How are services at GP surgeries in Halton and Warrington being changed to support the response to Coronavirus?
Patients should not go into any surgery in Halton and Warrington without a pre-booked appointment.
All GP surgeries in Halton and Warrington have adopted a total triage system. This means If you need help with a health concern, you should contact your surgery via phone or by completing an online form on your practice website (eConsult). A clinical member of staff will call you back to provide an assessment or to discuss your issue to provide advice or to arrange a telephone or face-to-face appointment with a GP.
In addition, face-to-face assessment sites have been set up at a small number of surgeries.
What is the aim of the face-to-face assessment sites?
The aim of the sites is to offer, when appropriate, pre-booked face-to-face GP appointments to either patients with COVID-19 symptoms or members of their household in order to help these patients with a range of health issues and concerns. These sites are not offering testing for COVID-19.
What does this mean for patients with COVID-19 symptoms?
If you have COVID-19 symptoms and you need advice or treatment with any health issue, you should contact NHS 111 in the first instance, unless it is a life-threatening emergency, then you should dial 999.
- If you have possible COVID-19 and you are struggling to cope with your symptoms, you should use the NHS 111 online Coronavirus service - https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19.
- If you have COVID-19 symptoms but have another health concern, please contact NHS 111 online at https://111.nhs.uk/ or via phone.
NHS 111 may then refer you to your GP Practice for further assessment via phone or video call. If clinically appropriate, a face-to-face appointment will be booked by the practice at one of the dedicated face-to-face assessment sites which have been set up in Halton and Warrington. As a result, you may need to go to a different surgery than normal for an assessment with a GP. They will not offer testing for COVID-19.
To ensure the safety of patients and staff, only patients who have the complaint and a booked appointment at the assessment sites will be allowed access. Patients will only be allowed to enter one at a time, they will be asked to wait in a car if possible and only enter when they are contacted by mobile phone.
What does this mean for patients living in a household with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms
If you have a heath concern but are self-isolating because you live in a household with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms, you can contact the surgery directly via phone or by contacting the practice via an online form on the practice website (eConsult).
IMPORTANT: please make the surgery aware that you are living in a household with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms.
A clinical member of staff will call you back to provide an assessment over the phone and they will arrange a video or face-to face appointment for you if required. Face-to-face appointments for patients who live in a household with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms will take place at one of the dedicated face-to-face assessment sites.
What does this mean for households that DO NOT have COVID-19 symptoms?
To reduce any potential risk of infection, patients who live in households without any COVID-19 symptoms will be seen separately from patients with COVID-19 symptoms and members of their household. As a result of the new arrangements, you may be asked to attend a different surgery than usual. If you need to attend a different surgery, we will advise you at the time of booking your appointment.
Why has the decision been made to set up face-to-face assessment sites?
By having a small number of sites providing GP appointments to patients with COVID-19 symptoms and members of their household who are self-isolating, it will help these patients access the support they need with any health concerns. It will also help support our local hospitals who are facing increasing pressures during the pandemic.
The implementation of the new face-to-face assessment sites is being carried out across the country and follows national NHS guidance.
What happens if I can’t attend a different surgery because I do not have a car and there is no option to get public transport?
Please discuss this with your local surgery at the time of booking your appointment who will do their best to support you. If you are having any issues, you can also contact our COVID-19 Patient Advice Line at email@example.com or 01925 303370. The line is open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm and there is a voicemail service for people calling out of hours. Lines are busy so please call back if you are having trouble getting through or contact the team via email.
Can I be tested for COVID-19 at one of the assessment sites?
No, the purpose of the sites is for GPs to offer advice and treatment to patients with COVID-19 symptoms and their family members for any health issues.
Which surgeries will be used as face-to-face assessment sites?
The location of the surgeries is not being announced. This is because they may change depending upon demand and also because we do not want people with COVID-19 symptoms or their family members to turn up onsite without an appointment as this could cause a health and safety risk for other patients and staff.
Will patients who do not have COVID-19 symptoms be put at risk because of the new sites?
NO, patient and staff safety is our highest priority. To reduce any potential risk of infection, if you do not have COVID-19 symptoms, you will be seen separately from patients with COVID-19 symptoms and members of their household.
As a result of the new arrangements, you may be asked to attend a different surgery than usual. If you need to attend a different surgery, we will advise you at the time of booking your appointment.
How safe are the face-to-face assessment sites?
Patients will only be allowed to enter one at a time. Patients will be asked to wait in a car if possible and only enter when they are contacted by mobile phone.
All sites will undergo rigorous and regular deep cleaning to Public Health England standards. All staff will wear personal protective equipment and all patients will be asked to wear masks.
Where can I find out more information about Coronavirus?
National information can be viewed at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.
Local information for Warrington patients can be found at www.warringtonccg.nhs.uk
Local information for Halton patients can be found at www.haltonccg.nhs.uk.
What if I have other questions and concerns about the face-to-face assessment sites?
Please email our COVID-19 Patient Advice Line at firstname.lastname@example.org.