Press Release 27 March 2020

The current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation continues to pose GP practices in Lanarkshire with increasingly significant capacity challenges.

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the latest Scottish government advice, NHS Lanarkshire continues to work closely with all practices at this time to offer guidance and support.

As previously publicised, Lanarkshire’s GPs have moved to provide a range of essential services only.This will allow GP Practices in Lanarkshire to focus on most urgent cases. Crucially, this also allows GPs and their respective clinical staff to support joined-up efforts to best respond to all patients with COVID-19 symptoms.

If you seek health advice, the following steps should be taken.

• Patients with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms are now asked to dial NHS 24 on 111, day or night, if their symptoms worsen or do not improve after seven days.
• Please do not call your GP or go to the surgery. If you require a sick note due to coronavirus, you can get this from the NHS Inform website.
• This will provide patients with a straightforward dedicated route to clinical advice and support.
• Callers to the 111 helpline will be assessed. If necessary, following this initial assessment, information will be forwarded to a local community hub in Lanarkshire staffed by clinicians from across the healthcare system. The staff at the hub will call you back. These call backs will be triaged and we thank you in advance for your patience.
• Depending on their assessment, patients may be given advice to help them continue self-isolating at home or be given an appointment to attend a local assessment centre for further treatment.
• NHS Inform’s coronavirus webpage is still the fastest way for people to get the latest health advice and information. There is also a free NHS 24 helpline for people without symptoms looking for general information on coronavirus
• For patients who do not have any coronavirus symptoms, they should continue to telephone their GP when open and not call NHS 24.
• In the out of hours period, when displaying symptoms other than coronavirus, you should only call 111 if you need urgent assessment and cannot wait until your GP is open.

Craig Cunningham, Head of Commissioning and Performance for South Lanarkshire Health & Social Care Partnership, said: “It is clear that we face a challenge which we have not seen before in our lifetimes. Our unremitting focus is on protecting the lives and welfare of our service users, patients and our staff.
“As the number of people presenting with symptoms continues to grow, we must adapt quickly to manage the daily growth in demand. Emergency operational arrangements are being undertaken to respond to the ongoing public health crisis.
“Following the steps detailed above is vitally important in helping NHS Lanarkshire to get the right help at the right time to people when they require it.”