People in Sefton are being urged to continue to seek medical treatment if they need urgent help. Health leaders at NHS South Sefton and NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) want to reassure residents that the NHS is still here for you.
Nationally, there has a been a sharp decrease in the number of referrals for treatment and investigations for conditions like cancer, which may result in patients being diagnosed later, potentially decreasing their chances of survival and placing extra burden on the NHS.
General practice, pharmacies, NHS 111 and accident and emergency departments in the area are open for those who need them, and extra measures have been put in place to ensure it is safe for patients to attend. Most GP practices and hospitals have now set up new systems offering telephone or video consultations to patients as an alternative to face to face appointments.
Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton CCG and lead for primary care said: “We want to reassure people that the NHS is here for you if you need it. Please don’t leave your illness or condition until it is too late.”
“Worryingly, we are seeing people with serious medical conditions such as stroke, heart attack and cancer symptoms coming into hospital much later than they should, causing them long term harm. That’s why it’s really important that people seek medical advice as and when they normally would if they have urgent health concerns.”
Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG and lead for children’s services, said: “Whilst it’s extremely important to stay at home and practice social distancing seeking medical help is one of the four reasons that people should leave home, in line with government guidance.
“If you or your child is unwell you should still contact NHS 111 or your GP practice for advice. However, you will be asked to access these services slightly differently for the time being to ensure the safety of you and your child.
“You should not go to your GP practice, but instead contact them by phone or online first.”
If you need urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service. If you cannot get help online or need help for a child under the age of five, call 111. If it is a serious or life-threatening emergency, call 999.
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature or a new, continuous cough – who needs medical advice, should use the dedicated NHS 111 COVID-19 service online. You should only call NHS 111 if you can’t get help online, as their phone lines are very busy at this time. Please do not go to your GP practice or community pharmacy.
Dental practices are not currently offering routine dental treatment but are able to triage and offer advice and prescriptions if needed. If an appointment is needed, this will be arranged at an urgent dental centre. If you need urgent dental treatment contact your dental practice by phone first. If you can’t contact them or don’t have a dentist, go online 111.nhs.uk or call NHS 111.