General practice in Cornwall and Devon is open for patients and has been throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
That’s the message from the organisations which represent the profession in the two counties.
During the pandemic, GP practices have been extremely busy, remained accessible and have offered face to face appointments to patients based on clinical need.
Additionally, general practice has been at the core of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, delivering the majority of doses to hundreds of thousands of patients across Cornwall and Devon.
General practice has also worked with hospitals to try to ease pressures on their Emergency Departments.
Now that the national lockdown is easing, Kernow Local Medical Committee and Devon Local Medical Committee would like to reassure the public that:
Dr Will Hynds, Chair at Kernow LMC, said: “As the bedrock of the NHS, with 90 per cent of healthcare starting and finishing in general practice, we are open and have been throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“During the pandemic general practice has rapidly changed how it delivers services to keep patients, their family and carers, and our staff safe, without ever pausing. Sometimes this has meant using the phone or video calls more – but those who need to be seen in person will still be seen, based on their clinical needs.
“Your GP practice will be experiencing high demand at the moment and staff are tired after their massive efforts during the pandemic and the vaccination programme. Bear in mind that due to the additional burdens of Covid there is a lot to catch up on and it will be quite a while before things are back to normal.”
Dr Bruce Hughes, Chair at Devon LMC, said: “There is a misguided perception that GP surgeries are closed – that is not the case.
“If a patient thinks that they need treatment, advice or support from general practice then they should contact their GP surgery as usual. We are open, we are here and we have been working consistently throughout the pandemic to deliver safe and effective care.
“This has been achieved at a time when demand for general practice services has reached an unprecedented level, against the backdrop of a national workforce shortage in the profession and years of under-resourcing.”
People can find the most appropriate healthcare service to meet their needs by looking online at NHS Service Finder. If you need help now, and you're not sure what to do go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111. If you think it's an emergency call 999.