Flu clinic – isolation not required

We have had a few people asking if they should isolate after coming for flu jabs on Saturday at the village hall. The vaccines were for more vulnerable people aged 18-64.

We would like to reassure you that the staff involved with the flu clinic have been asymptomatic and have been swab tested negative for COVID during this weekend.

The clinic was also a brief jab, in one door and out the other with all the precautions regarding ventilation, masks, gloves, alcohol gel and social distancing.

We must all remain alert that COVID is active in our community right now and follow the rules to protect those most at risk and to test if we have symptoms.

We still expect to be offering flu vaccine to all people aged 50-64 towards the end of November and will update the website when we have our vaccine delivery dates confirmed.

COVID within Hartland Surgery

Over the past few days, we have had a number of staff who have tested positive for COVID.

If you develop any of the following you should arrange a test through the government COVID website:

  1. A high temperature
  2. A new, continuous cough
  3. Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Remember that any one of these would be a reason for you to get tested.

We will therefore postpone all face to face contacts with a bare minimum telephone or email service in place to protect our patients. We also need to avoid staff working within the practice building where possible to prevent further spread. If your problem is not urgent, could you please give us 2 weeks to get the surgery back towards a more normal service.

If possible please contact us by email or eConsult through our practice website, and we can email or ring you back if required.

Shutdown afternoon Wednesday 7 October from 1pm

The practice is closed this Wednesday for a regional teaching afternoon from 1pm. This takes place each quarter for training. This means from 1pm the phone lines will not be answered and callers directed to 111. Our teaching program for North Devon features Diabetes, Respiratory conditions, early diagnosis of cancer and support for care homes.

We will still have medication collection today from 12-1 and 5-6pm.

Also you may be aware North Devon has featured in national news bulletins this morning due to problems with testing bloods due to national supply problems from Roche.

This has disrupted our blood testing capacity this week, caused lots of routine testing to be cancelled and generated worry for some of you who are awaiting test results. We are very sorry for the disruption. It has made us appreciate how good the normal service is, with many test results taken in the morning and results back later that evening. We are told normal service may take 2-3 weeks to resume, we really hope it may be sooner.

Flu Vaccine Update

Just a quick update regarding flu vaccine, the national NHS guidance is available here

  1. Over 65. We have done our over 65 group this last weekend, but we still have a small number available for any in this group who missed out. Please ring our reception team to book.
  2. Under 65 “at risk” (for example asthma or diabetes). We have an upcoming flu weekend on Saturday 24 October. You can check if you are “at risk” on this NHS page.
  3. Aged 50-64. This group will be offered flu vaccine this year, but we understand the supply of vaccine will be in December. We expect to have our supply confirmed later in November and we will update the website. Despite the later dates, we are advised there should be adequate supply of vaccine, we dont think you will “miss out”.

Flu – why am I asked to wait

Phone Switchover

*resolved*. Now working normally at 5pm, very sorry for problems with the phone for a few hours earlier this afternoon.

  • Our surgery number is moving to our new phone system this afternoon, Tuesday 1 September, but at the minute is ringing as engaged. We have contacted our supplier who reports it should move across shortly, but if you need to get in touch you can ring us on 01237 441111.

2020 Flu Clinics. Appointment Only.

We will be running flu clinics using Hartland Parish Hall on Saturday 26 September and Sunday 27 September 2020, These dates will be for over 65’s and we will offer immunisations to other groups later in the autumn and winter as our supply of vaccines will be spread out.
These will be by appointment only, and we will be arranging bookings shortly and sending invitations by SMS and telephone.
The parish hall should enable us to have a safe patient flow, in and through the building.

Vitamin B12 injections, option to try tablets instead

We have a number of people who have required regular B12 injections every 3 months, or 20 injections every 5 years. This is because they don’t absorb B12 normally, and without extra B12 they are at risk of developing anaemia (low blood count) and Neuropathy (nerve damage). But are we doing this the best way?

What if they take very high strength B12 tablets?

Rather than replace with a usual 50mcg dose, patients in Sweden are usually treated with high strength 1000mcg tablets, taken once daily, or sometimes two daily. This approach seems to allow B12 to “leak in” rather than to be absorbed.

We cannot prescribe these high strength “food supplements”, but they can be purchased online at Holland and Barrett, Ebay and Amazon. These may cost £7-20 for a years supply.

We would therefore like to offer our patients who require B12, to stop injections and consider the option of a blood test to check B12 levels after 3 months of tablets, then after 9 months of tablets and finally after 18 months of tablets. If they maintain good blood levels (and feel well), then we would no longer recommend routine testing.

Finally if you are coming for a B12 blood test, please dont take any B12 tablets for 3 days (to help us measure your body store, rather than how much you have recently absorbed).

New Healthy Hart website by Dr Ruth Tapsell

As mentioned in the Hartland Post, and especially with coronavirus being so dangerous to people with diabetes, obesity and blood pressure, we have collected our “low carb” online resources onto a simple website, called We think a low carb “eat real food” message can be of benefit to us all, especially people with health issues above.

Job opportunity for a Social Prescriber in Bideford/Torrington area

The GP surgeries in the Torridge Primary Care Network are looking for a social prescriber to join their multidisciplinary team. In this role you would be working with people to empower them to take control of their health and wellbeing. It is a part time position working across a number of sites with local GPs and with training and support provided by TTVS and One Northern Devon. We are keen to find an enthusiastic person with excellent people skills.

To apply, or to find out more, please see our advert on indeed on the link below. Closing date 12th May.

“plandemic” online video on social media

Some friends and family have asked us about the online “plandemic” video which has been forwarded on social media. This video suggests the Coronavirus epidemic is manmade, and designed to allow profit from vaccine makers.

Having watched the entire film, Its complete nonsense, but mixed with a sprinkle of truth to make it believable. I am worried about how it will affect people who are already worried enough about this serious pandemic.

There have also been stories suggesting COVID is caused by 5G next generation phone technology.

And even a few weeks ago wembley stadium had to deny they were turning the stadium into a giant oven to cook lasagna.

So to all our patients, please stay safe, trust and follow national advice and please don’t forward along any utter nonsense which is sent to you in social media. Some worried people are losing their minds.