That’s the message from GPs in Dorset to local people as they are being reminded that primary care services are still there for them – although how they are accessed may have changed.
Despite the threat of COVID-19 decreasing in many areas it is still present in local communities so measures introduced earlier this year are remaining in place to reduce the risk of passing the virus to practice staff and patients.
Local GPs are reminding patients that they are open and if you have health concerns you should get in touch.
If you have concerns, contact your practice via their website or phone in the first instance. Practices in Dorset also use eConsult – an online system which enables patients to complete a confidential online form which is then sent to their GP who will respond the following day to offer advice, referral to an alternative service or an appointment if necessary.
If you need a face to face appointment, you will be offered one with the most appropriate person – it may not be your GP; however, it is more likely you will be contacted remotely for example by phone or offered a video consultation.
If your GP thinks you need to be referred to a hospital for treatment or tests, they will arrange this and let you know the details.
If you have an appointment for a vaccination or treatment, please still attend.
Dr Forbes Watson is a local GP and Chair of NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, he said “During the COVID-19 pandemic we have all learnt a great deal and had to adapt our ways of working to enable us to carry on offering care to patients whilst at the same time ensuring they are protected and risk to our own staff is minimised. This is why we are asking people to contact us first via the phone or online rather than turn up as they may have done in the past.
Despite these changes we still want to see people so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local practice if you have any concerns, and if you are invited for a check-up or vaccination please make sure you attend.”
The NHS in Dorset is also reminding people of other options when care is needed:
Speak to your local pharmacist who can provide you with the medicines and advice you need.
111.nhs.uk or 111
If you need urgent advice and aren’t sure where to go.
A&E or ED
If it is serious or life threatening, don’t hesitate – call 999.
For more information and details of where to find your nearest service visit www.nhs.uk.