LOCAL GP surgeries and are to remain open on May Bank Holiday to help the NHS cope with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Patients across South Tyneside will be able to access their GP practice this Friday, as the usual Bank Holiday is moved from a Monday to Friday to mark VE Day.
The change to opening hours comes as GPs across the country move to help alleviate the growing pressures on out-of-hours services.
Dr Neil O’Brien, Accountable Officer of NHS South Tyneside CCG, said: “Given the unprecedented situation we are in, GP practices and many pharmacies across Sunderland and South Tyneside will be open this Bank Holiday for queries and appointments to help ease some of the pressures on NHS111.”
“However as per the current guidance if patients are experiencing Coronavirus symptoms they should seek help and advice using NHS111online services at: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 – and only call NHS111 if they cannot get help online.”
All South Tyneside GP practices have now moved to total telephone triage, online consultations and video consultations. Patients are asked not to go to their GP surgery until they have been assessed over the telephone or online. If you then need to be seen, your GP practice will make arrangements for your face to face appointment.
Health advice is also available to patients by completing an online (eConsult) form on their local practice website.
“Our aim during this time is to keep our patients and our staff safe,” added Dr O’Brien.
“All patients will go through the ‘triage’ process which will enable practices to prioritise appointments for those most in need. Repeat prescriptions can be requested online through practice websites or by using the NHS App and anyone who is not online can still contact their surgery who will advise them how they can order their medicines.
“But it remains vital that everyone continues to help stop the spread of this virus by following Government advice and staying at home – this will help to save lives and protect our NHS.”
You can check the opening times of your local pharmacy at www.urgentoremergency.co.uk/gp-opening-times
For the latest on Coronavirus visit: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or www.gov.uk/coronavirus