NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is issuing the reminder as part of its ‘Your NHS is here for you’ campaign advising people that if they become unwell over the spring bank holiday weekend, they can get medical help.
Although most practices will be closed, appointments with GPs and other healthcare staff are still available.
Appointments must be pre-booked – by calling your own GP practice or by ringing NHS 111. The appointment may not be at your usual GP practice but at a nearby surgery referred to as an extended access hub.
People are being reminded that they must call ahead as all walk-in options are currently suspended in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Most appointments are offered over the telephone or through video consultation. Face-to-face appointments are still offered where these are necessary, with patients being advised accordingly.
Dr Sarah Forbes, GP and Associate Medical Director for NHS Leeds CCG, said: “We want to make sure that people who are unwell can still get medical help over the bank holiday weekend so our extended access hubs will be open as normal. This means people can still see a healthcare professional, normally a GP or a nurse. Even though the appointment might not be at your usual practice and is likely to take place over the telephone, the healthcare professional looking after you will have access to your medical records.
“If you have any cancer symptoms such as a lump in your breast, changes in bowel habits, blood in your pee or poo, unexplained weight loss, moles that appear to change or a cough that you’ve had for three weeks or more please get in touch with your GP practice as soon as possible.”
“You should call 999 for life-threatening emergencies, this includes chest pain, blackouts, severe blood loss that can’t be stopped, a serious injury, or if you think you’re having a stroke. Some people may decide that they don’t want to access emergency services, and this could possibly be due to fear of coronavirus or not wanting to burden the NHS. Please do not put your health at risk and get seen by a healthcare professional, you will be treated in a safe, low risk environment.
“We appreciate that good weather may tempt people to go out for the bank holiday weekend. If you do go out, social distancing is still vital. You should stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times, and wash your hands as soon as you get home. Following these rules will help control the spread of the virus to the wider community, particularly the most vulnerable.
“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. Should your symptoms get worse or you feel you’re struggling to cope please call NHS 111 or 999 in an emergency. Let the call talker know that you have coronavirus symptoms. You must not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital unless you have been told to do so.”
If anyone is having difficulty getting food or medication delivered and do not have friends or family nearby, there is support available through the Leeds City Council helpline on 0113 378 1877. For more information about the support that is available in Leeds, visit: https://www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus.
For the latest advice on coronavirus please visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. Find out more about accessing medical help urgently or when faced with a life or limb-threatening emergency www.leedsccg.nhs.uk/HereForYou