Q. How do I get a GP appointment now – has it changed since the coronavirus pandemic?

A. GPs across south Cumbria are continuing to see patients in innovative ways in order to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since lockdown was announced in March, GP practices around the country had to find new ways to run services, to ensure the safety of both staff and patients - with one of the main changes being the way patients access their GP.

In the South Lakes, patients who contact their GP surgery will most likely talk to a member of the team over the phone who will arrange a telephone call with a clinician first and the clinician will make a decision about whether the persons concerned can be dealt with over the phone, by sending a photograph by email, by a video consultation or if a face-to-face appointment is needed.

Although restrictions are starting to ease, with shops and restaurants reopening and people now able to spend time with their family and friends, we do need to remember that COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, and we need to stay safe, and carry on taking every precaution we can for the sake of ourselves and others.

We’re finding that a lot of people can be dealt with over the phone, which not only saves them time, as they don’t have to travel to the surgery, but also limits the number of people they come into contact with and the risk to those patients.”

South Cumbria GPs were quick to respond to the pandemic and have been working hard to implement new ways of working developed by the NHS in response to the outbreak. They have identified areas in their own or neighbouring practices - which are referred to as 'Red Sites' to see patients with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 - so they are seen separately and safely.