The NHS is here for you
Don’t delay in getting urgent treatment if you need it – that’s the message to members of the public in a major new NHS campaign.
People’s concerns about coronavirus and a fear of being a burden on health services have led to a significant drop in the numbers of people seeking treatment in recent weeks.
GP practices have seen a reduction in contact from patients, while around one million fewer people attended hospital Accident and Emergency departments nationwide this April compared to the same month last year.
The risk is that if people with potentially serious conditions don’t seek help when they first notice symptoms, their condition can deteriorate and pose significant problems to their long-term health, or worse.
Dr Andy Brooks is a GP and the Clinical Chief Officer of the Frimley Collaborative, a partnership of NHS organisations responsible for funding and planning the majority of health services for 800,000 people, from Farnham in Surrey to Slough in Berkshire.
He said: “As local clinicians we want people in our communities to know that we are here for them and that if they suspect that something is wrong and they need to get checked urgently, they can and should still do that.
“Local health services have gone to great lengths to make sure that people can still attend appointments when they need to and that they can do so safely.
“The sooner a problem is discovered, the sooner it can be treated and the better the chances are of making a swift and complete recovery.
People may find that the process of accessing services is different to before the pandemic. All initial contact with GP surgeries is by phone or online. If someone has urgent care needs they can also call 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk.
Since the lockdown began, many people have been able to treat minor ailments and injuries themselves at home, using a well-stocked medicine cabinet or first aid kit. People are encouraged to continue to do this where appropriate but to contact healthcare services for more serious or urgent matters or if they have any concerns. Find out more about self-care here.
Dr Brooks added: “Many other vital health services are operating, such as maternity, mental health and cancer services, and I would urge people to continue to use these services and contact them in the normal way.
“Also, if you have a child who is due to have routine vaccinations it is important that they receive them. The Covid-19 outbreak should not prevent your young ones from being protected against other viruses and infections.”
Seeking medical care is one of the reasons that people are allowed to leave their homes, under the national lockdown rules.