Face Coverings – When to wear one and how to make your own

We are aware that some patients might be understandably anxious about the Government’s recent announcements around the use of face masks in various public settings.

GPs are unfortunately not in a position to provide individual risk assessments or letters for patients who feel that they should be exempt from wearing a face mask.

The current guidance suggests there is no requirement for the public to provide medical evidence for exemption from wearing face masks therefore a self-declaration should be sufficient.

For full guidance on the use and exemptions of face coverings, please visit the .GOV website.

Announcement – Dr Joanne Mellody is leaving the Practice

The Castle Medical Group wish to inform everyone that Dr Joanne Mellody will be leaving the Practice and the Partnership at the end of July of this year.

Joanne has been with the Practice since 2007 when she joined as a registrar, she then stayed on as a salaried GP before becoming a Partner.

Joanne will be taking up a post as a salaried GP at another practice closer to home.

It has been a difficult decision for Joanne to make, but she hopes it will give her a shorter commute and a better work/life balance.

We wish Joanne all the best in her new position and for the future.  She will be sadly missed.

Dispensary Home Delivery Service

A Home Delivery Service during a Pandemic is provided by our Dispensary to at-risk dispensing patients who are required to isolate for 12 weeks.

Please ask when ordering your prescription about the arrangements we have in place.

The Dispensary Team – 01200 413585

Advice for parents during coronavirus

Whilst coronavirus is infectious to children it is rarely serious. If your child is unwell it is likely to be a non-coronavirus illness, rather than coronavirus itself.

Whilst it is extremely important to follow Government advice to stay at home during this period, it can be confusing to know what to do when your child is unwell or injured.

Remember that NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same safe care that they have always done. Here is some advice to help:

COVID-19 Privacy Notice

(This Privacy Notice is to run alongside our standard Practice Privacy Notice)

Due to the unprecedented challenges that the NHS and we, THE CASTLE MEDICAL GROUP face due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, there is a greater need for public bodies to require additional collection and sharing of personal data to protect against serious threats to public health.

In order to look after your healthcare needs in the most efficient way we, THE CASTLE MEDICAL GROUP may therefore need to share your personal information, including medical records, with staff from other GP Practices including Practices within our Primary Care Network, as well as other health organisations (ie Clinical Commissioning Groups, Commissioning Support Units, Local authorities etc.) and bodies engaged in disease surveillance for the purposes of research, protecting public health, providing healthcare services to the public and monitoring and managing the Covid-19 outbreak and incidents of exposure.

The Secretary of State has served notice under Regulation 3(4) of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (COPI) to require organisations to process confidential patient information in the manner set out below for purposes set out in Regulation 3(1) of COPI.

Purpose of this Notice

The purpose of this Notice is to require organisations such as THE CASTLE MEDICAL GROUP to process confidential patient information for the purposes set out in Regulation 3(1) of COPI to support the Secretary of State’s response to Covid-19 (Covid-19 Purpose). “Processing” for these purposes is defined in Regulation 3(2) and includes dissemination of confidential patient information to persons and organisations permitted to process confidential patient information under Regulation 3(3) of COPI. This Notice is necessary to require organisations such as THE CASTLE MEDICAL GROUP to lawfully and efficiently process confidential patient information as set out in Regulation 3(2) of COPI for purposes defined in regulation 3(1).

Requirement to Process Confidential Patient Information

The Secretary of State has served notice to recipients under Regulation 3(4) that requires THE CASTLE MEDICAL GROUP to process confidential patient information, including disseminating to a person or organisation permitted to process confidential patient information under Regulation 3(3) of COPI.

THE CASTLE MEDICAL GROUP is only required to process such confidential patient information:

• where the confidential patient information to be processed is required for a Covid-19 Purpose and will be processed solely for that Covid-19 Purpose in accordance with Regulation 7 of COPI

• from 20th March 2020 until 30th September 2020.

Covid-19 Purpose

A Covid-19 Purpose includes but is not limited to the following:

• understanding Covid-19 and risks to public health, trends in Covid-19 and such risks, and controlling and preventing the spread of Covid-19 and such risks

• identifying and understanding information about patients or potential patients with or at risk of Covid-19, information about incidents of patient exposure to Covid-19 and the management of patients with or at risk of Covid-19 including: locating, contacting, screening, flagging and monitoring such patients and collecting information about and providing services in relation to testing, diagnosis, self-isolation, fitness to work, treatment, medical and social interventions and recovery from Covid-19

• understanding information about patient access to health services and adult social care services and the need for wider care of patients and vulnerable groups as a direct or indirect result of Covid-19 and the availability and capacity of those services or that care

• monitoring and managing the response to Covid-19 by health and social care bodies and the Government including providing information to the public about Covid-19 and its effectiveness and information about capacity, medicines, equipment, supplies, services and the workforce within the health services and adult social care services

• delivering services to patients, clinicians, the health services and adult social care services workforce and the public about and in connection with Covid-19, including the provision of information, fit notes and the provision of health care and adult social care services

• research and planning in relation to Covid-19.

Recording of processing

A record will be kept by THE CASTLE MEDICAL GROUP of all data processed under this Notice.

Sending Public Health Messages

Data protection and electronic communication laws will not stop THE CASTLE MEDICAL GROUP from sending public health messages to you, either by phone, text or email as these messages are not direct marketing.

Digital Consultations

It may also be necessary, where the latest technology allows THE CASTLE MEDICAL GROUP to do so, to use your information and health data to facilitate digital consultations and diagnoses and we will always do this with your security in mind.

Visitors to The Practice

We have an obligation to protect our staff and employees’ health, so it is reasonable for staff at THE CASTLE MEDICAL GROUP to ask any visitors to our practice to tell us if they have visited a particular country, or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. This must only be in pre-approved circumstances and we would also ask all patients to consider government advice on the NHS 111 website and not attend the practice.

Where it is necessary for us to collect information and specific health data about visitors to our practice, we will not collect more information than we need, and we will ensure that any information collected is treated with the appropriate safeguards.

Review and Expiry of this Notice

This Notice will be reviewed on or before 30 September 2020 and may be extended by The Secretary of State. If no further notice is sent to THE CASTLE MEDICAL GROUP by The Secretary of State this Notice will expire on 30 September 2020.

National Data Opt-Out Programme

NHS Digital is developing a new system to support the national data opt-out which will give patients more control over how confidential patient information is used. The system will offer patients and the public the opportunity to make an informed choice about whether they wish their confidential patient information to be used just for their individual care and treatment or also used for research and planning purposes.

Patients and the public who decide they do not want their confidential patient information used for planning and research purposes will be able to set their national data opt-out choice online.

For further opt-out information, please visit the NHS Digital site:

And if you would like to opt-out, you can follow the process using the link below;

Our practice policy on this subject is available to review below:

Young & Widowed

When you suffer a bereavement, your world can feel like it has stood still. Everyday tasks can seem impossible and supporting other members of your family a challenge. The Sanctuary in Langho are there to help and support you through your journey, run and set up by others in the same situation to offer a listening ear and friendship. Please see the leaflet below for more information.