Questions about coronavirus symptoms, when residents who have been ill should think about calling the doctor, how people can get their prescriptions and whether a coronavirus test might be available at your local surgery have been answered by a York GP.
Prof Mike Holmes, a partner at the Haxby Group, is also vice chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners and leads their coronavirus wellbeing response.
I have coronavirus symptoms – what do I do?
He said if patients are coping with symptoms of the illness at home – and are able to eat, drink and manage their temperature with paracetamol – the advice is to allow it to run its course. He added most people will have mild or no symptoms.
But Prof Holmes advised: “If you are not coping at home – if you are feeling breathless, not eating, drinking or passing urine – call 111 as the first point of call and they will direct you.”
He said if symptoms are not improving after seven days, patients should also call 111.
I have other symptoms – what do I do?
Essential services are continuing – and people should still call their doctor if they are unwell and it is not related to coronavirus.
Prof Holmes said: “We are worried that people might overlook regular illnesses because they don’t want to put pressure on the health system.
“But get in touch. Many surgeries have online services.
“We don’t want people ignoring illness.
“If people feel unwell and it is not related to coronavirus, they must contact their GP.”
How can I maximise my chances of staying well?
He highlighted the importance of taking care of ourselves during the lockdown, adding: “Wellbeing is very important in these difficult times.
“It is important to look after ourselves, to exercise, watch what we are eating, avoid stress and anxiety.
“The message is that social isolation is a marathon, not a sprint, and it is important that we comply [with the government advice] so that this doesn’t spread. If people aren’t complying, we risk it not going away.”
What do I do about my prescription?
Order usual prescriptions up to 14 days earlier than normal, he advised.
Most GP surgeries have online services set up and patients can also order medicines and book appointments on the NHS app – but signing up currently takes longer than normal due to demand so plan ahead.
Prof Holmes said: “Surgeries can send prescriptions directly to the pharmacy for collection or delivery. Many are doing home delivery now. We are also seeing volunteers help to collect and deliver prescriptions which is really heartening.”
Will we get a coronavirus test?
Asked if he thinks a coronavirus test could be made available to patients at their GP surgeries at some point, he said: “Testing is slowly appearing and focussing on NHS staff. Ultimately they might appear in GP surgeries but the priority is getting NHS staff tested.”
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