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Isolation: A GP practice's guide to explaining measures to patients

A guide to isolation measures by GPs at Bridges Medical Practice in Gateshead

Explaining the differences between self isolation, social distancing and shielding for Covid-19

This has been written to help you understand the difference between self isolation and social distancing and who is being advised to do which. We strongly suggest that you read this and work out which applies to you as an individual. It would be really sensible to discuss this with everyone who lives in the same house as you, your line manager at work and those who you would normally wish to socialise with. If need be, print this off & show it to them.

Your doctors are busy trying to save lives, so please do not contact them asking for letters which justify your need to self-isolate or social distance. The flow chart here shows what you should be doing and what paperwork is available:

What is SELF ISOLATION and what should I do or not do?

 You MUST stay at home and NOT leave the house. If possible, you should not go out even to buy food or other essentials. If you need to leave the house to do some exercise, it must be at a safe distance from others (more than two metres away).

More info here: & here:


What is SHIELDING and what should I do or not do?

You are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact, with anyone, for a period of at least 12 weeks. This period of time may change.

More info here:

Hospitals and GP surgeries have been given this additional information: t_id=103481


What is SOCIAL DISTANCING and what should I do or not do?

Please note that this applies to EVERYONE who is not in self isolation or shielding.

1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough

2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible

3. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this.

4. Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces, noting that pubs, restaurants, leisure centres and similar venues are currently shut as infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together.

5. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media

6. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services

More info here:

Additional Information from the World Health Organisation:


Source: Guide (see attached, left) drawn up by GPs Dr Clare Hunter, Dr Paul Evans and Dr Mark J S Weir from Bridges Medical Practice in Gateshead [created 23 March]




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