GP services available to support health needs of patients across area
PUBLISHED: 06:55 04 September 2020
Patients across North Somerset can continue to access GP services safely and are urged to contact their practice if they have a medical need.
To respond to the coronavirus pandemic, GP practices moved to a system of telephone, video or online in the first instance to understand the best way for people to be treated.
For those who need to be seen in person because their condition cannot be managed remotely, an appointment will be arranged with the appropriate healthcare professional.
Practices have transformed the way their services are offered to make sure face-to-face appointments can be offered safely and effectively to those who need them.
A number of measures have been put in place to keep patients safe, including managing social distancing in waiting rooms, separate areas so patients with symptoms of coronavirus do not come into contact with non-coronavirus areas, requiring everyone to wear face masks while in the practice buildings and staff having access to appropriate PPE to wear during face-to-face appointments.
Dr Geeta Iyer, GP and clinical lead for primary care development, said: “We’re reminding patients not to ignore their health concerns and to contact their GP as soon as possible if they have a symptom they are worried about.
“Patients can contact their GP in the usual way by phoning or using your practice’s website.
“We are continuing to do everything we can to see patients at a time and place that best suits their needs and want to reassure patients that if they do need to attend in person, we have taken steps to ensure they can be seen safely.”
Since April, all practices across the area have been operating video appointments to allow remote assessment of appropriate conditions, with more than 14,000 taking place in the past three months.
Telephone appointments have also been widely used, with more than 196,000 appointments taking place over the phone in June alone.
Dr Iyer added: “We know people are now comfortable with the idea of a video consultation with a healthcare professional.
“This has increased as people have been using more technology to connect with family and colleagues during this time. However, we also know this won’t be ideal for everyone – so we are continuing to adapt to support these groups in the best way possible.”
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