Several hot hub clinics have already been set up in the county and more are on the way.
If you are a patient in West Sussex who needs to see a doctor, this is what you should do.
Anyone who feels that they need a GP appointment is being asked to contact their surgery as normal.
People should not visit their practice unless they are specifically told to do so following an initial assessment by a suitably trained clinician.
Patients will be asked to give an accurate and detailed description of their symptoms – this will allow them to receive the most appropriate treatment.
Following their assessment, they will be directed to a specific site locally to best deal with their health needs in the safest way.
Any patient with COVID-19 symptoms will be given an appointment at a so-called ‘hot site’ rather than their own practice.
These are formed by a group of practices coming together and identifying a single dedicated site to offer patients from their practices face-to-face consultation following their assessment.
In some cases, GP surgeries have designated part of their premises as special zones for the treatment of patients with COVID-19 symptoms.
This includes the introduction of dedicated hot consultation rooms, with separate entrances and exits, so that they are kept isolated from other patients.
Existing GP premises will also be dedicated for treatment of those without any COVID-19 symptoms or acute illness, to allow their management in a way that minimises risk of contact with any potentially ill patients.
Patients will be screened for any fever or cough symptoms, so only those who are considered well can enter.
The facility will be arranged to maintain social distancing measures and limit patient number on site at any one time.
Keeping all sites safe
Infection control measures set by government experts will be followed at all sites and residents can be reassured of their safety, even when they are close to any site seeing patients with COVID-19 symptoms.
At a minimum, a daily, full deep clean will be completed at each hot site, including disinfection.
Wendy Carberry, Executive Director of Primary Care for NHS Sussex Commissioners, said: “We are urging those in need of a GP appointment to contact their practice first and not to attend until told to do so - which may not be at a patient’s usual surgery.
“General Practice services are under the same pressure that is being reported around the country due to COVID-19.
“Our top priority is to keep our patients and practice staff safe, while we ensure people can access the care they need in the most appropriate setting.
“Keeping GPs and their staff healthy is crucial so they can continue to care for everybody, and Sussex CCGs have been working together with practices to reduce attendance at practices by supporting and enabling the use of telephone appointments and video consultations where possible.
“Our plans around this are in-line with regional and national guidance, and have developed this new approach in collaboration with local GPs.”
GP Practices are making alternative arrangements to ensure these patients from the deaf community, people with learning disabilities, those whose first language is not English, and anyone without access to a telephone can access appointments.
For more information about how GP surgeries and other health services are continuing to operate under the lockdown while keeping patients and staff safe, visit the website for the NHS West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group at www.westsussexccg.nhs.uk/
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