‘Patients can be seen safely in Herts’ is message to those with health concerns during lockdown

Stevenage GP Prag Moodley, who chairs the East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, says they have worked...

Stevenage GP Prag Moodley, who chairs the East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, says they have worked very hard to make it safe for anyone who needs to be seen face-to-face. Picture: Courtesy of the East and North Herts CCG. - Credit: Archant

Hertfordshire’s medical professionals are keen to stress to those worried about attending healthcare appointments during lockdown that various measures are in place for patients to be seen safely.

GP surgeries, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and other NHS services remain open during lockdown and are working in different ways to keep patients and staff safe.

In hospitals, for instance, staff follow strict infection prevention guidance and wear personal protective equipment such as masks and aprons, and extra cleaning is carried out in all areas.

Patients can still see a GP or practice nurse for a face-to-face appointment. Your symptoms will be assessed on the phone or by video first and you will be invited into the surgery if your GP or practice nurse decides a face-to-face appointment is necessary.

Doctor Prag Moodley, a Stevenage GP who chairs the East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We’ve worked very hard to make it safe for anyone who needs to be seen face-to-face, because our top concern is the health and wellbeing of our patients and staff.

“We want people to get help, whether it’s a mental health concern or a physical symptom. Most of the time, symptoms such as unexpected weight loss, pain or a lump are nothing serious but they need to be checked out just in case.”

Screening services, appointments for long-term conditions, and checks and treatments for the most serious illnesses such as cancer, stroke or heart disease are going ahead during lockdown. If you have a worrying symptom you haven’t raised with your GP, or if your condition gets worse, call your surgery immediately. GPs will still refer patients for treatment or more tests if needed, which will be done in a COVID-19 safe setting.

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Linda Pryor, a patient volunteer who supports the East and North Hertfordshire CCG, said: “You know your body. If you notice a lump, blood in your poo or an unexplained ache or pain, contact your surgery. Don’t ignore your symptoms. NHS staff are there for us and will make appointments as safe as possible.”

For urgent health help when your GP surgery is closed, or if you are not registered with a GP, go online to NHS 111 or call 111.

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