Richmondshire residents have been urged to reach out to their GP if they are ill or require a vaccination after health centres report a decline in demand.
Over the past few months the day-to-day routine of a GP practice has changed with staff and patients seeing a very different approach.
NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been speaking with frontline staff at local GP practices to understand how the outbreak has affected them and their patients.
Catterick Garrison-based Harewood Medical Practice GP said they had seen a sharp drop-off in demand from patients.
Dr Rebecca Owen, from the practice, said their patients had generally responded very well to the changes brought in due to the pandemic.
“They have been understanding and lots have expressed gratitude about the measures we have put in place to keep them safe.
“The most striking difference is the reduction in daily calls to the practice. The demand for appointments has reduced. It would seem the social distancing has also worked to reduce the spread of other infections. I feel that the patients have taken notice of the advice and are trying to only use the services when needed.
“I have been encouraged by messages of support and I feel as a profession we are valued when in recent years I have not always felt like this.”
Dr Charles Parker, Clinical Chair of the CCG said: “On behalf of the CCG and the North Yorkshire healthcare system, I would like to express my sincere admiration and gratitude for the outstanding efforts practices and their staff have made over the last couple of months.
“In all my years working in general practice, I have never experienced anything like the impact of the pandemic.
“We must not underestimate the amount of effort adapting to the current situation has taken for our front line staff and that very much includes those in general practice, whether it’s your local GP, practice nurse or practice manager.
“We would still like to urge patients to reach out to their GP practice, particularly with serious illnesses or if you or your child require an important vaccination.
“It can be very dangerous to put off getting seen as you can put yourself at risk of late diagnosis of things such as cancer, heart attacks and stroke.
“If you are not sure about whether you can manage a condition yourself, there is also excellent advice available 24 hours a day through NHS111 Online.”
GP services, pharmacies, NHS 111, out-of-hours services and emergency departments are all still available to patients showing non-COVID-19 symptoms.
For further advice on how to best use the NHS visit: https://www.nhs.uk/
Patients can also continue order repeat prescriptions on the NHS App and through their GP practice website, where available. Find out more about ordering medicines online at www.nhs.uk