People in Havering, Barking and Dagenham are being urged to contact their GP if they have any concerns about their health and to attend any appointments they are invited to, whether that be for immunisations, blood tests or consultations with a GP or nurse.
Two in five people questioned as part of a recent NHS survey in north east London were concerned they might be a burden to their GP practice during lockdown (March to July 2020).
Given the scale of the pandemic this is completely understandable but GPs are assuring residents across Barking and Dagenham that the local NHS is ‘open for business’ and ready to safely provide care to people who need it.
It is important you do not wait if you need medical help; GP services are safe to access.
Since lockdown began, 71% of all respondents to the survey needed to contact their GP surgery and of them 96% were for non-Covid related enquiries, with most people needing to ask about common problems like coughs or back pain or general symptoms like dizziness.
The majority (80%) of those who engaged with their GP practice during lockdown were satisfied with their appointment experience.
Dr Anil Mehta, GP and Clinical Lead for Primary Care in north east London, said:
“While Covid has presented a huge challenge to how GPs have been able to offer our services, we want to assure people that we are open and ready to treat you. While many people are happy with phone and virtual consultation, many need to be seen face to face.
“Lots of precautions have been put in place and you may need to wear a mask but it is vitally important that people attend their appointments.”
Of the people surveyed, 76% said they would be satisfied with being offered a telephone or video appointment in the first instance, with 77% confident about asking for a face-to-face appoint if they felt it was required.
If you have a medical need, first visit your GP practice website or NHS 111 online for advice. If you cannot access the internet, call 111 or your GP practice directly.
If it is a serious or life-threatening emergency, such as if you or a family member have symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, call 999 immediately. If you are told to go to hospital, it is important that you go.
In addition, if you are pregnant and are worried about your health or the health of your unborn baby, please contact your midwife or maternity team.