Now more than ever, international visitors may be concerned about accessing urgent healthcare during their time in the UK. NHS providers are overwhelmed at the moment, so private healthcare is the best way to ensure you get seen quickly.

The Mayfair GP is able to offer private healthcare treatment to international travellers in the UK. We can provide medical treatment as and when needed, whether you are covered by your healthcare insurance or not.

We can also offer flexibility, with appointments available in the daytime or the evenings, to suit your needs and schedule.

Travelling into the UK has recently changed with many new rules and laws around testing and quarantine. The Mayfair GP team will help you navigate this daunting task. We can help you with information, booking tests etc. at every step.

Test to release

One major interest for visitors to the UK at the moment is the availability of test-to-release provision. This allows you to minimise your time in isolation on arrival in the country.

The Mayfair GP is a private provider of the test-to-release service and is meeting the standards laid out by UKAS (the United Kingdom Accreditation Service). This means the government is confident that we can test safely and effectively.

We can offer Covid-19 testing in your home or hotel room at any time of day. We will courier your samples to the lab, with the aim of getting your results as quickly as possible. A negative Covid-19 test* result five days into your isolation period will allow you to stop isolating and move around as freely as current lockdown conditions permit.

*this is in addition to the tests that everyone must take on or before day 2 of their quarantine period.

Urgent private healthcare

Having an accident or a sudden illness is scary enough. But it can be particularly scary when in a foreign country, and especially during a global pandemic.

Should you suffer an unexpected medical need whilst in the UK, The Mayfair GP is here to help. Our flexibility extends not only to the timing of our appointments, but also to their location. If necessary, we are happy to visit you in your hotel room or rental accommodation.

We can also help with hospital admissions if needed, as well as providing any necessary supplementary medical care. We work closely with the embassies, to ensure that your doctor at home, as well as your family, are kept updated.

Ongoing medical issues

Of course, urgent care isn’t the only reason you might need access to medical treatment whilst in the UK. If you have a long-term illness or medical condition that you need help with during your visit, we can help with that too.

When specialist intervention is needed, we are able to refer to world-renowned consultants. We will coordinate care with them so that you are never left in the dark.

You may have already received medical treatment/diagnosis during your time in the UK, but are unsure about the outcome. We are also able to offer a second opinion, and again can refer on to specialists if necessary.

The Mayfair GP can take care of all your urgent medical needs, so if you have any health concerns when you are in the UK, please do not hesitate to contact us.

The UK’s rapid COVID-19 vaccine rollout has meant that the majority of people aged over 80, and a large number of over-70s, have now been vaccinated against the virus. This is very welcome news.

On 1st February, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that ‘virtually all’ elderly care home residents had now been offered the vaccine. This is with the exception of a few whose visits had been deferred for safety reasons due to a local outbreak.

However, data from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has shown that infection rates among the elderly remain high. This is particularly true of the oldest group, those aged 85 and over. The number of suspected outbreaks in individual care homes also reached a second wave record in January. This was despite the best efforts of all concerned to get the most vulnerable members of society vaccinated quickly.

Sadly, the number of deaths in private homes has also risen, suggesting many elderly people are suffering alone at home, without seeking diagnosis or treatment.

Why are older people not seeking help?

There could be any number of reasons why elderly people living alone are not asking for help when they feel unwell. One explanation is that getting to a GP or COVID-19 testing centre to have symptoms checked can be very difficult if you have mobility problems.

Many elderly people don’t have access to a vehicle, and the idea of using public transport during a pandemic can be frightening. Social care services are short staffed. And many carers don’t want to put themselves at higher risk by coming into close contact with a suspected case of coronavirus.

What to do if you need help

If you or an elderly person that you know has COVID-19 symptoms, The Mayfair GP can help.

We are very happy to perform home visits. To give you peace of mind, we can come and carry out a COVID-19 test at a convenient time. Your sample will be couriered to the lab, to get the result comes through as quickly as possible. In the meanwhile, we will treat your symptoms to make you more comfortable.

Should you need treatment beyond what we can offer, we can arrange referrals and transport to hospital.

Experts in elderly care

Even if you aren’t displaying symptoms of COVID-19, if you are an elderly person there is a high chance that the pandemic is having an impact on your healthcare needs.

At The Mayfair GP, we are highly experienced in caring for our elderly patients. We can help with management of long-term illness as well as treating acute problems. We offer regular reviews and routine recalls, ensuring your blood tests and other checks are all up to date.

You can contact us by phone, at any time of day or night. We can even come to you, and can organise your medicines to be delivered. You don’t have to leave the comfort of home.

If you would like to find out more about our elderly care services, please contact us by phoning us on 07568 369455 or emailing info@themayfairgp.com.

When it’s cold and wet outside, the days are short and we’re stuck at home, it can be tempting to reach for ‘comfort’ foods. Or we might indulge in a glass or two of wine.

But enjoyable as these things might seem in the moment, they won’t help your mood, or your health, in the long term.

We’ve put together some of our top lifestyle medicine tips, to ensure you stay fit and well this lockdown.

Exercise

When we’re not allowed to leave the house as often as we normally would, getting some form of regular exercise becomes a must. A twenty-minute run will boost endorphins and lift your mood for the rest of the day. Even a short walk can do wonders for your state of mind.

Try meeting a friend for a walk, a run or even a bit of outdoor circuit training. So long as you make sure you keep your distance from each other. This allows you to meet your social needs as well as getting that much-needed fresh air and exercise.

Diet

Foods that are high in fat and sugar provide a short-lived boost in mood, often followed swiftly by feelings of guilt and self loathing.

Tip: if you are having a craving or feel like snacking, try one of the following:

  • Try drinking a glass of water to see if your craving to eat is subsided by this
  • Wait 20 minutes between the initial craving, and reaching for the snack. If at 20 minutes you’re still thinking about wanting the snack then have it.

Did you know that there are plenty of foods that do actually help to lift your mood in the longer term? Nutrition psychologists claim there is a strong link between the brain and the gut, so try eating more of these foods if you want to avoid feeling low this lockdown:

  • Leafy greens
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Seeds
  • Organ meats, like liver or kidney
  • Wild salmon
  • Shellfish like clams, oysters and mussels

It goes without saying that excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption will cause more problems than it solves. Instead, try reaching for a herbal tea? Teas containing turmeric, lemon balm or ginger are particularly good, as these are all proven mood-boosting herbs.
Remind yourself that the craving will pass and that you are helping to improve your health and wellbeing.

Sleep

A good night’s sleep can make everything seem brighter, so staying on top of your sleep pattern is vital to maintaining a positive outlook and generally staying fit and well during lockdown.

Ensuring that you get fresh air and exercise every day, eating a healthy, balanced diet and avoiding caffeine and alcohol will all go a long way to helping you sleep. Some other things you can do are:

Go to bed and get up at the same time every day

If you don’t have to go into an office or get the children to school, it can be tempting to stay up late and lie in, but studies have shown that having regular bedtimes and wake-up times helps your body know when it is time to sleep.

Avoid screens for at least an hour before bed

The blue light in your phone or TV screen decreases melatonin, making it harder for us to switch off.

Develop a bedtime routine

We can all benefit from a routine around bedtime. Make yourself a chamomile tea, have a bath, read a book for half an hour… whatever works for you.

Relationships

This might seem like the hardest thing to achieve in a lockdown situation, but it is vital to maintain social interactions in whatever way you can.

As mentioned above, meeting a friend for a walk can be a great way to achieve this. In fact, many people find they have much more meaningful conversations walking side by side with someone than they would face to face in a café.

If you’re shielding, video calling can be a great way to keep relationships going. Or why not consider getting a pet? There is a reason that demand for cats and dogs has skyrocketed in the past year, pets are a great company.

If you would like to find out more about lifestyle medicine, or how you can look after yourself during lockdown, please get in touch!

The pandemic has had a major impact on the way we live our lives, across the whole globe. Many of us have been lucky, and careful enough to avoid contracting the virus ourselves. But a large portion of society has not been so fortunate.

With all the publicity, you’d be hard pressed not to recognise the symptoms of COVID-19. The first symptoms include a high temperature, shortness of breath, loss of taste and a persistent cough.

The majority of us will recover within a couple of weeks, but there have been an increasing number of reports of some long-term effects. The quality of life, even for some previously ‘healthy’ people, has been affected long after the virus should have gone away. People are suffering from what has been termed ‘long Covid’.

What is long Covid?

‘Long Covid’ is the term that is used to describe the illness of people who have recovered from the virus but continue to have intermittent symptoms for a long time afterwards. It can also include those who have ongoing symptoms long after the virus should have left their body.

As the phenomenon becomes more widely known, a number of studies have been conducted to investigate just how many people are affected by long Covid.

One such study, published in The Lancet in January this year, looked at confirmed Covid patients discharged from Jin Yin-Tan hospital in Wutan, China, between January 7th and May 29th, 2020.

Researchers studied 1733 patients, with a median follow-up time after symptom onset of 186 days – or around six months. Participants completed a series of questionnaires, to evaluate symptoms and health-related quality of life. They underwent a series of physical examinations, as well as taking part in a six-minute walk test and providing blood samples.

The results were quite striking, with 63% of participants experiencing fatigue or muscle weakness. Of those who had suffered the most severe Covid symptoms during their hospital stay, 29% fell below the lowest normal rate of walking in the six-minute walk test.

What about patients who aren’t hospitalised?

Although the findings of the Wuhan study are alarming, one expects a period of convalescence after a lengthy hospital stay. Particularly one that involves admittance to the ICU, as so many COVID-19 cases do.

Perhaps more alarming is the number of people who experience fairly ‘mild’ Covid, but still can’t shake the symptoms several months later. One study conducted in the Netherlands found that nine out of ten people polled reported having problems with normal daily activities three months after the first symptoms of the virus occurred.

The symptoms of long Covid

So what are the symptoms we should be looking out for? Well, as with the virus itself, reports are varied, but these are the main contenders:

  • Breathing problems
  • Fatigue/muscle pain
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Chills
  • Purple toes
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Tachycardia (racing heartbeat)
  • High temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hair loss
  • High temperature
  • Chest pain
  • Memory loss/confusion

Some patients report suffering all of these symptoms at different times. Others say they can feel fine for weeks at a time, then have a period of a few days when it feels like they’re coming down with the virus all over again.

If you, or a family member, think you might be experiencing long Covid, please contact us today to find out how we can help.

Since the 15th December last year, travellers arriving in the UK can shorten the duration of their self-isolation. This is by undergoing a COVID-19 test five full days after leaving their country of departure.

If the test result is negative, the traveller no longer has to self isolate. But lockdown rules must still be observed.

What does it mean to be a provider?

Travellers must pay to undergo the test privately, and The Mayfair GP is on the list of ‘test to release’ private providers. The providers on this list are meeting the standards laid out by UKAS (the United Kingdom Accreditation Service).

Has ‘test to release’ recently changed with the new travel rules?

The short answer is ‘no’. Travel corridors have been temporarily suspended, and all travellers to the UK must now produce a negative Covid test prior to embarking on their journey.

The 10-day period of self-isolation on arrival still applies, however, and you can still shorten this period by choosing to undergo a *Covid test with an approved provider.

*some countries are excluded from the test to release scheme – please speak with our team to discuss this further.

How does a ‘test to release’ Covid test work?

Here at The Mayfair GP, we can offer both the PCR swab test and the antibody test. For the test to release scheme, currently only a PCR swab test has been cleared for use.

The service we offer is as follows:

  • A pre-visit phone call to establish which country you have travelled from, whether you have experienced any symptoms, and to discuss any queries you might have
  • We will then come to you to perform the test either at your home or your hotel, wherever you are spending your self-isolation period, wearing full PPE
  • Once the test has been performed, we will courier the swab or blood sample to the lab for testing
  • As soon as we have the results we will get in touch via telephone or email to discuss the next steps

What if my result is positive?

If your Covid test produces a positive result the doctors will contact you via telephone to discuss your symptoms and advise you further with regards to caring for yourself and further isolation.

If the result is negative, however, you are free to leave self-isolation. You can resume your normal daily activities, as far as the current lockdown rules allow.

The Mayfair GP can offer tests in your home or hotel, with 24/7 availability. Please contact us by emailing info@themayfairgp.com for more information or to book your test.

The Mayfair GP has been added to the government list of private sector COVID-19 testing providers.

This news means that we can offer both the COVID-19 PCR Swab Test for the virus, and a COVID-19 Antibody Test. These tests are done at different points of the illness, but one of our doctors will talk to you beforehand to make sure you have the right one.

We are also able to offer COVID-19 PCR testing for the ‘Test to Release’ scheme and for international travel.

Safe, quick and easy testing in your home

Our COVID-19 testing service gives patients, families and visitors staying in the London Mayfair/Maida Vale/Marylebone/Chelsea area, the opportunity to have a check performed safely and conveniently in the comfort of your home or other place that is suitable to you.

For nervous patients, those with limited mobility or no transport, it allows quick and easy access to a test, as well as speedy results. You will not then need to travel to a testing centre.

How do I book a COVID-19 test at home?

The first step is to contact The Mayfair GP, either by emailing info@themayfairgp.com and let us have your contact details. Alternatively, you can call us on 07568 369455 and leave us a message.

One of our doctors will call you back, will go through your medical details and will explain what happens next.

What happens on a home visit?

When we have organised a home visit with you, we will ensure that all full PPE is worn by the visiting doctor. You don’t need to worry about them entering your home.

The Mayfair GP can provide both antibody testing and viral testing at home, the latter will show if you do or don’t currently have the virus.

We can see patients that are symptomatic or in at-risk groups. We can also register new patients, so you do not need to be an existing patient to access this service.

When will I get my test results?

The Antibody (blood) Test will give you an instant result, but we will courier the PCR Swab Test to the lab immediately. The Swab results are normally back within 24 hours but occasionally this can take a little longer in the event the result is not conclusive and has to be run again.

There will be a follow up phone call with the results, and we can advise you what to do next.

How much does a COVID-19 test cost?

The COVID-19 PCR Swab Test costs vary in pricing and will depend on the type of test you are having and depending on your location. The tests start at £300 for the Antibody Test and £342 for the PCR Test. You can find out about the price you will pay when you book a test.

If you need to arrange for The Mayfair GP to visit you, please get in touch by emailing info@themayfairgp.com .

Dermatologists have noticed an uptick in a type of skin sore known as chilblains — painful red or purple lesions that typically emerge on fingers or toes, and usually in very cold temperatures — in patients with Covid-19.

The lesions are showing up mostly in children, teenagers and young adults with mild or even asymptomatic cases. Some experts believe it to be a healthy immune response and a sign that a body is fighting the infection. While federal health officials do not include toe lesions on the list of coronavirus symptoms, dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called ‘Covid toe’ should be sufficient grounds for testing.

If you or a family member develops these symptoms, please contact us at The Mayfair GP, for further advice.

By and large, we have had very few reports of children getting affected or indeed infected by this virus. However, this does not mean that children cannot get infected. The commonest involvement for children is as asymptomatic carriers. This means that they have no symptoms but could transmit the virus from, say their teachers to their parents, or from their parents to their grandparents.

Similar to the cases in adults, the children that we see suffering severe symptoms with this infection and requiring hospitalisation are those that have pre-existing medical conditions. Again, as in adults, this does not mean that a relatively healthy child cannot be infected and suffer from symptoms.

Rather than receiving and forwarding messages on social apps like WhatsApp (and contributing to panic), we would prefer if you called the doctor and had a chat. This can also help you to disseminate more accurate information to your loved ones and friends.

Something worrying that has recently come up and prompted this is the following article:

Children and Covid-19

Again, if unsure, please speak to our doctor who can help clear things up for you and your children. Call us on ‭07568 369 455‬.

dental hygiene in lockdown

‘Lockdown’ your Dental Hygiene

This is not our area of expertise; however, as most dental surgeries are closed we are trying to manage the conditions that we feel comfortable doing with a telephone or video consultation.

We have attached below some advice on dental hygiene.

Brushing your teeth

Brush for at least 2 minutes, twice-a-day using a toothpaste that contains at least 1350ppm-1500ppm Fluoride. Children under 3 years should use a smear of toothpaste, whilst children aged 3-6 years should use a small pea-sized amount. It is important to brush last thing at night and at least on one other occasion in the day. After brushing, spit out the excess and remember not to rinse your mouth or use a mouthwash immediately after. (Activity idea: Brushing technique would be a great skill to pencil into your child’s learning schedule.)

Interdental brushing and flossing

To ensure your gums stay healthy, anyone over the age of 12 should use interdental brushes between their teeth daily. For really tight spaces try dental floss or tape. Lockdown is the perfect time to experiment with interdental brushes and floss so you can incorporate this into your daily routine. (TIP: if you’ve never used interdental brushes before try a small size first then work up to the largest size that fits in the space comfortably.)

Snacking

We have all been reaching for the snack drawer a little more than usual during this period. Aim to keep snacks between meals sugar-free, and keep an eye out for those hidden sugars particularly in ready-made meals and ‘healthy’ snacks. Try and keep the sugar in yours and your children’s diet as low as possible by reducing the amount of sugar you consume, and the frequency of how often you consume sugar during the day; Eat less sugar, and eat it less often. (Activity: As part of your child’s learning get them to identify healthy foods from a selection from your cupboards)

Braces

Your orthodontist will have given you instructions on how to care for your braces when you had them fitted. It is important to follow these instructions so that you get the best result for your smile from your braces. Brushing twice a day and limiting the sugar in your diet is very important. You can use an interdental brush between the teeth to keep the areas around your brace and in-between your teeth clean, as well as using other brushes recommended by your orthodontist.

Dentures

Ensure you remove your denture at night and clean it thoroughly using warm soapy water and a brush over a basin filled with water (in case you drop your denture: you don’t want it to hit a hard surface.) If you prefer you can soak your denture overnight in water with added denture cleaning solution, please use the solution that is correct for the type of denture you have.

Also, remember to be extra careful with your denture as it may be difficult to repair or replace the denture during this period.

As always, if you have any queries or concerns about your health or your child’s health then please do get in touch with our doctor.

Credit: Rodericks Dental Clinic, Marylebone

HRT and Coronavirus

HRT and Coronavirus

It is estimated that around 75% of menopausal women experience symptoms and that around 25% of these women experience severe symptoms that are having a negative effect on their lives, often affecting their family and work lives.

The menopause symptoms that affect women the most include:

  • low mood
  • anxiety
  • reduced self-esteem
  • poor memory and concentration
  • reduced libido
  • vaginal dryness

Managing women with symptoms of the menopause is a very rewarding aspect of clinical practice. There are now excellent guidelines available, both national and international, for healthcare professionals on the management of the menopause 1-3. However, these guidelines have not been read by many healthcare professionals which means that many women are being denied evidence-based treatment. All the guidelines support the notion that for the majority of women starting HRT when they are under 60 years old, the benefits of taking HRT usually outweigh any risks.

Please do contact us if you are worried about being in the menopause and wanting to start HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy).

A new statement has been released from the British Menopause Society, along with RCOG, RCGP and FSRH, urging all doctors to avail HRT consultations via video or telephone. This is in addition to providing easy access to repeat prescriptions (which is a service that the Mayfair GP provides).

The societies mentioned above realise the importance of HRT and thus the aim is to ensure that menopausal women do not struggle to obtain their HRT prescription in these difficult times.

Please read the British Menopause Society statement below from the 25th of March 2020:

We recognise that many women are likely to experience difficulties in obtaining HRT supplies due to the current coronavirus situation. We also appreciate that continuing HRT intake is likely to help many women control their often difficult menopausal symptoms, which is particularly relevant given the additional stress some women may be under in view of the strains of the current situation on society.

Furthermore, General Practitioners’ surgeries have also been put under additional pressure, with consultations and advice prioritised to dealing with serious and potentially life-threatening medical issues.

Recognising the current constraints, we recommend that General Practitioners and healthcare providers consider advising women about menopause issues through telephone and virtual consultations where at all possible to reduce face to face engagement, and with easy access to repeat prescriptions of HRT supplies (especially to women who have been on HRT and have not been experiencing any problems with their intake). This will help to avoid the need for many women to visit their GP surgery to discuss these issues and assist with obtaining repeat prescriptions.

Haitham Hamoda, Chairman, BMS

Edward Morris, President, RCOG

Martin Marshall, Chair, RCGP

Asha Kasliwal, President, FSRH

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Mayfair GP Member of British Society of Lifestyle Medicine
Mayfair GP Member of Royal College of General Practitioners
Mayfair GP Member of Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health
Mayfair GP Member of British Medical Association

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FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF PRIVATE GP HEALTHCARE

Covering general practice, paediatric care, health screening, sexual health and lifestyle medicine, you can be assured of a discreet, flexible, convenient and personal service.

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