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C&H Update on Corona and how we are managing

At C&H we are working on a keep calm and carry on sensibly approach to the Coronavirus situation.  This is an unprecedented situation which is full of uncertainty and a troubling time for all.C&H is a small, local independent business and we have always followed the policies and procedures which are set out by our professional and statutory bodies, in many cases going beyond the basic recommendations.

We are closely monitoring the situation and are receiving regular updates from NHS England and all our other professional bodies and are making informed decisions on the information with which we are provided.  As we receive new information and guidance, we are acting on it.

To give you peace of mind, these are some of the additional steps that we are taking – many of which are routine and are just being carried out more often throughout the day.

  • The practices are cleaned regularly throughout the week, however currently we have taken more steps to ensure cleanliness and to reduce the risk of any bacteria or virus affecting staff and patients.
  • We have always had hand washing facilities and hand sanitiser available for patient use, these are being used more than ever as we are actively encouraging all visitors to the practice to follow the NHS and Government guidance on hand washing more frequently.
  • All surfaces and regularly touched contact surfaces such as door handles are being disinfected regularly throughout the day.
  • All staff are hand washing and using sanitiser between patients.
  • We are disinfecting all the spectacles on display regularly throughout the day and at the end of the day
  • We are disinfecting spectacles when they arrive from the London and Kent spectacle glazing labs where they are made and assembled.  We have been informed that the labs are doing the same before they send out for delivery.
  • We are asking all patients at time of booking if they have any symptoms of Coronavirus and any coughs or colds, and also if they have been to any of the infected areas – if they have, we are advising staying at home, self-isolating and contacting 111 if symptoms worsen. This guidance has been provided to us by NHS England.

As we are a small business, this is a really worrying time and we appreciate all the support we can get.  We are trying to keep to business as normal as much as possible.  We hope to remain open and offer our services as much as we can and continue to serve our patients. 

We are part of the Minor Eye Conditions Scheme (MECS) which offers emergency eye appointments.  We wish to keep open as much as possible to reduce the number of people attending hospitals and  to reduce the burden on the NHS eye departments at this time.

If you are unsure of your eye symptoms and feel you may need an appointment but are concerned, please call and explain your situation and one of the optometrists will call you back.  We can make an informed decision with you, if you need an appointment, and if you fall into one of the more vulnerable groups, we will do our utmost to make your visit as safe as we possibly can.

Other ideas which we are exploring and are dependent upon the Governments guidance in the next few days are:

  1. Home delivery service of spectacles to those in self-isolation who cannot get to the practice and need their spectacles
  2. We can change contact lens deliveries to home addresses – please let us know by calling the practice if this will help you
  3. We are looking to open earlier and later on some days and keep these slots just for patients who are in the vulnerable groups – we will keep the staff to a minimum and also limited number of patients in the practice at the time.
  4. We are also leaving gaps between appointments to reduce patient contact in the practice.
  5. Making appointments for the collection of spectacles, so that the practices don’t become overcrowded.
  6. Social distancing – we have already moved waiting chairs around where possible to keep a distance between patients.
  7. Spectacle drop off – if you need any repairs – drop them off and we will repair and send back or drop off.

For the staff at C&H, we are implementing self-isolation and recommend that all staff follow the government’s guidance to protect not just themselves and their families, but co-workers and our patients.

Guidance over keeping eye area clean and clear

If you are concerned over keeping your eye area clean and clear due to any virus or infection, the best advice we can suggest is:

  1. Always have clean hands when touching face and/or eye area
  2. Always used cooled boiled water around the eye area and if using cotton wool, have a different piece for each eye to prevent cross infection
  3. If using something re-useable such as a flannel, use a clean one each time
  4. There are specially made wipes which can be used to keep the eye area clean, these are recommended to use once per day (or every other day) if there is no sign of infection. If you require any wipes, please ask and we will recommend the most suitable one.

If you have any eye concerns are unsure whether to attend for an appointment, please call us and let us know and we will discuss with you and make an informed decision and we will do our utmost to minimise any risks to all.

If you do have any further questions, please email and I will get back to you

Thank you for your support during this difficult time

Let’s all spread a smile and as we are opticians – the end will be in sight!

Take care and best wishes

Jo Cashell

Optometrist and Managing Director of C&H

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