Changes to GP services to protect patients from Coronavirus

GPs in Leicestershire and Rutland have quickly responded to the coronavirus pandemic by changing the way in which they deliver GP services to protect patients from the spread of infection.
Most routine face to face appointments have been cancelled although the most vulnerable patients and urgent cases may still be seen in person.
During this challenging time, patients needing to see a GP should telephone or use an online service if it’s available, via their practice website to make contact so that the practice team can review the request and respond appropriately. This way of working is not new for some practices and local practices are being supported to quickly modify to telephone and online methods in order to enable GPs and practice teams to assess and prioritise patients according to their need.
After being assessed, patients will receive safe advice and treatment over the phone, email or video and/or they may be offered an appointment at the surgery if this is absolutely necessary and if care cannot be offered remotely. This way of working supports the Government’s advice for people to stay at home and restrict their movements for only essential journeys to obtain food, medicine or to exercise. By accessing services in this way, everybody can contribute to saving lives by reducing the risk of any spread to vulnerable patients attending their practice as well as NHS staff.
Dr Ursula Montgomery, GP and Clinical Chair of East Leicestershire and Rutland CCG: “I would like to thank patients in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland for their understanding and reassure them that GP practice teams are doing their best to provide GP services whilst protecting the most vulnerable patients.
“It is important that people phone their GP practice or use an online system to send a message first and do not turn up at the practice premises without an appointment time agreed.
“We are asking for patients to assist us with this as it will protect you, your family and the practice team from infection. Practice teams are assessing every single person who contacts them to establish if a visit to the practice is required and our teams will continue to provide the safest advice and treatment.
“People can stay up to date with the latest advice by accessing their practice’s website or by accessing the NHS website and App. These sites provide more

information and advice on how you can protect yourself and the NHS by staying at home wherever possible.”
The local NHS would like to encourage all patients to play their part in reducing the risk of infection by taking some simple steps:
Do not go to your GP practice unless you have a booked and confirmed appointment.
Order prescriptions online wherever possible.
If you are unwell and need to collect a prescription, ask a friend or relative to collect it for you.
Download and use the NHS App to access NHS services using a smartphone or tablet.
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service for advice on what to do if you have Coronavirus symptoms. Only call NHS 111 direct if advised to do so by the online service or if you do not have access to the online service.
Stay updated on latest advice about Coronavirus using the NHS.uk website.
Anyone who has symptoms associated with Coronavirus, including a new continuous cough and or a high temperature, is advised to stay at home for seven days. They should not book a GP appointment, attend their GP practice or visit hospital.
People who live with a person who has these symptoms should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.