and explain (educate) why, if I see mask-less people next Saturday, when we get our flu jabs at the surgery.

So besides the flu jab, the third vaccination and the MRI scan, a lot more and unecessary stress down the road for me. It is all so unnecessary and only due to government disorganisation and indifference to people in our situation.

Take care.

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I completely understand where you are coming from. Slowly but surely I’m noticing Covid safely measures disappearing too. I understand risk to healthier people is lower than for those of us in the blood cancer community, and feel the burden of keeping safe has well and truly shifted to our shoulders.

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Our surgery still insists on mask wearing and as a cancer patient I’m very grateful- they may well keep it up too as less chance of catching others germs- and the chairs are 2 meters apart in waiting room so they don’t book many in at a time

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Dear Lulu999
I am so sorry that you had this scary experience. It is so difficult, in the moment, when all you want to do is walk out. My flu jab, third full Covid jab and a blood test in the emergency clinic were all positive experiences. I saw everyone putting their masks on as they approached the building. It was reassuring having just left Valencia region in Spain everyone 6yrs + is wearing a mask in town etc where people gather. I felt unnerved when back in my home town in England and popped into the library and the queue to use the computer was tightly packed despite all the space being available. I could feel my heart rate increase and waited for them to leave. It does feel that people are immune to the news of Covid. The risk of long Covid is still there for us.

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Hi there, Lulu999 and GrandmaJo
Had my third dose of Covid vaccine yesterday, everyone masked and they apologised for the queue but the ‘computer had gone down’ which messed up the careful appointment system!!
It is sad here in England that so many people are ignoring guidance ref. social distancing/masks everywhere (including public transport). Just returned from a great holiday in Scotland where it’s completely different - everyone wears masks/social distance in shops, cafes etc., and respects that we’re still living with the risks . . .
Messaging in England seems to be all wrong - how can we get it changed though?

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Hi @beverleyanny, I don’t understand how conditions vary so much from one doctors surgery to another here. I think that Scotland were much more careful and organised through the pandemic and are clearly still aware of the dangers. I don’t know what’s happened to England other than the people at the top just ignoring the risks and many people following like sheep. I have great admiration for any individuals making a stand in their own establishments, not following the official advice and still keeping social distancing etc.

I’ve written to my conservative mp but it was fruitless. I know that Blood Cancer UK do their best to highlight our situation but sadly I don’t think there is much that anyone can do to change the lack of concern for life that has been so evident since the start of the pandemic and continues here. Remember the ‘let the bodies pile high comment’, how can you reason with this kind of Government?

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Your lucky to get inside our doctors, it’s in darkness. It reminds me of the Marie Celeste.

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