In It Together - General Practice
The first wave of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic saw a great deal of love expressed for the NHS. The public banged their pans, applauded, painted rainbows, donated to hospital charities and gave their time and energy to help protect health and care services.
As the pandemic has progressed, the NHS continues to experience pressure the like of which has not been seen in living memory, if ever. General Practice clinical and support staff in Cheshire (and beyond) have risen to the challenge – including helping to implement the largest mass immunisation programme in history.
Dr Andrew Wilson, Cheshire GP and Clinical Chair of NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “General Practice is still open and here for you and we are continuing to provide services as we have been doing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, due to Coronavirus, how you access your doctor or nurse may be different at the moment.
“Primary care is often where people have the most contact with the NHS. I’m encouraging more kindness and understanding as we know that these are challenging and stressful times for everyone.”
Face-to-face appointments remain available to all patients where there is a clinical need - new figures show that Cheshire’s GP practices conducted more than 1.3 million face-to-face appointments during 2020-21 despite the many challenges presented by the pandemic.
However, you may be asked to discuss your conditions over the phone or online with a member of the healthcare team first to assess what would be most appropriate for you and which practice member is best-placed to provide it.
Dr Andrew McAlavey, Cheshire GP and NHS Cheshire CCG’s Joint Medical Director said: “General Practice is not closed and has not been closed - it's just different. We've introduced new ways of working such as telephone and video appointments to help keep people safe.
“The majority of common conditions can be assessed and diagnosed by your doctor or nurse via telephone or video consultation. They are experienced and skilled in doing this. Using technology like this will help to protect you, your family and loved ones - and GP practice staff from the potential risk of the virus.”
Tricia Vickers, a Practice Manager in Crewe and Enhanced Training Hub Manager, added “Most GP practices are offering services such as telephone consultations. These can be convenient and flexible ways to receive healthcare. If you have a preference about how to access care you can discuss it with your practice.
“We’re all working really hard to provide the best care we can for our patients. I know that, personally, some staff are going through difficult times and may be suffering bereavement, anxiety or caring for loved ones at home. Let’s all protect the NHS and look after each other. We are in it together.”
Please look after your NHS as it looks after you.