“During this Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve all heard the message to stay at home as much as possible and it’s great that people are doing this. GPs are still here for you though and it is important that you contact your surgery for advice or to make an appointment when you need to. So, if you need medical advice about something other than coronavirus, don’t put off calling your surgery online or by telephone and they will advise you on whether you need to see a doctor or nurse.
Dr Adrian McLachlan, GP
Clinicians across Lambeth are asking residents not to put off contacting the NHS if they need to consult a doctor or nurse during the Covid 19 pandemic. Fewer patients have been consulting their doctor or nurse for their usual health issues or in relation to new physical or mental health problems during this pandemic and this is concerning. There may be people out there who need medical advice and whose conditions may worsen if they don’t seek advice and support.
Residents are advised to contact their surgery if they feel unwell and not to ignore symptoms particularly if they have a long term condition or their mental health gets worse. It is also important that parents of babies and young children get in touch with their practice to arrange for their routine immunisations and that women who are pregnant or new mothers contact their surgery if they are worried about their own or their baby or child’s health.
A new public information campaign – including digital adverts, posters and social media featuring NHS staff – will be rolled out next week to persuade people to contact their GP or the 111 service if they have urgent care needs, or 999 in emergencies, and to attend hospital if they are told they should.
As well as encouraging people to seek help for urgent health needs, over the coming weeks the NHS will take steps to encourage people to use other vital services , such as cancer screening and care, maternity appointments and mental health support – as they usually would, by demonstrating how frontline teams are delivering them safely. You will see this campaign through us but also through our Lambeth Together partners. The NHS has also published information about how access health advice at home alongside advice on how to continue to stop the virus from spreading.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic means that patients are asked to contact their surgery online or by phone rather than go in person, doctors are still able to see patients via video conferencing or telephone consultation. Doctors and nurses can also still see and examine patients in person if this is necessary. This may or may not be at the patients regular practice as surgeries across Lambeth have made arrangements to try and ensure that they can assess people with symptoms of COVID-19 separately from other patients.