PEOPLE in West Lancashire are being reminded that although GP practices may be working a little differently because of the coronavirus pandemic, they are, “still there for those who need them”.
Since March, people have quickly adapted to using phone and video in all aspects of their lives – for shopping, pre-booking time slots to access various services and venues – and GP services have been no different.
Dr Peter Gregory, a local GP and chair at NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “GPs and practice staff across West Lancashire have been amazing in their response to the pandemic – drastically increasing the number of telephone and video consultations to ensure patients could still access services during the pandemic.
“I cannot thank them enough for their dedication to supporting residents throughout this challenging and very busy time. I’d also like to thank West Lancashire residents for their ongoing patience and support of their local GPs and practice staff.”
Dr Rakesh Jaidka, a local GP and clinical director for the Skelmersdale Primary Care Network (PCN), said: “We know that it is a worrying time, but we would like to reassure you that your GP is there for you should you need them. If you are unwell or have a concern about your physical or mental health then please contact your surgery by calling them, going to their website on using the NHS App.”
“Where possible, your GP will talk to you over the phone or online to find out more and discuss the next steps. If you are asked to come in for an appointment, please don’t delay getting the care or treatment you need and attend your appointment straight away. Coronavirus safety measures are in place to ensure that we can continue to see patients face-to-face when necessary.”
With the Covid-19 vaccine now in the process of being rolled out nationwide, residents are reminded, “we all must still continue to be vigilant” and that if they or a loved one does display any Covid-19 symptoms such as a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste – they must self-isolate at home and get a test as soon as possible. People can get a test online, or by calling 119.
Dr Gregory continued: “The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech has met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness and therefore been approved for use in the UK. Other vaccines are being developed and will be thoroughly tested and approved before we start to use them.
“At first, the vaccine will be offered to people who are most at risk from Covid-19, before being offered more widely. You will be contacted by the NHS when it's your turn so please do not contact your GP to ask about the vaccine.”