GP Practices are working hard to ensure that essential services continue to run for the communities they serve.
During this pandemic, there will be temporary changes to the way that patients can access essential care and services in the community to protect these services while under pressure.
Practices are making some alternative arrangements for their patients such as:
Using telephone triage (detailed assessment by a GP or nurse)
Online and video consultations with patients where appropriate
Suspending some non-essential services and moving to telephone reviews where appropriate
Issuing multiple prescriptions at a time where safe to do so
Temporary closure by the GPs of some branch surgeries to consolidate services
Patients with complex needs will continue to receive the care they need as assessed by their GP.
Some practices, listed in the table below, will be open for a limited time over the forthcoming Easter weekend. They will be offering essential services to patients who require an urgent consultation. Patients will be assessed over the telephone by a GP or nurse and will be offered face-to-face consultations if clinically appropriate. Patients are asked to contact their surgery as normal if it is necessary.
Many practices are ensuring that repeat prescriptions are available for direct collection from the nearest community pharmacy, avoiding the need for patients to go into the surgery. Patients can confirm this with their own practice.
Most practices have, or are in the process, of using eConsult via their website. This secure online service enables GPs to offer online consultations to their patients. This allows patients to submit details of their symptoms or requests electronically to their practice for a response, and offers around the clock NHS self-help information, signposting to services, and a symptom checker. Patients can access this service by visiting their practice website and following the link.
Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community and Long-term Care for Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We are working with GP Practices on proactive and prudent measures which they are implementing to ensure that they can continue to provide safe and essential services for patients.
“This is period of significant challenge for the NHS in Wales and all parts of the system are having to respond quickly and decisively to protect services for patients and the most vulnerable in particular.
“We fully support our GMS partners in taking these measures during this pandemic.”
Patients who need to attend essential appointments must contact their surgery before attending if they experience symptoms of a new cough or a temperature. Thank you for your co-operation.