NHS services across Buckinghamshire are reminding people that hospital Emergency Departments and GP services are still here for them and still safe to use, despite the coronavirus outbreak.
Attendance at both hospitals and GP practices for non-coronavirus illnesses or injuries are lower than usual for this period.
This has raised concerns that people who should be getting medical advice or treatment may be nervous about using NHS services. The danger is that serious issues like strokes and heart attacks may not be treated quickly enough, which could lead to slower recovery rates and even prove fatal. A&E services are still open as usual and you can still call 999 in medical emergencies.
People also don’t seem to be using GP services as often as usual. This is especially concerning in cases where people may be living with long-term conditions, like diabetes or heart disease, or when vulnerable adults or children may need support. By not using GP services now, people may find themselves with more serious health concerns later on.
GP surgeries are closed for walk-in appointments, but you can call to arrange a telephone consultation or, if you are over 16, use the AskNHS app. In some cases – where clinically appropriate – people may be invited in for a face to face consultation.
Dr Tina Kenny, Medical Director at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We understand that sick or injured people may be avoiding coming to hospital, perhaps because they worry about burdening NHS services or being exposed to coronavirus. But we are very carefully managing the flow of patients with coronavirus symptoms so they are in separate areas to other patients, keeping everyone as safe as possible.
“So please use your NHS services if you or a loved one needs medical attention – getting the right help at the right time can save lives.”
Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Your GP services are here for you during the coronavirus outbreak and we want you to keep using them.
“We know there are people out there who need our help and who are risking their long-term health by not contacting us. We’re particularly concerned about people with long term conditions, like diabetes or heart disease, as well as children, elderly or vulnerable people and adults with learning disabilities.”
National advice for people who think they may have COVID-19 remains to visit NHS 111 online and self-isolate for seven days.
For more information, please visit the NHS COVID-19 website