As new Covid-19 (coronavirus) restrictions for Merseyside begin, the local NHS is reminding people that services are still there for those who need them.
GPs, hospitals, maternity services, and community and mental health services are continuing to see patients for both new and ongoing conditions, and people who need help or advice should seek it. Those already undergoing treatment, including patients receiving cancer care, should continue unless advised of any changes by their doctor or nurse.
People should contact their GP practice by telephone or via their practice website in the first instance, but those who clinically require face to face appointments will be offered them. Practices are working together to minimise any disruption for patients, so in some cases, people might be asked to attend another local surgery if they need to see a doctor or nurse in person.
Local NHS Walk-in Centres across Liverpool continue to operate daily between 8am and 8pm; people just need to call first on 0300 100 1004 to arrange an appointment.
Dr Fiona Lemmens, a local GP and Chair of NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation which plans NHS healthcare services across the city, said:
“We know that during the first wave of coronavirus in the spring some people didn’t always seek help or advice about their health, either because they didn’t want to put extra pressure on the NHS, or because they were worried about catching the virus. It’s really important that you don’t put off getting help if you need it, and that you don’t discontinue any treatment unless your medical team tell you to.
“Across the NHS we’ve put in place systems to keep patients and staff safe, and reduce the spread of the virus. For example, if your GP or nurse decides that you do need to see someone face to face, you’ll find that your practice will have a system for keeping patients separate. Hospitals and community clinics have these arrangements too.
“Please also remember that when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk, you should call 999 immediately, just as you usually would – especially if they think that they might be having a heart attack or stroke – every second counts with these conditions.”
Dr Sheena Khanduri, Medical Director of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re concerned that some people with symptoms that could be cancer may not be contacting their GP for advice. Cancer is much more treatable when found at an early stage so don’t delay seeking help.
“Ask your GP about any unexplained lumps, weight loss, blood that isn’t from an obvious injury, or pain lasting three weeks or more.
“It’s also really important that people with cancer continue with any ongoing treatment unless advised otherwise by their cancer care team.”
Those eligible for a free flu jab are also encouraged to keep their appointments for annual vaccination clinics, which are now well underway at GP practices across the city. Adults at high risk from flu are also more at risk from coronavirus.
A range of GP services, such as ordering repeat prescriptions, can be done online. People who don’t yet have GP online services, but would like to use them, should visit their GP practice website for more details about how to set this up.
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature or a new, continuous cough – should isolate at home and arrange to get a test as soon as possible, either at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119. Medical advice about symptoms is available at www.111.nhs.uk/COVID-19, or by calling NHS 111 if you can’t get help online.