GP appointments fell by more than 100,000 during the height of lockdown in Leeds
and live on Freeview channel 276
There were 275,000 appointments made at the city's 94 GP practices for April this year, compared to 380,000 for April 2019.
And of that, nearly 50 per cent of those 275,000 appointments were carried out over the phone or by video call. In April 2019 the comparative figure for that was just 13 per cent.
The statistics have been issued by the NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as part of its #NHSHereForYou campaign to remind people that GP practices are open but the way they provide care has changed.
Appointment requests are dealt with by an initial telephone or video consultation. A face-to-face appointment is then offered if the health professional feels it is clinically necessary and safe to do so, after the initial consultation. Walk in appointments have been suspended and anyone attending a face-to-face appointment must wear a face covering and follow any other instructions provided by their GP practice.
Dr Simon Stockill, Medical Director for NHS Leeds CCG, said “We want to thank people in Leeds who have been following the lockdown message of staying at home although we share the concerns of other medical professionals that some people are not accessing healthcare when they need to. We recognise some of this will have been down to people not wanting to be a burden to the NHS or fearing they may get COVID-19 when accessing services. I want to assure people your NHS is here for you and if you need medical help you must access it. You will be seen in a low risk, safe environment.
“Access to your local GP practice has changed but this doesn’t mean it’s stopping you contacting us for any health concerns. I would strongly advise you to get in touch with your GP practice if you have concerns regarding ongoing conditions, ear discharge / pain, rashes, and stomach aches. If you have any cancer symptoms such as a lump in your breast, changes in bowel habits, blood in your pee or poo, unexplained weight loss, moles that appear to change or cough that you’ve had for three weeks or more please get in touch with your GP practice as soon as possible.”
A spokesperson for the Leeds CCG added advice for people with suspected coronavirus remains the same and is to stay at home and self-isolate. If anyone thinks they have symptoms of coronavirus, such as a high temperature or a new continuous cough, they can use the online advice hub to see if they need medical help: https://111.nhs.uk/service/COVID-19/ or NHS 111 by phone.