Patients across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire can continue to access GP services safely and are urged to contact their practice if they have a medical need.
To respond to the coronavirus pandemic, GP Practices moved to a system of telephone, video or online triage in the first instance to understand the best way for you to be treated. If you need to be seen in person because your condition cannot be managed remotely an appointment will be arranged for you with the appropriate healthcare professional.
Practices have transformed the way their services are offered to make sure face to face appointments can be offered safely and effectively to those who need them. A number of measures have been put in place to keep you safe, including:
- Managing social distancing in waiting rooms
- Separate areas so that patients with symptoms of coronavirus do not come into contact with non-coronavirus areas
- Requiring everyone to wear face masks while in the practice buildings
- Staff having access to appropriate PPE to wear during face-to-face appointments
Dr Geeta Iyer, Local GP and Clinical Lead for Primary Care Development at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG, said:
“We’re reminding patients not to ignore their health concerns and to contact their GP as soon as possible if they have a symptom they are worried about. Patients can contact their GP in the usual way by phoning or using your practices website.
“We are continuing to do everything we can to see patients at a time and place that best suits their needs and want to reassure patients that if they do need to attend in person, we have taken steps to ensure they can be seen safely.”
As well as face-to-face appointments, GP practices have increased the availability of telephone and video appointments.
Since April, all practices across the area have been operating video appointments to allow remote assessment of appropriate conditions with more than 14,000 taking place in the last three months.
Telephone appointments have also been widely used, with more than 196,000 appointments taking place over the phone in June alone.
Recent engagement with 361 people from the CCG’s Citizens Panel shows high level of patient satisfaction with telephone and video consultations. Eighty per cent of people were satisfied with their remote appointment and almost seventy per cent of people would use a remote consultation again in the future.
Dr Geeta Iyer added:
“We know that people are now comfortable with the idea of a video consultation with a healthcare professional. This has increased as people have been using more technology to connect with family and colleagues during this time. However, we also know this won’t be ideal for everyone – so we are continuing to adapt to support these groups in the best way possible.”