GP practices in Leeds have moved the majority of their appointments to telephone or video consultations as part of the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
NHS Leeds said today that face-to-face appointments are still offered where absolutely necessary with patients being advised accordingly.
In addition any practices that previously provided same-day walk-in appointments have suspended this option.
Local GPs are also encouraging people to download and use the NHS app to access services such as repeat prescriptions as well as self management support for any existing health conditions.
And in an effort to get people to the right healthcare professional, people are being advised to provide as much detail as possible for their call when contacting their local GP practice.
Dr Sarah Forbes, GP and Associate Medical Director for NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:
“The challenges facing the NHS are unprecedented, and we have been working on making sure our environment keeps patients and NHS teams as safe as possible by making use of telephone and online.
“We have been working across the city so that all my colleagues working in GP practices are confident in providing a safe and high quality service to our patients while reducing the risk of people catching COVID-19.
“It’s really important that anyone who thinks they have COVID-19 follows NHS advice and stays at home, using the NHS 111 online service should they need any support. You must not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital. Should your symptoms get worse or you feel you’re struggling to cope please call NHS 111.”
Over the coming weeks further changes could see patients with suspected COVID-19 being seen at one location, where invited to do so. The aim will be to reduce the pressure on hospital services.
The ‘hub’ sites will only accept patients referred in through NHS 111, where appropriate to do so, with onward clinical assessment at a local level undertaken by a Leeds GP. The sites will not offer community testing for the disease.
For the latest advice on coronavirus please visit the NHS website.