Local doctors remind older and vulnerable people and their carers to get in touch if they need medical help.
GPs across Bradford district and Craven are encouraging older people or those who are vulnerable to still get in touch if they need urgent medical help. The call comes as part of the #StillHereToHelp campaign which was created following concerns that people are avoiding seeking medical care for fears of ‘being a bother’ during the coronavirus pandemic.
Doctors at NHS Bradford District and Craven CCG have been sharing videos online to encourage people to call if they become unwell with something not linked to coronavirus. However, this message may not reach those who are not tech savvy or who do not have access to the internet and who need urgent medical care.
GPs and practice staff are particularly keen to hear from older and vulnerable people if there’s a change in their health that is causing a worry. The plea is also extended to those who care for someone who may spot a change in their condition that causes concern.
Dr David Tatham, a local GP and a strategic clinical director at NHS Bradford District and Craven CCG said: “We have seen a reduction in the number of people calling our GP practices for appointments and a fall in the number of attendances at emergency departments at our hospitals.
“In some cases this is positive because it means people are using valuable NHS services responsibly, but we are concerned there are those out there who need our help who are not getting in touch because they’re worried about ‘being a bother’ to busy health services.
“GP practices and other local services are operating in different ways to keep patients and our teams safe, but we are still offering appointments and are here to help people who are unwell with something not linked to coronavirus.
“If you have a long-term condition and notice a change that is not normal for you, have blood in your poo or wee, an unusual lump or a symptom that isn’t linked to coronavirus (persistent cough and/or a high temperature) please give us a call.”
Local GP practices are delivering services differently at the moment including offering telephone appointments for those who cannot use a virtual service. Practices are set-up to ensure people who urgently need face-to-face treatment can be seen separately to those with potential COVID-19.
Dr Tatham added: “When you call to book an appointment our reception teams will ask a few quick questions to get you to the right service. This also helps us to make sure we keep our patients and our staff safe.
“If you’re worried for yourself or someone you care for and you need urgent medical help, don’t wait until it’s too late and the condition worsens. You’re not ‘being a bother’ – it’s what we’re here to do; to help you stay healthy.
“We’re still here to help you, your loved ones and our local communities during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond, we just ask that you do not attend your practice in person, please just give us a call.”
If you need urgent medical help but it’s not an emergency, please call NHS 111. Calls are free from both mobile and landline telephones and the service is open 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.
If you or someone in your household develops coronavirus symptoms – a persistent cough and/or a high temperature – it’s really important to follow Government advice on self-isolation to protect yourself, your loved ones and other people.
Just because you have symptoms, it doesn’t mean you definitely have coronavirus, but you should follow the guidance to be safe. Make sure you stay home (self-isolation) as soon as you spot symptoms and contact NHS 111 either online at 111.nhs.uk/ or by calling 111.
The NHS 111 team can provide friendly help and advice as well as refer you for a face-to-face appointment if this is essential; for example, if your symptoms are severe and you’re struggling to cope.
If you or someone in your household has coronavirus symptoms you should not leave your home for any reason but there are local services that can help you. If you need food or medicine, please order it online or by phone or ask someone to deliver it to your home.
It’s very important that you don’t have visitors to your home such as family or friends as you risk spreading coronavirus to those you love and others. If you receive care from local authority services in your home, give them a call to let them know you have symptoms and are self-isolating so that they can discuss and arrange the best way to support you while keeping you and your carers safe.
You can still have daily exercise such as a stretch or a walk but you need to do this at home; it’s fine to get out into the garden if you have one.
If you need help during the coronavirus pandemic, for example with delivering shopping, a friendly chat, a food parcel (for eligible people) or information on local services, and you don’t have family, friends or a neighbour who can support you, you are not alone – there are special local services that can help.
Please call 01274 431000 if you live in the Bradford district or call 01609 780780 if you live in Craven to access these services.
If you are in mental health crisis, the friendly team at First Response are available around the clock and you can reach them by calling 01274 221181.