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How to access primary care services during lockdown

All primary care services (GP practices, dental practices, pharmacies and optometry providers) remain open during the current national lockdown and people can continue to access them as they have through the pandemic.

The rate of Covid infections is starting to have an impact on all NHS services, including primary care. This means that the services you need may be busier than usual. Staff are working hard to provide services and care for patients, so people are asked to respect them and be patient.

Here’s what to expect:

General practice

For your safety, you will need to contact your practice by phone or online to begin with. You will be assessed and offered a phone or video appointment, or a face to face appointment if you need one.

The majority of common conditions can be assessed and diagnosed by your doctor by 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.

Dental care

Call your dental practice in the first instance rather than going there in person unless you have a booked appointment. They can assess you over the phone, offer advice, medication or a face to face appointment if this is needed.

Dental practices are prioritising patients with urgent dental needs whilst ensuring the safety of patients and staff. For some specific dental treatments, your dentist may need to be refer you to an urgent dental centre.

If you do not have a regular dentist, you can find one by going to:


Things may be a little different but your local pharmacy is still here for you. Your local pharmacy can provide help and advice over the phone – not just face to face. Find your nearest pharmacy at


Urgent and essential eye care services are available and you should still attend eye care appointments if they're going ahead and if you’re well. If you need urgent eye care and you don’t have a regular optician, contact NHS 111.