04 Aug 2020

Dr Martin Breach, a GP based in Haydock, updates patients on how GP services are currently operating in the St Helens area.

All 33 practices in St Helens are open fro business and delivering what is known as ‘primary care services’ to all patients. However, there have been a number of changes both in the services offerered and the experience you have when you want to make an appointment.

Call your GP practice first if you need an appointment

If you need to make an appointment with your GP, call first or use the appointment function on the practice's website.  Please don't just come to the surgery with alerting the practice as you may be turned away.

It’s also very important that you don’t come to the surgery if you have coronavirus symptoms:

  • high temperature,
  • new, continuous cough
  • loss of smell or taste

also

  • if you are self-isolating as you are living with someone who has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus
  • if you have returned from overseas from a country that is not on the UK travel corridor list meaning you have to self-isolate for 14 days (including Spain, Portugal etc).

When you do get through to the surgery on the telephone you’ll be asked a few questions - this is to make sure you get the right treatment from the most appropriate clinician.

Appointments can be done over the phone over via video

Practices have found over the last few months that the vast majority of appointments can be done either over the telephone or via a video consultation and patients may be offered this instead of the more traditional face to face appointment.

If it is necessary for you to come to the practice for a face to face appointment, such as to be seen and examined by a GP, for a blood test or for a vaccination this appointment will be made for you.

You will be asked to wear a face covering when you go to the appointment (unless you are exempt on medical grounds) and follow the social distancing guidelines that the practice has put in place. This means for example you may need to use a buzzer at the front door, enter or leave by a a side entrance or you may need to remain in your car and phone the surgery when you arrive.

Dr Breach said: "While things may feel very different and very unusual, this is all being done to keep you - our patients - and our staff safe and stop the spread of coronavirus.  If you do need medical attention or advice, I want to stress that the NHS in St Helens is here for you.  Please don't put off seeing us if you have any concerns or changes to your health that are bothering you.

"If you are unsure or worried please speak to your GP practice reception team by phone or you can use the NHS 111 website or freephone number if you have an urgent health issue or concern."