A number of ‘community hubs’ have been set up in health centres and surgeries across Gloucestershire to support patients who need face to face medical support and may have possible symptoms of coronavirus.
Doctors say it is a responsible measure as the NHS steps up its preparations to support residents in the community and avoid the need for patients to go to hospital wherever possible.
Members of the public will not be able to visit the hubs without going through NHS 111 and initial telephone and video assessment by their GP.
Patients will be encouraged to attend the hub on their own and a range of precautionary measures will be taken:
- There will be no waiting areas in the buildings and patients will be called by mobile in their car at their appointment time
- The doctor or nurse will decide if they should been seen in their car or need to come into the building. If they need to come to the building, the patient will be advised on what to do and will be seen in an area entirely separate from other members of the public
- The doctor or nurse will be wearing protective clothing.
Urgent Care Lead at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Jeremy Welch said: “These are unprecedented times and the NHS is doing everything it can to plan responsibly and take the right steps at the right time to ensure our patients continue to receive essential services in the right way based on their needs.”
“We would like to reassure the wider public that every possible step is being taken to minimise the spread of the virus and the safety of everyone at all times is our number one priority.”
The local NHS will not advertise details of the individual hub locations to ensure that people do not attend the locations in any numbers and that they can focus solely on the safety of all concerned.
On a general note, Dr Welch added:
“We are extremely grateful for all the support the NHS is receiving at this particularly challenging time. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is that the public follow, to the letter, the guidance on public health and social distancing. If we all pull together in the same direction, we can protect the most vulnerable in our society, help our NHS to weather this severe storm and turn the tide on the virus.”