SERVICES across primary care continue to be available for their communities.
GP surgeries and pharmacies, and a number of dental practices and optometrists remain operational to provide urgent and essential care.
Social distancing is in place across primary care sites for the safety of patients and staff. Healthcare professionals seeing patients face-to-face to assess or provide treatment will be using the appropriate PPE and screens are in place at some counters and reception areas.
Services are operating in a different way during this pandemic and many practices are utilising new technology to consult with their patients including the use of video calls.
Healthcare professionals from the four professional groups have been helping to spread the message that primary care is still there for patients who need essential treatments and medical advice. The video can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/hoUCShcMxOQ
Maria Battle, Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “We wish to reassure patients that primary care services are still available to you. Please do not put off seeking treatment.
“Patients who are concerned about a medical problem should please contact their GP Practice and you will receive advice and treatment.
“While dentists and optometrists doors are closed, they are still available to provide advice and some treatment to their patients. Anyone who has concerns about their dental or eye health should call their own practice in the first instance.
“Our colleagues in pharmacies remain open to provide essential services and have excellent safety measures in place.
“We’d like to thank all our colleagues in primary care who continue to work hard to offer a service to their patients during this difficult time.”
Dr Llinos Roberts who is a GP at Tumble Surgery added: “The main message for patients is not to put anything off. Your surgery doors may be closed but staff are there for patients, providing consulting and advice over the phone and via video calls.
“We don’t know how long this pandemic will last for, so please don’t put things off, please get in touch with your GP if you are concerned about anything.”
Guide to current services available
How to contact your practice:
In the main doors, remain closed for staff and patient safety. Do not go to your surgery. Instead there are a range of options for patients including:
Telephone advice and/or consultation
E-consult which is an online tool to request advice from your GP Practice. See your practice’s website for details. This is quick and easy to use and is in use in over 75% of Hywel Dda GP practices at present.
Attend Anywhere (or other video consulting) available in all practices. This will be used if patients need a virtual consultation with the GP and the patient will be advised on how to access it if necessary.
My Health Online remains an online 24/7 option for ordering repeat medication – all designed for patient convenience and especially useful for those who are self-isolating or shielding. Patients can register for this which you can normally do through your GP practice
If you do need to be seen at your GP practice the staff will be wearing PPE to see all patients and will be ensuring that social distancing measures are followed.
Essential routine care:
Practices are starting to reintroduce priority areas in essential routine care such as blood tests for chronic disease monitoring. Ask your surgery for further details.
If you need new glasses or contact lenses, contact your own practice in the first instance.
If you are experiencing any eye problems, please call the central number, 01267 248793, and you will be signposted to the nearest designated practice.
There are a small number of allocated practices which are available for specific treatments.
There are eye care hubs providing an acute eye care service in each county.
Please note however that routine eye tests are not available at this time.
Patients who routinely access NHS dental care should first contact their regular NHS practice. If you have urgent dental needs, you will be assessed and provided with treatment where possible. This might be a prescription for pain relief or to help with managing an infection.
Patients without a regular dental practice should continue to contact 111 if requiring urgent dental care.
If you need urgent dental treatment such as a tooth extraction you will be referred into the Health Board Urgent Dental Centre, where you will be assessed and provided with an appointment within an appropriate site.
Please note that routine dental checks are not being carried out at this time.
Pharmacies remain open but please do not visit if you or anyone in your household has any COVID-19 symptoms.
Dispensing of prescriptions is still the main focus. Some other services are also available, such as the Common Ailments Service, emergency supply of medication and emergency contraception, which can now be done via telephone consultation, with the patient or a carer/family member collecting any necessary medication. Remember to order any repeat medication in plenty of time before you run out.
Pharmacy staff are likely to be wearing PPE and have introduced practical arrangements to comply with social distancing.
Delivery of medication – If you are unable to collect your own medication from your pharmacy, ask a friend, family member or neighbour. A volunteer option may be available.