What to do if you develop symptoms
PEOPLE who become ill during the coronavirus outbreak have been given advice on what to do by the NHS at a local and national level.
Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, which funds the area’s GP surgeries and hospitals, is reiterating NHS national advice to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, which include a new continuous cough and a high temperature.
The advice is:
• Stay at home for 7 days.
• Do not book a GP appointment or attend your GP practice.
• If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home. After 14 days, anyone you live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine.
• If anyone in your home then gets symptoms, they should stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms start – even if it means they're at home for longer than 14 days in total.
• If your symptoms are serious, or get worse, NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service at 111.nhs.uk/service/COVID-19/ that can tell you if you need further medical help and advise you what to do.
• Only phone 111 if you are advised to do so by the online service or you cannot go online.
Local surgeries have changed their appointment procedures for all patients, regardless of the reason for getting in touch, in the light of the outbreak.
Online appointments have been suspended and all patients who believe they need medical help are being asked to call to arrange an appointment for a same-day telephone consultation.
Patients of the Downend Health Group, which includes the Christchurch Surgery and the Willow Surgery, are advised to call 0117 970 9500.
Patients of Leap Valley Surgery should call 0117 956 4101.
Patients of Emersons Green Medical centre should call 0117 957 6000.
Repeat Prescriptions can be ordered online, via your pharmacy, or via post – but the CCG has urged people not to stockpile medication during the outbreak to ensure that everyone can get the medication they need, after pharmacies in the area reported running low on essential medications and being inundated by orders for prescriptions.
Medical director Dr Martin Jones said: “Huge pressure is being put on primary care and community pharmacists with extra ordering of medicines. We want to reassure people in our area that there is no need for you to do anything new or different with your medicines. People should order their prescriptions and take their medicines as normal.”
Stockpiling or purchasing medication that isn’t needed could disadvantage other patients, and there is also a risk of shortages if stockpiling disrupts the normal supply chain.
Pharmacist Ade Williams said: “We appreciate this is a very worrying time, but our pharmacy processes are well prepared for additional strain – what we do need, however, is for people to cooperate with the advice not to stockpile.
“If you take medicines for a long-term medical condition, please order your repeat medication within 7 – 10 days of your current medication running out. Community pharmacies are part of the NHS front line, working tirelessly to provide ongoing healthcare and medicines. We will be there for you and your loved ones. Our processes are tested to withstand surges in demand – but do please support us and your community by following the usual procedures.”