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.
If you or someone you live with HAS coronavirus symptoms (new continuous cough OR fever OR loss of/ change in smell or taste):
- Stay at home.
- If your symptoms worsen or you feel that you cannot manage at home, please refer to the NHS111 online coronavirus service. If you can’t get help online, call 111.
- Please do not go to your GP practice, community pharmacy, dental practice or optician.
If you, or people you live, with DON’T HAVE coronavirus symptoms and you think you need primary care help and advice, don’t delay:
- GP practices are here to help you get the care and advice you need.
- To protect you from coronavirus, your GP practice will try to help you remotely as much as possible:
- Contact the practice, either online, by an app or by phone to be assessed. Find out more here: https://www.nhs.uk/health-at-home/
- If a face-to-face appointment is necessary, you will be advised on what to do. GP practices have measures in place to minimise any risk from coronavirus.
- If you are told to go to hospital it is important that you go to hospital.
- You should continue to attend your appointments, unless you have been told not to attend.
Please do not enter the practice unless you’ve been advised to. This will ensure they can continue to provide essential care safely.
If at any time you have a serious or life-threatening emergency, call 999.
When visiting your GP surgery you must now wear a face covering – find out more here: visiting your GP surgery.
Pharmacists and their teams are an essential part of the NHS and need your help and support during the coronavirus pandemic. Always treat staff with respect, they are doing their best to provide you with the medicines and advice you need.
Important information on prescriptions during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Order repeat prescriptions in your usual quantities at the usual time. Over ordering of your medicines may mean someone else has to go without their medicines.
- Order your usual prescription online or via an app. Do not go to your GP practice or pharmacy to order prescriptions and only phone them if you cannot order online or via an app. You can order repeat prescriptions on the NHS App and through your GP surgery or pharmacy’s online service, where available. You can find out more about ordering prescriptions on our changes to services page.
- If you have a prescription to collect:
- If you are 70 or over, have a long-term health condition or are pregnant you should arrange collection by a relative or friend, or ask your pharmacy for advice about delivery.
- Ask any relatives and friends who are delivering your medicines to make sure they have seen you pick up the bag.
- If your medicines are being delivered make sure you keep a safe distance when you receive them.
- For everyone else, if you are going into a pharmacy in person, follow social distancing rules and the rules put in place by the pharmacy to protect you and their staff.
- Pharmacies may have altered opening times to manage their workload.
- Sales of some medicines may be restricted in quantity by pharmacies to ensure that there is enough for everyone.
However, due to the increased demand of ordering prescriptions online there might be a very short delay in your prescription being ready. Please make sure that you order your repeat prescription in plenty of time.
You may also find that the packaging of your medication is different than you are used to. This is because pharmacies may use different brands of medicines when preparing your prescription in order to speed up the process. This will still be the correct medication but might just look different. You should always check your medication when you receive it.
You can also ask someone you know to collect the prescription for you; just make sure they use appropriate social distancing measures by having them leave the medication on your doorstep or somewhere appropriate for you to pick it up safely.
Some pharmacies do offer delivery options. If you use this option the delivery driver will leave the package on your doorstep. We would advise patients to contact the pharmacy or delivery driver prior to delivery, to raise awareness of any mobility issues so the appropriate level of help can be offered.
While you are at home it’s still easy to get NHS help using your smartphone, tablet or computer.
There is a useful online page which gives information on how to contact your GP, order repeat prescriptions, manage long-term condition and maintain your mental and physical wellbeing.
Find out more at: nhs.uk/health-at-home
From 8 June dental practices are able to open. Practices will need to prioritise patients with the most urgent need.
If you need help from a dentist:
- contact your dental practice by phone or email.
- you will be given advice or offered an appointment if appropriate.
- for urgent dental care you can also use the NHS 111 online service.
If you are told to visit your dentist, you may notice some changes have been made to keep you and your dental team safe.
- Your practice will look different as it observes social distancing and hygiene rules.
- The dental team may also be wearing different protective equipment to what you are used to seeing.
- The range of treatments you will be offered may be different to what you received previously.
- Treatments offered may vary from practice to practice.
- This will depend on the staff and equipment available at the time and is to ensure your safety and that of the dental team.
Please do not visit your practice unless you’ve been advised to. This will ensure they can continue to provide essential care safely.
If you think you need urgent dental treatment:
- call your dentist
- if you cannot contact your dentist, or you do not have one, use the NHS 111 online service
- if a clinical appointment is necessary, this may take place at your dental practice or at an urgent dental care centre.
Eye care and opticians
Eye care and opticians
Anyone with a regular optician should as a first step call their practice/store. Please do not visit the practice/store.
The Optometrist will assess your situation over the phone, give advice and, if needed, issue spectacles or contact lenses if these have been supplied before. These can be collected from or delivered by a local optician.
If you require spectacles to function with essential tasks such as work or driving as a key worker and it is not possible to dispense spectacles based on a previous prescription, then the Optometrist is able to arrange a face to face consultation at the practice. This is subject to the Optometrist’s clinical view of:
- COVID-19 risk for both patient and practice team
- The patient’s essential need for spectacles and/or contact lenses
Anyone without a regular optician can find details of local practices via: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/.
If the Optometrist thinks that urgent or emergency eye care is needed, they will refer you into the local urgent or emergency eye care service so that any necessary treatment can be carried out. This may be carried out by the same optical practice or another local practice.
For eye care problems, please contact your Optician first. Please do not visit A&E, your GP practice or Pharmacy.