Accessing NHS services during the pandemic

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed all our lives. The way we work, spend our free time, and the people we see have all been impacted.

It has also changed how we access NHS services.

So where does that leave our healthcare..?

It can sometimes be difficult to know what to do if you feel unwell or have concerns about the health of yourself or your family. Many people have concerns about visiting GP’s and hospitals. It is important to remember these services have made significant changes aimed at making it safe for you to get the treatment help and advice you need during Coronavirus.

If you think you need medical help, it is just as important as always to make sure you get it.

That means keeping all your pre-existing appointments. Unless you are contacted and told not to and going to hospital if you’re advised to do so.

Seeing your GP & going to hospital

GP surgeries have worked hard to fine-tune their services to make them as safe and accessible as possible. If you feel you need to contact them then you should do so, but not in person.

You can visit your surgery’s website. Online services allow you to do things such as order repeat prescriptions, see test results and manage or make appointments. It is important to remember, when you order prescriptions to do so as you normally would and for the amounts you normally need. Ordering more medication than you need isn’t necessary and may make it harder for someone else to get theirs

Your GP surgery is also available via telephone just the same as before. They will give you the help and advice you need and will tell you what to do. You can find all the details of your local GP surgery here. Remember though that like many healthcare services, GP surgeries are very busy at the moment. That means you might have to wait longer than usual, especially if it isn’t urgent.

You may be told to visit the surgery if it’s absolutely necessary. Things might look a little different. There may be fewer seats in waiting areas and you will be expected to wear a face covering if you can. You might also be asked to come alone.

If you’re not asked to visit the surgery in person, you might be offered a phone or video call. This is usually with your GP or another health professional. These can be booked for you much the same as traditional appointments.

If you need to visit hospital for surgery or another procedure, your hospital should get in touch to tell you what you need to do beforehand. You may be asked to have a Coronavirus test before you go. Or to self-isolate with the people you live with or your support bubble.

These are important things that everyone is being asked to do. They help to make hospitals safer for everyone and to give us all peace of mind.

Where to go for help and advice
  • For routine dental treatments, call your dentist as some routine treatments are available once again. For urgent treatments or if you don’t have a dentist, contact the NHS 111 service
  • Do not visit your GP for contraception unless you have been told to do so. You can give them a call or contact your local sexual health clinic you might be given an electronic prescription to collect from a pharmacy or to be delivered

  • If you need someone to talk to at any time of the day or night, you can contact The Samaritans by calling free on 116 123

For any form of emergency medical help try to avoid going straight to A&E, instead call 999 for an ambulance