How to use GP, A&E and mental health services in Peterborough and Cambs during coronavirus pandemic

A huge thank you to everyone who has been social distancing or self-isolating over the last week or more. Staying home really is helping to save lives and to keep our NHS running, writes Dr Gary Howsam, chair of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group.

Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 5:00 am

Some of you may be wondering what to do if you’re feeling unwell during this time, so I wanted to use my column today to share with you ways to get help and support.

If you have coronavirus (Covid-19) symptoms…

Stay at home and visit NHS 111 online where you can run through the symptom checker and access to an isolation note if you need one for work.

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Staff in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Peterborough City Hospital calling for people to stay at home. Photo: Peterborough City Hospital

Remember – it is vital to protect others, so do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital. NHS 111 will provide you with the right advice, and if your symptoms get worse they can connect you with further medical support.

If you have hay fever, skin conditions and more…

Your local pharmacy can help with a range of conditions, including hay fever, medicines advice, emergency contraception, skin conditions and allergies.

It is worth checking what time your pharmacy is open, as opening times may change to help deal with demand. I would also ask you to:

. Be patient and observe social distancing (stand 2m apart) when queuing at the pharmacy 

. Only order what you need 

. Be kind to the staff who are working ever so hard, under difficult circumstances, to meet demands

. Help us so that everyone in our community gets the medicines they need and we can help keep our pharmacy staff and local community safe.

If you would normally visit your GP…

Then call your GP practice. Your local GP practice is still working hard and providing healthcare advice and support to local patients every day. We are working mainly over the telephone instead of face to face at the moment, to help patients and staff stay safe. In some cases we can use video consultations.

GPs can still see patients face to face if there is a pressing medical reason to do so. However, if you are displaying any coronavirus (Covid-19) symptoms you should not visit your GP, instead NHS 111 online should be your first port of call.

If you have an emergency or life-threatening situation…

Then your local A&E department is still open for those with genuinely urgent and emergency health issues.

If you’re feeling more anxious than normal…

Staying at home is a significant change in routine for many people and it can cause increased levels of anxiety. You may be bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low, worried, anxious or be concerned about your health or that of those close to you.

It is useful to understand that everyone reacts differently and it is important to look after your mind as well as your body.

A new guide has been published by the Government to help support your mental wellbeing during this difficult time. It can be found on the gov.uk website.

In our local area, if you are experiencing a mental health crisis you can call NHS 111 and then select Option 2 where you will be connected with our team of experts who are there to support you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The NHS is here for you when you need it. It return you can help by staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives.