COVID 19 testing with same-day results – Do you need a travel certificate?

Find out more about Fit to Fly Certificates, Day 2 and 8 Testing and Test to Release.

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Meet our private GPs: Dr Hala, Dr Lucy and Dr Rachel

Passionate about delivering premium healthcare, our private GPs provide continuity of care, where patients contact them directly. Covering Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, the Cotswolds, Solihull and surrounding areas, the Linbury Doctors care holistically for all ages. They offer family memberships as well as individual and couple packages. In this blog post, find out more about our private doctors, Dr Hala Atkin, Dr Lucy Ansell and Dr Rachel Tindale.

Meet Private GP Dr Hala Atkin

private GPs

Dr Hala Atkin grew up in Dubai and moved to London to follow her passion and study medicine. After her training, she started working in the private sector and really enjoyed providing premium healthcare to her patients. It’s what prompted her to start a private practice in the Midlands.

“One of the things we wanted to make sure we got perfectly for our patients when we were setting up Linbury Doctors was that they could get through to us really easily. It’s why every patient has the mobile number of their dedicated private GP.”

Hala is continually extending her knowledge by developing areas of special interest; most recently, she has become a member of the British Menopause Society. She also has diplomas in mental health, obstetrics and gynaecology, children’s health and dermatology. What she loves most about being a Linbury Doctor is spending time with her patients and really getting to know them in order to provide the very best care.

Meet Private GP Dr Lucy Ansell

private GPs

After training as a GP in the Cotswolds, Dr Lucy Ansell become a GP partner in Cirencester. She then made the change to become purely private five years ago in order to spend more time with her patients.

“One of the things I love most about Linbury is I never have to look at my watch during an appointment; the patient can have as long as they want with us. We can cover as many issues at once and really help them get everything off their chest.”

Lucy has postgraduate diplomas in obstetrics, gynaecology and family planning. She has also recently taken a special interest in menopause, becoming a member of the British Menopause Society.

“I class myself as a real generalist and I like looking after all of the generations in one family. Often, I sign up the grandparents and before I know it, the great grandchildren are on my list as well!”

Meet Private GP Dr Rachel Tindale

Dr Rachel Tindale grew up in Yorkshire and moved to Warwick in 2000 to study medicine at Leicester Warwick Medical School. She initially began training in paediatrics before moving to general practice. Her expertise covers family planning, child health, obstetrics and gynaecology, and sexual health.

“I started Linbury because I wanted to give a better service to my patients that wasn’t time-limited and allowed me to visit patients in their own homes.”

With a personal vision to make a difference in local, regional and global communities, Rachel is committed to giving private medical care and delivering personalised service to her patients, spending time with them to offer a truly premium service.

“I love working with Hala and Lucy; we all have different areas of expertise and can work holistically to give our patients the very best care.”

Linbury’s Private GPs

If you’d like to find out more about our private GPs, visit our Meet the Team page or give us a call on 0333 050 7338. Discover more about becoming a member of the Linbury Doctors here. Contact us to chat to us about the packages we offer.

The DHSC has accredited us to provide Covid Tests. Find out more on the Gov website or click here to discover more about the Covid testing options we offer.

Covid Travel: Day 2 and 8 Tests, Test to Release and ‘Fit to Fly’ Explained

New laws have been put into place regarding travel during the Covid-19 pandemic; from Monday 29th March, you must not travel internationally without a reasonable excuse to do so, such as attending a funeral. According to new laws, non-essential travel will be banned until 30th June.

However, should you need to travel, there are rules in place to ensure your safety. In this blog post, we’ll explain Covid travel tests and what it all means including ‘Fit to Fly’ certificates, Day 2 and 8 testing, as well as Test to Release.

Fit to Fly: What do I need to know before I book any travel?

To travel to most destinations you will need a Fit to Fly certificate to board your flight. The time scales and requirements vary depending on which country you are travelling to. 

A PCR test is performed by a UKAS accredited provider and a certificate is issued by one of our GMC registered private GPs stating when the test was performed and the result. The time the test was taken is also included as these are time sensitive. 

This is emailed to you through our secure portal password encrypted as a PDF file. 

covid travel

Covid-19 Testing for International Arrivals

From the 15th February this year by law anyone returning to the UK from abroad must take a Covid-19 PCR test on days 2 and 8 of your self -isolation period (unless specifically exempt). All arrivals must also quarantine for 10 days, either in a Government approved hotel (if returning from a red list country) or an alternative approved location (if returning from an amber list country).

If you are arriving from an Amber country then we can help provide you with day 2 and 8 tests

What does ‘day 2 and 8 testing’ mean?

At Linbury Doctors, we are accredited by DHSC and PHE to provide day 2 and 8 bundles for Covid tests.

After you arrive back in England, you are required to take a Covid test on day 2 of your quarantine. The day you arrive back in the country is counted as day 0. This ‘day 2 test’ is to identify any potentially harmful variants of the virus. Should a positive result come back, you and your household must quarantine for 10 days, starting on the day after the test was taken.

For those who received a negative ‘day 2 test’, they will also need to take a test on or after day 8. If this ‘day 8 test’ is positive, you and your household will need to quarantine until day 19.

Please read more about how to quarantine when you arrive in England on the Gov website here.

Why are day 2 and 8 tests done?

The tests are carried out in order to pick up any positive Covid-19 results. These positive tests are also sent for genomic sequencing, which looks for any new variants of Covid that may be coming into the country from abroad.

test to release

When do I order my swabs?

You must order your Day 2 and Day 8 tests before you return to the UK. Failure to do so may incur fines and other penalties. You can order your tests as early as is convenient for you, and we will post them to you on the required days.

When you order your test, we will ask you to provide details about yourself and your journey. You will then receive a unique reference number, which you must enter on your passenger locator form before you arrive in the UK.

When will I receive my test kits?

Your tests will be sent separately in accordance with Government guidelines. We will post them to you for the required days. Please note that, by law, we cannot send your tests to you earlier than this. You should, however, order your tests as early as possible, prior to your arrival in the UK.

What should I do when I receive my test kit?

Please read the instructions included in your test kit carefully. You should then collect your sample using the swab provided and send it to our laboratory on the same day using the postage-paid return envelope. The Royal Mail is experiencing severe pressure during the pandemic so you may wish to consider returning your sample using a courier.

day 2 and 8 test

Can I stop self-isolating if I test negative?

In accordance with the UK Government’s guidelines, even if you test negative for Covid-19 on Day 2 or Day 8, you must continue to self-isolate for the full 10 days. You can only shorten your self-isolation period if you test negative with our Test to Release. This is a separate test which you can enquire about here.

What is a test to release (TTR)?

Should you wish to end your quarantine period early, you can request a TTR test. 

Test to release is a test that can be done on day 5 to reduce your quarantine time from 10 days to 5 days. This test is optional and for those who don’t wish to reduce their quarantine time they don’t need to do this. 

Here at Linbury Doctors, we can arrange this test for you with a same-day courier to the laboratory, ensuring results are available as soon as possible. 

One of our GMC registered private doctors will then sign and issue you a PDF certificate with your results within 24 hours of completing the TTR test. 

How do I book a Covid test?

You can book any of the above tests by filling out our web enquiry form and a doctor will get back to you to discuss your requirements. A subsequent questionnaire will be emailed to you to ensure we have all the correct details for whichever certificate you may require. 

covid travel

How much do these Covid travel tests cost?

Covid travel: Day 2 and 8 package:

  • Postal kits: £210 (postal kits)
  • If a visit is required from the doctor for the tests the cost is: £310

Covid travel: Test to release and Fit to Fly certificate:

  • Postal swab for members of Linbury Doctors: £150 
  • Doctor visit and swab for members: £180 
  • Postal swab for non-members: £160
  • Doctor visit and swab for non-members: £200
  • Courier charge: POA

Please get in touch with us if you’d like to find out more about our testing by calling 0333 050 7338. See the full list of test providers here.

Private doctors in the Cotswolds, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire

If you live in the Cotswolds, Warwickshire, Worcestershire or parts of Oxfordshire our private doctors can discuss home visits to arrange doctor-led swabs if this is a preference.

If you’re looking for a Private GP in these areas, we’d love to help. With extensive experience in a range of different specialisms, we can care holistically for your whole family.

Here are just a few benefits of becoming a member:

  • Get your own dedicated private GP
  • Get GP appointments to suit your schedule
  • Home visits
  • No more time limits on appointments
  • Get next-day results
  • Fast-tracked Covid test results

Find out more about our private doctor memberships here, or give us a call on 0333 050 7338.

private gp services

Private GP Services: Why Choose Linbury Doctors?

Here at Linbury Doctors, we provide quality patient care to individuals, couples, families and businesses through our private GP services. We’re all about providing continuity of care, so every member gets access to their own dedicated private doctor who they can call, message or email directly.

In this blog post, we will give you more insight into the benefits of becoming a member.

Our Private GP Services are Bespoke

We really get to know each patient, taking the time to understand their history and current health. When you first become a member, your dedicated GP will phone you to arrange an appointment where we’ll talk in more detail about you and your healthcare needs. We deliberately keep our patient list sizes smaller to ensure we can spend the time you need.

With many connections with consultants and specialists, we can refer you to some of the best private hospital consultants in the UK, should you need them. We will always do what’s right for you; our appointment times are flexible and you’ll never feel rushed when speaking to your GP.

Our Private Doctors Can Visit You in Your own Home

Home visits are a huge part of what we do. Many patients understandable feel more comfortable at home and so we’re more than happy to come to you – either at your home or workplace. We provide same-day and pre-bookable appointments Monday to Friday, with urgent appointments at the weekend; whenever you need us, we’ll be there.

We cover Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Solihull, Oxfordshire, the Cotswolds and surrounding areas. Following government guidelines, full PPE is always worn and we take all necessary precautions when visiting patients.

private gp services

We Can Offer Next-Day Results

We understand how frustrating it can be when you have to wait around for test results. That’s why, as a member, you will get next-day results for blood and urine tests. Plus, with same-day prescriptions, we will never keep you waiting unnecessarily.

Get Private Covid Tests

We can arrange for our members to have a Covid swab test, with a same-day result. If you’re travelling back to England from abroad, we are accredited by DHSC and PHE to provide day 2 and 8 bundles for COVID tests. We can also provide Fit to Fly Certificates and Test to Release tests. Please contact us for more info.

Private GP Services that Offer Peace of Mind

Here at Linbury Doctors, we offer annual Well Man or Well Woman health checks, so you can get peace of mind and rest in the knowledge that your healthcare is in safe hands. We also ensure our members are offered influenza vaccinations, as well as private immunisations for those who may need them.

private GP services

How Do I Become a Member?

Simply get in touch with us if you’d like to find out more about becoming a member. Call us on 0333 050 7338, or email info@linburydoctors.co.uk. Our friendly team is always on-hand to help.

Our Private GPs

Meet Dr Hala, Dr Lucy and Dr Rachel, our private GPs. Find out more about them here.

private gp services

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week

Private family doctors

As private family doctors, we always put our patients’ healthcare at the core of everything we do. With family memberships available, we care holistically for all ages and are experienced in mental health and wellbeing. Contact us on 0333 050 7338 to find out more.

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. What a year it has been for our children and adolescents missing months of schooling, social interaction and life as we once knew it. 

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week was launched in 2015 by Place2be’s charity to highlight the importance of children’s mental health. 

Mental health problems can arise at any time. Before the pandemic, research suggested that half of mental health problems are developed by mid-teens. Since the pandemic, mental health problems in children have been on the rise

private family doctors

This year, Place2be’s theme is EXPRESS YOURSELF and encouraging children to express themselves.

We need to enable our children to express themselves. Listening to them and encouraging them to talk about their feelings acknowledge them and normalise the feelings. 

  • Take time to listen to them, listen to how they feel and encourage them to talk. 
  • Set an example by sharing how you are feeling and how you look after yourself and your mental wellbeing, what works for us and how they can adapt similar strategies.
  • Remind them that their thoughts and feelings are important

The lockdown and its Effects:

Here at Linbury, one of the joys of being a private family doctor is that we get to know our patients and families really well, especially during the lockdown period where we continue to carry out home visits with full PPE. We develop a personal relationship with our patients and the whole family. 

During my visits last week, I was in awe to see how all the children of the families I look after have adapted to this new normal. But it also made me feel sad for some of them and the big events they are missing in their lives, especially the adolescents; those who would have been sitting big exams; having big prom parties with their friends; and engaging in sporting events such as netball and rugby tournaments.

The impact on our children can last for years to come so it is even more important to support them, let them express their feelings and guide them through these times. 

How can we Help the Children Adapt During Lockdown?

Routine: Try and stick to a schedule. Schools have done brilliantly to provide a routine in the school day, so stick to it as much as possible to help structure the day. 

Hobbies: If your children can carry on with their hobbies and the things they enjoy, ensure to make time for it. You can find music lessons online, practise favourite sports with family in the garden, or take up a new hobby! My children have joined me in running at the weekends and they aim to run 5km at a good time. You could also get involved and join in with a hobby that your children enjoy. Time outdoors is really important.

private family doctors

Friends and family: Ensure that your children stay in touch with their friends during school live lessons or set up virtual calls with them at the weekend. Write a letter to grandparents or other family members, and share some home school work with them. 

Finally, don’t ever hesitate to ask for help. As private family doctors, we will always be happy to chat through any concerns and guide you. So, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0333 050 7338. We always put our patients at the core of everything we do.

What are the Alternatives to HRT?

Private GPs

In this post, our private GPs have summarised some of the symptoms you may experience during the menopause and some non-hormonal approaches for managing them. Members of the British Menopause Society, our private doctors Hala and Lucy have a special interest in the menopause.

Many women opt to avoid using Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) during the peri-menopause and menopause due to concerns about risk (which we address in this blog post). This may be due to personal or family history of breast or gynaecological cancers.

Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal oestrogen creams, pessaries or a vaginal ring which contains oestradiol can treat Vaginal dryness. This mimics the oestrogen a woman would produce before becoming menopausal. Unlike HRT, there is no systemic absorption so these don’t carry the risks that HRT would.

Vaginal rings can help prevent recurrent urine infections women can be plagued with following the menopause. Vaginal moisturiser and silicone-based lubricants are also very good if sex has become painful.

Ospemifene is a selective oestrogen receptor modulator that has an oestrogen-like effect in the vagina. It is non-hormonal and is being used to treat vaginal atrophy, and it may prove invaluable for oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer sufferers.

Prescriptible Drugs for Hot Flushes and Sweats

The jury is still out about this, but low doses of SSRIs and SNRIs (forms of antidepressants) have been shown to reduce hot flushes and night sweats, as has a drug called Gabapentin which is often used for atypical pain or epilepsy.

Pregabalin is a controlled drug which has similar results to Gabapentin. It seems to be better tolerated but is more expensive. Clonidine is the only licensed medication at present but isn’t suitable for patients with a low baseline blood pressure.

Alternatives to HRT

Potential Alternatives to HRT

Always seek a medical professional to discuss the management of menopause symptoms. If you’d like to speak to one of our private GPs about the alternatives to HRT, please call our practice on 0333 050 7338.

  • Pregnenolone – This seems to work well for the ‘mind fog’: poor concentration, poor memory, and poor sleep cycle associated with perimenopause and menopause. This is a non-licensed drug via private prescription only.
  • 5HTP – This is a non-licensed drug via private prescription only. The dosage is 100mg at night; it is also said to be good for sleep.
  • Vitamin D – Low levels of vitamin D are associated with low bone density and tiredness. It’s an essential vitamin to take especially during the British winter. 800-1000 units a day are recommended for maintenance therapy.
  • Evening primrose and fish oil – This works well for breast tenderness.
  • Magnesium – This proves to be good for anxiety and labile mood.
  • Chromium – Good for sugar cravings.
  • Multi-Vitamin B – Some evidence suggests that vitamin B may help with stress-induced anxiety.
  • Black cohosh, isoflavones and St. John’s wart – the jury is still out on this. Don’t take this without telling a doctor as it can interfere with liver metabolism and stop other important prescription medication from working. Breast cancer survivors should not use them.
  • Acupuncture – women do report some improvement in symptoms after having acupuncture treatment but studies show this is likely to be a placebo effect.
  • CBT – there’s good evidence that CBT can help with low mood and anxiety caused by the menopause.

One of the most important factors to consider is lifestyle as this can play a huge part in symptom relief. Cutting back on alcohol, spicy food and caffeine will help ease symptoms. Plus, weight loss (if BMI is over normal range) can be very helpful.

Smoking will make hot flushes worse and increase cardiovascular risk. Aerobic and weight-bearing exercise reduces flushes and sweats and it could increase bone density.

Fezolinetant

Fezolinetant is a new drug; it’s undergoing studies and currently only available in research settings. However, all of the evidence is pointing toward the fact it may help with hot flushes and sweats in women who cannot have hormonal treatment.

If you’d like to speak to our private GPs about the alternatives to HRT or to find out more about the symptoms of menopause, contact us on 0333 050 7338.

What are the Benefits and Risks of HRT?

Private GPs

Here at Linbury Doctors, our private GPs Hala and Lucy, are members of the British Menopause Society and have undertaken training in the menopause. This series of blog posts delves further into the science behind menopause, and how to treat symptoms. In this post, we discuss the benefits and risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

If you haven’t read our previous blog post about what HRT is, you can do so by clicking here.

Misconceptions of HRT: The Million Women Study

Concerns over HRT safety were raised in 2002 and 2003 by the Million Women Study. The two main concerns raised were an increased risk of breast cancer and a raised risk of cardiovascular disease.

An urgent safety warning was released and the numbers of women taking HRT fell by 66%. That has only just started to change after 10 years so we have a whole decade of women who have mostly been denied the opportunity to benefit from HRT.

Many doctors stopped prescribing it and the workforce deskilled. The women in the study were north American, mostly overweight, often in their mid-sixties and therefore were not representative of who HRT would be appropriate for from a risk profile point of view. There has since been a retraction of some of the findings and recent studies have shown there is no increased cardiovascular risk on women who start HRT within ten years of starting the menopause.

benefits and risks of hrt

HRT risk can be lowered if:

  • Taken for the correct reasons
  • Taken for as long as necessary at the lowest possible dose
  • HRT users have access to their GP at least once a year

Proven Benefits:

  • Control of menopausal symptoms
  • Maintenance of bone density and reduced risk of osteoporotic fracture

Potential Benefits

  • Reduced coronary heart disease risk
  • Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s when started early
  • Reduced colorectal cancer risk
  • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes

If you’d like to speak to our private GPs, please get in touch with us on 0333 050 7338. Here at Linbury Doctors, we put our patients at the core of everything we do and always provide premium healthcare and advice.

Risks of HRT

Blood Clots

This risk is only applicable to oral preparations and not on the patch or gel. There is a raised stroke risk when oral HRT is started in women over 60.

Cardiovascular risk

This risk is only if HRT is started over the age of 60. Studies have shown that if HRT is started within 10 years of the menopause, it may actually reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Breast Cancer

HRT does not affect the risk of dying from breast cancer. HRT with oestrogen alone is associated with little or no increase in breast cancer. HRT with oestrogen and progesterone can be associated with a small increase in the risk of breast cancer.

The current view is that HRT may promote the growth of breast cancer cells already present rather than causing the breast cancer itself. It should be noted that being overweight or drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week carries a higher breast cancer risk than HRT.

There is likely to be an extra 3-4 cases of breast cancer per 1000 women after 5 years use of HRT after the age of 50, if started within a ten-year window of the menopause.

Linbury Doctors Private GPs

If you’d like to find out more about the benefits and risks of HRT, get in touch with our private doctors on 0333 050 7338. We can advise you on the best course of action if you are suffering from the symptoms of menopause.

What is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and Bioidentical HRT?

Private GPs

Our private GPs, Hala and Lucy, have a special interest in the menopause and are members of the British Menopause Society. In this blog post, they delve into the treatment of menopause symptoms and how Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) works. If you’re experiencing any symptoms of menopause or would like to talk to a healthcare professional, do get in touch with our private doctors on 0333 050 7338.

What is HRT?

Hormone Replacement Therapy is used for the treatment of menopause symptoms, such as night sweats and hot flushes. It works by replacing hormone levels that drop as you approach the menopause.

All types of traditional HRT contain oestrogen so it’s often started at later stages when progesterone levels are very low and oestrogen levels start to drop.

Administering HRT

HRT is also needed in premature menopause to maintain bone density. It’s important to note that, if you still have a womb (no hysterectomy) and just take oestrogen, the womb lining could build up and become a cancer risk. Therefore, HRT is co-prescribed with a generic dose of progesterone to stop this from happening.

Sometimes both oestrogen and progesterone are synthetic, and sometimes just the progesterone is. This means that these synthetic hormones are not identical to the ones found in the human body and are given in standard doses. If you are still having periods, it will be given in a cyclical manner. If your periods have stopped, it will be given continuously.

The benefits of HRT include reduction of night sweats and flushes, reversal of vaginal changes, improved mood and sleep. It can also help with joint aches and pains, skin and hair texture, as well as reduced bone thinning. Evidence concerning heart disease and dementia prevention is still controversial.

What is HRT

What are the risks?

The risks of taking HRT include blood clots in the veins, breast cancer in women over 50 (note there is no increased risk in women under 50), a small increase in risk of stroke, and possible increase in risk of ovarian cancer which goes on stopping the HRT.

The most important thing to bear in mind when discussing risk is to consider personal and family medical history. So, each case must be thoroughly discussed with a doctor. Our private GPs can help advise you in the best course of action. If you’d like to get in touch, please contact 0333 050 7338.

Contraception

HRT doesn’t act as a contraceptive. So, you would need to continue your method of contraception for two years if your last period took place under the age of 50, or for one year if your last period took place when you were over 50.

HRT can be given in combined tablet (carries a clot risk), a combined patch (no clot risk) or in the form of a gel or patch (no clot risk) in combination with a Mirena coil.

Bioidentical HRT

The aim of bioidentical HRT is that both hormones – oestrogen (in the form of oestradiol) and progesterone – mimic those that are produced naturally before the menopause.

It would be wrong to call bioidentical HRT ‘natural’ as you are still replacing something that a woman wouldn’t be producing after going through the menopause.

Bioidentical HRT is normally given in the form of an oestradiol patch or gel along with a progesterone capsule called Utrogestan that is taken at night. The benefits of it from the point of view of reliving menopausal symptoms should be identical to that of traditional HRT.

About 1 in 20 women cannot absorb through the skin and therefore find the patches and gels ineffective at relieving their symptoms. This is the same for both the traditional and bioidentical HRT approach. Bioidentical HRT is still relatively new but, to date, the safety data is looking really good; it is pointing towards the fact it may be lower risk than the synthetic HRT approach.

Here at Linbury Doctors, we are delighted to offer doctors with specialist menopausal training; they are experienced in prescribing bioidentical HRT. If you’d like to speak to our private GPs, please call the practice on 0333 050 7338, or email info@linburydoctors.co.uk.

Why do some COVID symptoms last so long?

Here at Linbury Doctors, our private GP services cover keeping you up-to-date with the latest news. In this blog post, we look into the symptoms of Coronavirus and why they might vary from person to person. We all know by now that Covid is not your average cold or flu. In some cases, symptoms can remain for a long while after initial infection. So, why is this?

Research suggests that up to 87% of people with Coronavirus go on to experience symptoms related to the virus for more than a month after they were first infected.

For some people, their symptoms continue for months and for others, symptoms seem to come and go.

private gp services

The British Society for Immunology states that, “Every individual’s immune system is as unique as their fingerprints, and so different people can respond to a virus in different ways.” However, some people can be more susceptible to severe effects than others, including the elderly and those who suffer with underlying health problems. This is because these people may have weakened immune systems that struggle to keep the response to particular pathogens under control.

On average, the time between catching the virus and experiencing the first symptoms is from three to 14 days. These symptoms can include:

  • Persistent, dry cough
  • Loss of smell
  • Loss of taste
  • High fever

If you, or anyone you’ve been in contact with, has experienced one or more of these symptoms, you may wish to book a COVID test. Here at Linbury Doctors, we offer private GP services; we are accredited by The Department of Health and Social Care to give private Covid tests, and our members can receive the results back the same day. Contact us on 0333 050 7338 for more information.

The Theories

Long term symptoms of COVID (often referred to as ‘long COVID’) could be due to an inflammatory response, suggested by The British Society for Immunology’s report. As inflammation is a natural response to injuries, a Coronavirus infection could cause the body to flare-up this way, meaning it could take more time for the symptoms of the virus to lessen.

In some cases, the virus may have been cleared from most of the body, but continue to “linger in some small pockets”, according to the BBC. For example, if the virus is in the gut, there may be cases of long-term diarrhoea, whereas if the virus is in the nerves then people may experience loss of smell.

Some medical professionals believe that people suffer from long COVID due to an overactive immune response; this can also cause damage throughout the body, however this is not yet confirmed officially.

There are many theories surrounding why some people suffer from long-term COVID symptoms, however there are no definitive answers yet. The virus only emerged at the end of 2019 so therefore there’s a lack of long-term data. However, the BBC stated that “the number of people with long COVID appears to be falling with time”.

If you’re suffering from any symptoms of Coronavirus, contact us for a private COVID test and receive the results the same day. Contact us on 0333 050 7338 for more information about our private GP services.

Sources:

How does the COVID Vaccine work?

We would like to share more insight into how the COVID vaccine will work, but before that; it is important to start this blog post by saying vaccines, in general, save more lives than any other medicine and come only second to clean water when it comes to preventing disease. Vaccines have been given to billions of people and have shown to be safe. They have become so successful that we have lost sight of many fatal diseases like measles, mumps and rubella. Instead, we’re left with no disease, and all everyone sees is a side effect from the vaccine, so they often get a bad press.

Here at Linbury Doctors, we offer private COVID tests with 48-hour results. Click here to find out more information, or get in touch with us on 0333 050 7338.

How do they work?

Most vaccines work by stimulating the immune system so it thinks it has met the disease before and fought it off. A lot of the vaccines we are used to are ‘attenuated pathogens’. This means taking a virus or bacteria and making it so it doesn’t cause that infection anymore but induces an immune response. They are called ‘replicating vaccines’, and some precautions sometimes need to be exercised in the immunosuppressed.

With Influenza, for instance, we take the virus, grow it, render it non-infectious by vaccinating with parts of the virus which triggers an immune response. This means if you were to come into contact with it, your body would be able to respond by releasing the immune cells needed as it had been tricked into thinking you’ve had it before.

There are several myths around, such as ‘the flu vaccine gives you flu’. But there is no possibility of this as the ingredients are inactive. We know it’s safe and it works.

Side effects are common, such as a short-lasting fever and a sore arm. Sometimes, the vaccine doesn’t work as well as we would like but that’s about matching the seasonal strain. We believe it to be a good match for the 2020 year.

What safety checks does the COVID vaccine have to pass before it can be used?

As the different variants of the COVID vaccine are being rolled out, they will be in rigorous trials. Once the trials have passed through the relevant stages, the regulator gives approval for the vaccine.

In the UK, the regulator is the MHRA. The Pfizer vaccine was approved by the MHRA a few weeks ago and has just received emergency approval from the FDA (American regulator).

Even after the vaccine receives approvals, safety checks are still carried out and any effects are reported and reviewed.

Who decides who receives the vaccine?

The joint committee on vaccination and immunisation has independent experts who decide how the vaccine programme is rolled out.

mRNA Vaccines (Pfizer/Moderna)

Both the Pfizer and Moderna jabs use technology known as mRNA, which introduces into the body a messenger sequence that contains the genetic instructions for the vaccinated person’s own cells to produce the antigens and generate an immune response.

It does not alter human cells but merely presents the body with instructions to build immunity to Coronavirus. These are new, but not completely new, as they have been used in oncology and other clinical settings.

Here at Linbury Doctors, we offer private COVID tests and can get the results back to our members on the same day. If you are currently suffering from symptoms, then get in touch with your private doctor directly, or give the practice a call on 0333 050 7338.

Concerned by the speed of the COVID-19 vaccine development?

With most vaccine development, it takes a long time to study and get the evidence as the infection pool is so small. With COVID-19, there was a huge infection pool, so we have been able to study the numbers needed in a small period of time.

The mRNA vaccines have been tested on up to 40,000 individuals, so they have been tested on the same number of individuals as any other previous vaccine in circulation. We know these vaccines are not causing severe adverse effects at this scale. Acute side effects are common, like being feverish next day or having a sore arm, but this is a strong signal that they are giving the immune system a kick and reassures you that your body is mounting a good immune response.

We know the first two vaccines prevent people from becoming unwell with COVID-19 and prevent serious illness. However, we don’t data have to see if they block transmission at present. As private doctors, we know that the risk of having serious consequences from getting COVID-19 – even if you’re not in a vulnerable category – is significantly higher than the risk of suffering mild side effects from the mRNA vaccines.

There have been some concerns raised that the mRNA vaccines may influence your chromosomes, but this is a myth; they are particularly safe as don’t penetrate the nucleus of cells. Plus, they are cleared from the system within 72 hours. There is therefore no link to mRNA vaccines and genetic modification.

The Pfizer vaccine has passed rigorous safety checks and, very recently, we received the welcomed news it has also passed emergency FDA approval so it will be rolled out in the United States.

The MHRA are continuing to monitor for side-effects, but only 2 people out of the thousands who received the vaccination in the first week developed allergic reactions.

Therefore, the advice has changed so that people with previous severe allergic reactions are unable to receive the Pfizer vaccine and the situation is being monitored.

AstraZeneca/Oxford Vaccination

The Oxford vaccine works like a traditional vaccination, more like the attenuated vaccines already discussed. It uses a harmless virus altered to look a lot more like the pandemic virus. An attenuated ‘spike protein’ of the virus is injected which the immune system builds up a response to as if the real virus has entered the body. Therefore, if you then come into contact with COVID-19, the body’s immune system will recognise this ‘spike protein’ and raise the immune response.

Source: BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-55149138

Two full doses of the Oxford vaccine gave 62% protection, a half dose followed by a full dose was 90% and overall, the trial showed 70% protection.

Should I have the vaccine if I have had COVID?

Yes, is the short answer. We have no idea how long natural immunity will last, how good it will be and how durable. The current recommendation would be to have the vaccine if offered, even if you have had a proven COVID-19 infection.

If you are a member of Linbury Doctors, we can arrange for you to have a private COVID test, with a same-day result. Get in touch with your private GP to discuss, or give us a call on 0333 050 7338.

Key Facts from our Private GPs about The Menopause

Our private GPs, Dr Lucy and Dr Hala have a special interest in the menopause and will be writing regular updates on here on our blog. In this post, we’ll cover what the menopause and peri-menopause are and what we may experience in these stages.

Peri-Menopause and The Menopause

A natural menopause occurs when your ovaries stop producing eggs and oestrogen. The time leading up to your last period is called the peri-menopause and symptoms are often experienced as both progesterone and oestrogen levels decrease.

Symptoms can start anytime in your 40s and can be difficult to diagnose. The perimenopause can be a tough time for a lot of women and is often misdiagnosed as depression, low mood or other functional disorders. As private GPs, we always take into consideration all possible diagnoses, taking the time to truly understand any underlying causes.

The average age for the menopause in the UK is 51. If the menopause occurs before the age of 45, it is called early, and if it occurs before the age of 40 it is termed premature ovarian insufficiency. Certain things can cause an early menopause such as surgery to remove the ovaries, radiotherapy to the pelvic region, some chemo drugs, and hereditary conditions, but often no cause is found.

Quick Facts

  • ⅓ of women will go through the menopause without experiencing symptoms
  • ⅓ of women will experience debilitating symptoms of the menopause
  • ⅓ of women will suffer with moderate or acceptable symptoms

What are the Symptoms of the Menopause?

Irregular periods

As ovulation becomes more unpredictable, the length of time between periods may be longer or shorter, your flow may be light to heavy, and you may skip some periods.

Hot flushes and sleep problems

Hot flushes are common during peri-menopause. The intensity, length and frequency vary. Sleep problems are often due to hot flushes or night sweats, but sometimes sleep becomes unpredictable even without them.

Mood changes

Mood swings, irritability or increased risk of depression may happen during perimenopause. This could be a result of interrupted sleep which happens as a result of the hot flushes. 

Vaginal and bladder problems

As oestrogen levels drop, the vaginal tissue loses its lubrication and becomes weakened. This can make intercourse painful and uncomfortable. It can also cause repeated urine infections 

Decreased fertility

Ovulation lessens around the time of the menopause however it can still happen sporadically. It is advisable to carry on using contraception and discuss with your doctor how long to continue it for.

Decreased bone mass and heightened risk of osteoporosis

 As oestrogen levels drop, more bone is lost than is made. Women who go through the menopause early are at high risk of osteoporosis.

Changing cholesterol levels

As oestrogen levels drop the LDL (bad cholesterol) starts to rise and the HDL (good cholesterol) starts to drop. 

Skin and hair changes

Thinning of the hair and dry skin are commonly seen during the menopause. 

It is important to speak to your doctor or private GP if you are suffering from any of the symptoms or think you are going through the menopause. It is especially important if you are worried you are going through a pre-mature menopause as hormones serve to have protective functions and you will likely need treatment.

Our private GPs have a special interest in the menopause and are members of the British Menopause Society. They have just completed the annual British Menopause Society update and will be bringing you more and more information over the coming weeks!

Please do get in touch with us on 0333 050 7338 if you’d like to find out more about becoming a Linbury Doctors member.