As I’m sure many of you will have heard last week, the government has announced a new three tiered system in England to indicate the risk of transmission of the coronavirus as well as to highlight what we can and cannot do in local areas.
Unfortunately, the infection rate in Doncaster has continued to rise over the last few weeks and the number of people being treated with coronavirus in Doncaster Royal Infirmary has also increased. This situation has resulted in stricter measures being introduced to try and reduce the spread of the virus.
As a local GP and Chair of Doncaster CCG, I would like to remind everyone it is all of our responsibility to adhere to this guidance to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and protect vulnerable people.
Despite Coronavirus being very much out there, primary care services across Doncaster are open and have remained open throughout the pandemic so. I would like to take a moment to thank all of the staff working in our primary services for their ongoing hard work in incredibly challenging circumstances.
Doncaster practices along with those around the UK, have had to adapt their services and appointments to keep people safe, particularly keeping very vulnerable or elderly patients free from the spread of the virus. Practices have done a fantastic job of very quickly introducing new processes and embraced digital platforms in order to provide care safely.
We understand that phone lines are busier than normal and you may have to wait longer than we would like to get through to your practice. As we come in to winter and more people require health advice or treatment, more people are calling for appointments. My message to Doncaster patients is that if you can, register for online services and contact your practice via this means, especially for medication requests as it helps keep the phones free for those who need it.
Care navigators, the call takers, are trained to help get you to the service that best meets your needs.
Some of these changes may not be what you’re used to, but whilst we’re living with coronavirus and the greater risk it brings, it is necessary for us all to accept these changes are to provide the best care for you.
If you need a face to face appointment because your medical condition requires it, you will be assessed and offered one with a health professional.
Don’t forget, we have a wide range of health services available to you. NHS 111 is available online or by telephone to help you 24 hours a day. For common ailments and over the counter treatments, you can contact a local pharmacy for advice and treatment. We have the Same Day Health Centre which is open 8am-8pm, 7 days a week as well as the GP out of hours service. The Health Bus is on tour round Doncaster until the end of March next year where anyone registered with a Doncaster GP can walk on and speak face to face with a health professional. Details of all these services in Doncaster are shared on our website and social media channels.
We are proud of the work our primary care staff are doing to help you stay well. However, over the last few weeks, we have noticed several people on social media sharing difficulties trying to access a nurse or GP. If anyone wishes to share specific feedback about a local practice please get in touch with us by emailing email@example.com.
The NHS in Doncaster has prepared as much as possible for the difficult winter months ahead. Staff have worked tirelessly to fight this virus and to look after the health and wellbeing of the Doncaster community. Let’s show our thanks to them for their dedication and hard work by following the guidance and doing the right thing. We all worked hard and pulled together earlier in the year to keep the infection rate low. We can do that again. If we work together and look out for each other, we can reduce the spread of the virus.
Remember it’s also important to look after your physical and mental health during these uncertain times. There’s a lot of news and information on the Doncaster CCG website and details of support available to help you cope and to boost your physical and emotional wellbeing. Please access these resources if you need to.
Let’s do this for our families, our friends and our town. Let’s do it for Doncaster!