As all areas of Essex move into Tier 4, health and care leaders are urging local people continue using health services in the usual way.
The new restrictions are due to come into effect at 00.01 on Boxing Day. They state you must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes. Please click HERE for further advice and information.
Clinicians are reminding people to call NHS 111 first for urgent medical advice before attending hospital A&E except when it is life threatening.
Contacting NHS 111 first means everyone will get the right treatment more quickly and probably closer to home as well. It also means that visitors to the area don’t need to look up details of NHS services if they need urgent treatment. The NHS 111 team will do all that and book them in at an allocated time where they can receive the most appropriate care for their needs. Dial 999 in case of emergency only or a life-threatening medical condition.
GP practices will continue as normal in tier 4, with remote consultations available.
GP practices will be closed on the three bank holidays (Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day) over Christmas.
Mid and South east Essex has an extended access scheme which offers GP and nurse appointments on weekdays, evenings and at the weekend all year round. If you would like to book an appointment through the extended access scheme please phone your registered GP practice. If the practice is closed, their automated message will contain the number to call for your local out-of-hours service.
GP practices will be open as usual between Boxing Day and New Year’s (Tuesday 29 and Thursday 31 December).
People can still contact their GP practice by calling for appointments as they would normally. Those who require medical advice will be given a video or telephone consultation and only asked to visit the practice if this is deemed necessary by the clinical team. This will reduce the risk to you and the clinical team and is in line with current guidance.
It is important that anyone who has symptoms of covid-19 does not leave home and this includes going to their GP practice. GP practice staff will be there to provide care for those who need it for all other medical conditions and concerns, including for those with long term conditions and for those needing immunisations.
There are four main ways to seek healthcare advice from a GP:
• Call your surgery to discuss a face-to-face or virtual (telephone or video) appointment;
• In some practices you can visit your GP surgery website and complete a confidential online form to receive a response before the end of the next working day;
• Call NHS 111 or go online to seek advice;
• Download the NHS App to order repeat prescriptions, book appointments and check your symptoms.
Your local pharmacy can also offer medical advice on a range of conditions including coughs, colds, aches and pains, all without the need for an appointment. Remember, over the Christmas period your regular pharmacy may be shut or have different opening times on the bank holidays.
You can also find details of your local pharmacy by visiting:
Donald McGeachy, Medical Director for the MSE CCGs Joint Acute Commissioning Team, said:
“With tier 4 restrictions, people will be required to stay at home as much as possible. However, it is important to know that GPs are still here for you and it is important that you contact your surgery for advice or to make an appointment when you need to. If you need medical advice about something other than coronavirus please do not put off contacting your surgery.”
“I want to reassure everyone that GP practice staff are there to help. Practices are taking all the appropriate precautions to keep patients and staff safe, and as part of that we ask that patients always telephone first rather than just turning up. On the Christmas and New Year bank holidays, some pharmacies will remain open to provide essential advice and services this holiday season and I would urge local people to make use of them."