Seeing our GP and visiting our local surgery can be challenging at the moment despite being something we have all taken for granted in the past. Much the same can be said regarding dental care, optician’s services and home visits from health care professionals. For some of us even seeing our local pharmacist for help and advice on less serious problems can prove difficult at the current time.
These are all the traditional, time-tested ways of accessing healthcare we are familiar with, yet some might be labelled as less than perfect or impractical at the moment due to the national effort to contain the spread of Coronavirus.
With that fact in mind, seeking alternate ways to access healthcare has never been a more important issue.
Different ways to get the care we need
Fortunately there are now a number of alternate ways we can access the healthcare services we need from qualified, reputable healthcare professionals without visiting the High Street or our local surgeries.
While it is always advised to follow the traditional process of calling 999 for life-threatening emergencies, the NHS 111 service is now set up to provide as much help and advice as possible. It can be accessed via telephone and online for things such as emergency prescriptions, isolation notes and information and advice regarding conditions, symptoms, common medicines and over the counter treatments.
Almost all local GP surgeries have their own dedicated websites. Here you can find information on the team of doctors who practice there, their specialities and opening times. However you can also request repeat prescriptions and even fill out simple online forms to get timely advice and treatment from the staff based there.
You can also ask about common medical problems such as coughs and colds, back pain or mental health issues, as well as more general issues such as tiredness, dizziness or localised pain. You might also be able to request sick notes, test results and GP letters.
NHS approved apps
The National Health Service has built up an online resource full of very useful apps that anyone can download and use to access healthcare quickly and easily, many of which are free.
These apps pass stringent tests for safety, usability and accessibility before being given the NHS stamp of approval and cover a wide range of categories and services. Simply search for the topic you need and see the range of apps on offer.
Due to the current situation regarding Coronavirus we can only visit GP surgeries if specifically told to do so. However online consultations are available should you need one via your telephone or mobile device. Acting much the same way as a physical appointment you can still have a digital face to face conversation with your doctor to discuss symptoms and explore potential treatments. From here your GP may decide to ask you to visit the surgery, or it may be an issue that can be solved from home.
It is important to remember that surgeries and practices all over the UK are particularly busy right now but they are doing everything they can to ensure their patients get the support and treatment they need.
Urgent dental care
Dental practices in particular have faced a greater range of challenges when it comes to providing the right levels of care whilst also keeping staff and patients as safe as possible. Much like GP surgeries they are able to deliver advice and management via remote consultations, as well as providing prescriptions which can be collected at or delivered by your pharmacy.
If however you do need urgent face to face treatment, you may be referred to a designated dental clinic which is unlikely to be your regular practice but which will be able to give you the treatment you need in a safer more suitable environment.