HEALTH chiefs across Tees Valley are urging people to ‘please be patient’ when contacting their GP practice and to only go to A&E in a real emergency.
Busy doctors’ surgeries across Tees Valley are asking patients, who may be waiting longer than usual to speak to their GP, not to go to A&E unless they really need to.
Cleveland Local Medical Committee, medical secretary, Dr Rachel McMahon said: “GP practices are open and it is really important that people continue to put their health first and seek medical help when they need it.
“However since moving to telephone consultations the volume of calls both in and out of practices has increased dramatically and we know that many patients’ are finding it increasingly frustrating having to wait longer than usual for their calls to be answered or returned.
“GPs are all trying to attend to patients as soon as they possibly can and we are asking people to please be patient and not go to A&E while they are waiting, unless it is a real emergency.
“And for patients’ waiting to hear about re-arranged hospital appointments, please do not call your GP practice or hospital for more information; you will be contacted by hospital staff as soon as possible.”
If GP phone lines are busy, patients can access help or advice by completing an e-Consult, a confidential online form, through the practice website or NHS app.
Following an online consultation, practice staff will advise if a video, phone or e-mail consultation is required and will contact patients to arrange an appointment if needed. All online requests receive a response within two working days.
e-Consult also allows patients to access information on health conditions, self-care and local pharmacy services.
Patients can also register for an online account with their practice to order medication, view their patient record or see test results using the practice website or NHS app.
NHS Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group, chief officer, David Gallagher added: “We really do appreciate people bearing with GP and hospital services during this extremely busy time.
“Now, more than ever, we need to keep A&E for patients with the most serious conditions and this is made all the more challenging when people go to A&E with minor ailments rather than waiting to speak to their GP or by self-care and advice from a community pharmacist.
“Anyone who is acutely unwell and requires immediate assessment and treatment will be seen by A&E but others will be re-directed to more appropriate services if they just turn up.
“Please remember think pharmacy, GP and NHS111 first and keep A&E free for serious emergencies only.”