PATIENTS and carers across Sefton and West Lancashire are urged to continue to seek medical assistance should their children suffer an injury or become ill.
Despite GP surgeries, hospitals and other health and care providers still offering many of their usual services, there has been a significant drop in the number of people seeking help with more routine health issues, because of the coronavirus.
The head of the NHS has launched a national drive to persuade the public to seek the urgent care and treatment they need.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens warned that delays in getting treatment due to coronavirus fears pose a long term risk to people’s health.
The plea comes alongside new findings that 40% of people are too concerned about being a burden on the NHS to seek help from their GP.
It is very important that people continue to follow Government advice around staying at home and practicing social distancing.
However, seeking medical help is one of the four reasons that people can safely leave home; and your hospitals, GP Surgeries and other settings have taken significant measures, including social distancing, to ensure your safety during the pandemic.
Southport and Ormskirk hospitals are open - the A&E Department at Southport Hospital is open as usual 24 hours a day for adults who have a serious illness or injuries; whilst for parents and carers, of children and young people up to 16 years, the A&E at Ormskirk is open between 8am and 10pm every day.
There are a number of ways to access help and advice through the NHS 111 service, online via the NHS website and app, as well as continuing to use your GP surgery or walk-in centre, through phone and video consultations and at your hospitals in Southport and Ormskirk.
Associate Professor Dr May Ng, Consultant Paediatrician and Paediatric Endocrinologist, for Southport and Ormskirk, Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “These are worrying times, and it is extremely important that we all follow the Government advice.
“But it is not just Covid-19 that poses a health risk to our children. If parents or carers do feel that their child may have an illness of any sort, they should make sure they seek advice and help. Our GP Surgeries and hospitals are still open and ready to safely receive patients who need care.”
“I understand why people may have concerns about coming into the GP surgery or hospital at this time. But if your child has an injury or illness we are still here to help and will offer the same, safe, care through our hospitals and GPs. You may see some differences if you do need to attend a surgery or hospital at this time, however we are still here to help people when they need it.”
Dr Peter Gregory, local GP and chair of NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “The NHS is open and there to care for those who need treatment and support.
“We appreciate the anxieties and hesitation around accessing healthcare during the pandemic, but many services are now shaped differently to keep both patients and staff safe.
“We are utilising technology where we can to offer remote consultations when needed, and are working as a blended team in West Lancashire with community health services so we can pool our resources and staff, to ensure quality services continue.”
Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG and lead for children’s services, said: “It can be worrying at any time if your child or the young person you care for is unwell. That’s why it’s more important than ever to remember that there is a range of local health services that can help and that they are still here for you.
“You should still contact your local pharmacy, NHS 111 or your GP practice for advice. However, you will be asked to access these services slightly differently for the time being but this is to keep you and your child safe and to get them the right care as well.
“So, you should call your GP practice first rather than going along in person. Your pharmacy may be operating different opening times, so call to check before you go and remember it will be operating social distancing measures, so it may take a little longer to be seen.
“All these measures are designed protect you and your child. I’d urge anyone with concerns about their child’s health not to delay and seek help straight away as you would do in normal times.”