By Dr Maria Sa.
The Covid 19 pandemic has pushed us all to adjust to radically new ways of living and working, and even to develop new IT skills accordingly. But despite the enormously challenging impact that Covid 19 has had on the NHS, there are certain silver linings for Primrose Hill Surgery and general practice throughout the UK.
In the first place, we have all had to adjust to what is now the ‘new norm’. Primrose Hill has risen to the challenge and is combating Covid 19 with tremendous community spirit. We have all witnessed the kindness that so many of have extended towards neighbours and relatives. Helping our more vulnerable community members with medications, shopping or simply keeping up morale with a phone call has a significant impact on health outcomes. We are so grateful to the local pharmacies, working hard to deliver medication to patients who can’t pick them up themselves. And we have been deeply touched by the thanks and support that so many patients have extended to the NHS through Primrose Hill Surgery.
But one major change is that the way to access general practice in the community has changed dramatically over the last two months. Primrose Hill Surgery has made changes to how patients can access appointments, through IT channels that would previously have taken us several years to develop. We have engaged with NHS-approved software services to offer safe video, telephone and e-consultations for our patients. These platforms provide a secure and prompt service for everyone, whilst we reserve face-to-face consultations for those who need them most.
How to access a nurse or doctor at Primrose Hill Surgery
So how exactly do you access a nurse or doctor at Primrose Hill Surgery these days? Although GP surgery doors are physically closed across Camden, Primrose Hill Surgery is still open for business, offering access to health professionals through e-consults, telephone, video and face-to-face consultations. Since the beginning of the pandemic, and for the foreseeable future, we will continue to make an initial diagnosis for all patients before being considered for an appointment at the surgery. We will do this primarily through our new e-consult service, which you can access on the homepage of our website at www.primrosehillsurgery.co.uk
If you don’t have internet access, or you have an urgent healthcare need, then our phone lines are still open as usual. Practices across Camden are being urged to offer the same services, so if you aren’t registered with our surgery, visit your own practice’s website to check out what changes they have made to patient access.
Existing conditions and other non-COVID ailments
We end with a word of caution, which you will have heard elsewhere in health advice. Despite the widespread mortality and morbidity rates of Covid 19, don’t forget that there are many other conditions which can be equally debilitating and dangerous. You may be tempted to leave certain conditions or health concerns on the back burner at the moment. But that would only put general practice and secondary care under pressure in a few months’ time.
So it is important for patients who are on long-term medication or have chronic health conditions to keep up the treatment as they would have done prior to the COVID 19 pandemic. The only difference is that most GP surgeries in Camden will carry out their reviews through a virtual consultation. Of course some interventions, like immunisations and smears, cannot be done through virtual consultations, so these treatments will be booked in for an appointment at the surgery as usual. So if you have a chronic condition or are on long-term medication, don’t let it run out of control; deal with it as you normally would. After all, keeping things under review might save you an otherwise unnecessary visit to the hospital.
For new ailments that arise, whether it is a fever in a child that isn’t subsiding, or a new lump or bump you didn’t have before, please give your health the attention it needs ‒ Coronavirus isn’t the only illness that can take centre stage in our lives!
Primrose Hill Surgery
99 Regent’s Park Road
Tel: 0207 722 0038
Fax: 0207 722 9724
Mob: 0780 911 6710
Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington Clinical Commissioning Groups came together on April 1 to form North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group. To read more, follow the link below: