THERE are no plans to start offering more face-to-face GP appointments in West Lancashire, despite the recent lockdown easing.
GPs will therefore continue to prioritise the use of telephone and video assessments, with patients only asked to attend in person when it is ‘deemed necessary’ and can be done in a safe way.
The NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) say that the threat of infection from COVID-19 still exists within local communities, and patients are being asked to continue to follow guidance in place and take the necessary precautions such as wearing face coverings and practicing good hygiene.
Dr Peter Gregory, local GP and chair at NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “GP practices are open and have been providing GP services throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They have learned during the pandemic, that they can conduct consultations very well with the vast majority of patients using digital technology. The majority of common conditions can be assessed and diagnosed by your GP by telephone or video consultation.
“However, as has been the case throughout the pandemic, if your GP feels that a face to face appointment is required and it is safe to do so, this will be arranged for you.
“Accessing your GP in the correct way for your specific medical need will help to protect you, your family and loved ones - and GP practice staff from the potential risk of the virus.
“Your GP can now also offer additional services, such as physiotherapy. Or they may refer you to a local pharmacy who can also offer clinical consultations for many common illnesses and conditions.
“GP Practices have been busy throughout the pandemic continuing to provide support to patients as well as being an important part of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Patients are being reminded that staff are here to help and should be treated with kindness and respect.”
GP practice buildings are public buildings and as such must be kept Covid-secure.
GP practices will already have a process in place for managing entry into the premises to help minimise the risk of anybody spreading the virus.
New ways of providing GP services have been introduced in order to maintain people’s access to a GP practice team while protecting them, others and staff.
Triage (making an assessment of people’s condition and prioritising care accordingly) is an important part of how GP practices work. This has always been in place but has been vitally important during the pandemic.