During the COVID-19 pandemic, primary care services are working in a different way to prevent the spread of the disease and protect patients and staff, while still providing essential services. Where patients are advised that a face-to-face appointment is necessary, services have taken measures to minimise risk to patients and staff.
Find out more about when and how you should access GP services here: accessing primary care services.
The use of face coverings when coming to general practice
People infected with COVID-19 can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms (asymptomatic) and can transmit the virus to others without being aware of it.
In line with recent recommendations from the World Health Organisation, we are introducing new measures in general practice services across Lancashire and South Cumbria to keep visitors, patients and staff safe.
You will now need to wear a face covering when you come to your GP surgery.
What does this mean for me?
We can all play a role in reducing the spread of coronavirus and keeping our NHS services safe. If you are coming to an NHS service as a patient or visitor, it is important that you wear a face covering at all times. This is for your safety and the safety of other patients and staff.
Face coverings can be cloth and/or homemade, and advice on how to wear and make one can be found on the government website. Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are also acceptable, providing they are not loose and cover the mouth and nose.
We are asking that you plan in advance and bring a face covering with you whenever possible, but if you do not have one available when you come to a service, you will be provided with a face mask on arrival.
If you are currently shielding and have been provided with a surgical face mask for your appointments, please continue to use this. If you have not been provided with a surgical face mask, you should wear a face covering.
For some people, wearing a face covering may be difficult due to physical or mental health conditions. In these instances, other measures will be considered on a case by case basis, for example timed appointments and being seen immediately on arrival.
If you are a deaf or hearing impaired, our staff have a range of communication options to ensure that they can communicate effectively with you. This might include the use of clear masks where possible, as well as visual aids such as writing things down, speech to text apps and sign language.
All visitors will be expected to comply with existing social distancing and hand hygiene measures in addition to the face coverings while in the general practice setting.