The COVID 19 pandemic is currently putting NHS services under considerable pressure with an increasing number of patients who have contracted the virus. General Practice across East Lancashire has been working tirelessly to ensure that systems and processes are in place to protect those who are most vulnerable whilst also maintaining a good quality service for patients who have medical problems unrelated to the pandemic.
General Practice services in the Ribble Valley have been curtailed in the last few weeks in line with government policy to help reduce patient contact and hopefully reduce the spread of COVID 19. Routine appointments have therefore been affected most and medical problems which are not deemed urgent have been postponed. Currently any enquiries into General Practices are vetted initially by our care navigators but if necessary is then passed on to GP’s who either utilise a video or telephone consultation.
A ‘Hub’ has been set up at Clitheroe Community Hospital in the last 9 days which houses core staff along with the treatment room service. If patients are deemed to require a face to face consultation or indeed if there is an urgent need for a home visit for someone that is housebound, then this will be facilitated by the doctors based in the Hub.
Dispensing patients will have noted in the last few days that their medications are either being delivered to their door or a centralised community location. The Clitheroe Dispensary has also utilised Clitheroe Pharmacy as a drop off location for repeat prescriptions and for collection.
I appreciate that these are hugely stressful times with the forthcoming weeks likely to place further strain on our health care system and community. Rest assured that if you have a medical problem, this will be addressed albeit perhaps in a slightly different way initially but if you need to see a doctor, this is still possible!
Dr Russell Robb
Clinical Director, Ribblesdale Primary Care Network
GP Principal, The Castle Medical Group