Doctors across Sunderland are urging patients to continue to contact their local practice if they have a serious healthcare need.
Dr Neil O’Brien, Accountable Officer for NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Despite Coronavirus having a huge effect across the whole country it has not taken away other health care needs and now is not the time to ignore symptoms and hope they will go away.
“Delaying or ignoring minor issues could cause them to escalate and require more significant treatment in the future.
“It might not exactly be ‘business as usual, with practices now undertaking consultations by telephone or video, but it is extremely important that people continue to seek treatment for their ongoing health care needs.”
Patients are being asked not to go into their local practice before first contacting the surgery and, if required, a need for a face-to-face appointment being agreed.
In line with current guidance patients experiencing Coronavirus symptoms should seek help and advice using NHS111online services at https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 or by calling NHS111.
Patients can still request repeat prescriptions online through practice websites or by using the NHS App and anyone not online can still contact their surgery, who will advise them how to order medication.
Health advice is also available to patients by completing an online eConsult form on their local practice website.
“We appreciate that while it is vitally important to follow Government advice and stay at home during this period, it can be very confusing to know what to do when you are unwell or injured,” added Dr O’Brien.
“GPs, hospitals and NHS111 all remain open and are still providing the same safe care that they have always done.”