A campaign to help residents in Bedfordshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes access timely GP practice appointments has been launched today, following an unprecedented demand on local healthcare services.
Since the start of the pandemic last year, while hospitals were busy treating patients with Covid-19 more people were contacting their GP practices for medical support and advice and to help to manage long term conditions. As the NHS works to recover from the impact of coronavirus this increase in demand together with existing waiting lists has put unparalleled pressure on local NHS services.
GP surgeries are now offering a range of different ways for patients to access care so they can provide more choice and convenience including telephone appointments, online or video consultations and face to face appointments when necessary.
Dr Sarah Whiteman, Clinical Chair for the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group said: “With restrictions lifted and over a million people in the area vaccinated against coronavirus the NHS is now working to restore services to ensure that people can access healthcare as and when they need it.
“Our local NHS system is under a lot of pressure, and we are aware that some people are waiting longer than we would like to access GP surgery and hospital appointments. I’d like to assure local residents that we are working closely with practices and hospitals to reduce waiting lists and to ensure that everyone can receive timely treatment and advice when they need it.
“As part of our work to cut down delays for GP practice appointments next time you call to book an appointment you will be asked some extra questions about the reason for your call, don’t be alarmed this information is used to book you an appointment with the best member of the team to help you. As well as GPs other trained health professionals are now available at practices to help you including paramedics, pharmacists, physiotherapists, and nurses. If appropriate your GP practice receptionist may also refer you to your local community pharmacist for a virtual or face to face appointment. Although the ways that you access healthcare may have expanded or changed slightly it’s important to remember that the NHS is still here for you.”
The campaign launched this week, which will help residents to navigate through the new points of access that are now available in the area and a leaflet, which will be delivered to every household in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes is just one of the ways the campaign will help to signpost people to different ways and new places where they can access the most appropriate healthcare for their need.
For more information about the campaign visit: https://www.blmkccg.nhs.uk/your-health/accessing-your-local-healthcare/