The local NHS wants to reassure people, if you are seriously ill or have symptoms that need to be investigated, the NHS is here for you, all NHS sites are safe including local hospitals.
This includes people who are having ongoing treatment, anyone within the vulnerable groups or if you have any new signs or symptoms of cancer, sepsis, a stroke or a heart attack.
There is a growing concern that some people are aware of new symptoms or health concerns but are apprehensive about telling their GP. If this continues more people will be diagnosed later, resulting in the condition becoming more serious or could even result in a lower chance of survival. Finding and treating the condition at an early stage can save lives.
This is particularly important for anyone who is deemed vulnerable or has pre-existing medical conditions. Do not delay in contacting your GP if you are feeling unwell as it can become very serious very quickly. You should contact your GP at the start of any health concerns you have.
Dr David Spragget, Chair at NHS South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We understand that some people may be concerned about visiting their GP with symptoms or attending hospital for a referral appointment, either because they are worried about coming into contact with coronavirus or because they don’t want to trouble doctors at this time.
“Our message is that it is vitally important that people continue to seek help early for symptoms that could be a sign of something serious. Essential and urgent services are continuing. If you have a cancer symptom, or health concern you should still contact your GP as normal. They will speak to you over the phone and if needed, you will be referred for further checks. All NHS sites including GP practices and hospitals are safe for you to attend if it is necessary. Measures have been put in place to keep you safe. If someone is showing signs of a stroke, heart attack or sepsis you should call 999 immediately.”
Hospitals have set up new systems offering telephone or video consultations for any referrals. Innovative solutions, such as reviewing photographs or x-rays and rapid communication channels between GPs and consultants are being used to help make a diagnosis. Tests for cancer are still available for patients.
Dr Sarah Raistrick, Chair at NHS Coventry and Rugby CCG said: “Coronavirus (COVID-19) is putting a huge strain on healthcare resources and not all patients will be seen and treated as quickly as normal. Although some patients may be waiting a little longer, no-one will get lost in the system and plans are already in place for catching up when the current situation improves. If you need to be seen at a hospital, we want to reassure you, you will be seen, hospitals are safe, clean environments and measures have been put in place to keep you safe and protect you from coronavirus.
Dr Imogen Staveley Deputy Chair at NHS Warwickshire North CCG added: “Together we are fighting this crisis on many fronts. Early diagnosis of cancer saves lives. It is essential that people continue to talk about their concerns about cancer. If you have a new or persistent problem, please communicate with your family and tell your doctor.”
If you need to contact a GP, do not go into the surgery in person. You should visit the GP surgery's website, or use an online service to contact your GP – find your GP surgery to get its website details or phone your GP surgery
Your GP surgery will then give you advice about what to do. A phone or video call with a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional may be booked for you. You'll only be asked to visit the surgery if necessary.
If it is a life-threatening emergency, call 999 immediately, the NHS is here for you.