GP services continue to provide care in East Sussex

GP practices across East Sussex have transformed the way they work to ensure local people remain safe and get the care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The safety of patients and practice staff is a priority, and new measures have been introduced to help anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, who doesn’t need hospital treatment, to access GP services safely.

The changes to help prevent the spread of the virus include:

  • Some GP practices seeing only people with COVID-19 symptoms. These are called ‘hot sites’.
  • Some GP practices seeing no-one with COVID-19 symptoms. These are called ‘cold sites’
  • Some GP practices having dedicated zones for those with COVID-19 symptoms, so they are kept isolated from other patients attending the surgery. This will happen in a safe way for patients and staff and includes having dedicated COVID-19 consultation rooms, with separate entrances and exits to maintain isolation.

For your safety, this may mean you’re seen somewhere different than your usual GP practice.

All GP practices will follow infection control measures set by government experts. At a minimum, a daily, full deep clean will be completed at each hot site, including disinfection.

What to do if you think you need a GP appointment

  • Contact your surgery online, by phone or by app.
  • You’ll then be asked to give an accurate and detailed description of your symptoms and advised on what to do next.
  • Do not go in person to your GP practice unless specifically told to do so following an initial assessment by a suitably trained clinician.

Wendy Carberry, Executive Director of Primary Care for Sussex NHS 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 Clinical Commissioning Groups (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 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.

If you think you have coronavirus

Do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital if you think you might have coronavirus. Use the 111 coronavirus service if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature),
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).

These are the main symptoms of coronavirus.

Visit the NHS website for more information, including advice on self isolation.