By Dr Ian Tait, Chair, NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group
MANY of us are now starting to enjoy getting out a bit more and reconnecting with family and friends as we move into a new phase of the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions begin to lift and businesses start to reopen.
Now that things are getting back to ‘normal’ it’s important to remind people that the NHS is still very much there for you and people should not be worried about attending an outpatient appointment for example or contacting their GP with a health concern.
We have been working hard during the pandemic to ensure that hospitals and GP practices have systems in place to ensure the safety of patients and staff so that you can still get help when you need it.
GP practices are open although we may be doing things a little differently. In some cases we can conduct consultations by phone, online or by video so that you can still access our services from the safety and convenience of home.
Appointments can still be made face to face if these are deemed necessary after an initial telephone conversation.
GPs are once again able to refer patients to specialist hospital services if required and although it might take a little longer to get an appointment as hospitals clear the backlog of patients during lockdown, you will get the diagnosis or treatment you need.
Parents should continue to book routine vaccinations for children and babies, pregnant women and new mums should still seek advice and assistance from midwives and health visitors, people concerned about possible cancer symptoms or their mental health and those with long term conditions requiring regular monitoring still need to contact their surgery.
Most importantly, don’t ignore urgent warning signs of more serious illnesses such as heart attack and stroke, and if you need to, then call NHS 111 or 111.nhs.uk or in an emergency 999.