Shropshire's GP practices are safe and have adapted to meet patient needs, say health bosses

It is safe for patients needing face-to-face appointments to visit GP practices across the county, Shropshire health bosses say.

Dr Julian Povey, joint chair of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups, has offered assurances that there are robust infection prevention and control measures in place, and patients needing face-to-face appointments will be seen.

During the pandemic, GP surgeries have been adapting to new ways of working to prevent both patients and staff being put at risk of coronavirus.

While online consultations, phone and video calls are being used in the first instance, patients are still being seen face-to-face by healthcare professionals.

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Health chiefs say patients can expect to see receptionists in masks and behind a clear screen, as well as one-way routes, and clinicians in full personal protective equipment.

Social distancing measures are also being observed in waiting rooms, and face coverings will be needed for anyone visiting a GP practice.

Dr Povey, who is also a GP, said: “We know some of our patients may have concerns about being out and about, but we want to reassure everyone that GP practices are safe, having put in place robust infection prevention and control measures.

“Practices are also providing a variety of different appointments to meet our patients’ needs and to ensure that they are kept as safe as possible.

“Although we are still talking to our patients online or over the phone in the first instance, if anyone needs to be seen for a face-to-face appointment they will be seen.”

Steve Ellis, head of primary care at Shropshire CCG, says it is important that everyone continues to take care of their general health.

"If you have a medical concern you should not put off contacting your GP practice," he said.

“Please check individual practice websites for up-to-date information on booking an appointment, as this may vary slightly from practice to practice.

“NHS 111 is also available – it is free to call from any landline or mobile and is open 24/7. Further medical advice is available at 111.nhs.uk.”

For further information on accessing GP services during the pandemic, visit shropshireccg.nhs.uk/local-services/access-to-gp-services-during-the-pandemic

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