Change to medical care pathway for people in Lanarkshire with Covid-19

From today people in Lanarkshire who feel unwell with symptoms of Covid-19 and think they need medical attention are being advised to make their GP practice their first point of call.

In a change to the current pathway, from March 31 those with symptoms of the virus and seeking medical attention are being asked not to call NHS 24 on 111 and instead call their GP during their practice opening hours.

This is in line with what is already in place for all other respiratory conditions.

If help and advice is required out of hours, then 111 should still be called.

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NHS Lanarkshire are also reminding people that their own website offers help and advice and features “Meet the Experts”, which highlights a range of services that local healthcare professionals across Lanarkshire can provide. Visiting the website can help signpost patients and reduce the numbers of those attending their GP first or facing a lengthy wait in A&E departments.

Information on Covid-19 and other health issues is also still available on the NHS Inform webpage.

Dr Linda Findlay, medical director, South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Although many of the pandemic measures within the general community are relaxing, it’s vital people are aware that Covid is still very much with us and there remains great pressure across the whole health and care system.

“It is unlikely that general practice will return to pre-pandemic ways of working. GP practices have had to change the way they provide patient care to protect everyone, maintain safe infection control measures, ensure social distancing, wearing of face masks and minimizing – where possible and safe to do so – physical contact.

“These restrictions will continue to be in place in healthcare settings across Lanarkshire for the foreseeable future and we would ask that members of the public continue to adhere to these.

Dr Linda Findlay, Medical Director, South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership

“Most practices now operate a system where patients have to call the practice prior to being able to make an appointment. Practices have a wider healthcare team, in addition to GPs, and patients will be navigated to speak to the most appropriate person, eg the practice nurse, pharmacist etc.

“This way of working ensures the patient receives the right care from the right person at the right time and helps makes best use of the valuable and highly-skilled resources available. This has proven highly beneficial for patients to ensure their needs are met.”

The medical director also thanked GPs for their work throughout the pandemic and called for better understanding from the Lanarkshire public on the unprecedented pressure health services were currently facing, adding: “Our staff continue to work extremely hard to ensure that patients are seen and treated as quickly as possible in the most challenging of situations and we ask that people be kind to our staff and colleagues who are committed to caring, no matter the circumstances.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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