Changes to health services amid coronavirus

Dr Andrew Strain
Dr Andrew Strain

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As stricter government guidlines are introduced, medical centres and pharmacies are implementing new protocol – including emergency care only for temporary residents.

Lochgilphead Medical Centre and the surgery in Inveraray are offering telephone-only consultations unless a visit to the surgery is absolutely necessary, while Furnace surgery has closed for now.

Dr Andrew Strain said: ‘We would like to thank our patients for their consideration at this time and advise that all the advice on our practice website home page is relevant to patients in Lochgilphead and Inveraray and Furnace.

‘A new NHS24 service for Coronavirus/COVID-19 related illnesses started on Monday March 23 and all patients with a new fever or cough or shortness of breath should call 111 in the first instance. If a face-to-face assessment is required, NHS24 will arrange this through the Coronavirus Assessment Centre based at Mid Argyll Community Hospital. This service is equipped to ensure the safety of staff and patients in a way that is not possible in the Inveraray Surgery building. If you have the symptoms above, please do not attend the surgery and please follow the advice given on the NHS Inform website.

‘At this time, we emphasise to individuals staying temporarily in our practice area we will provide urgent and emergency care only. Those normally resident in other areas are requested to contact their registered GP to arrange prescriptions or routine care.

‘Finally, due to heightened demand on practice staff at this exceptional time and to limit essential cleaning and maintenance required to maintain safety, we have taken the decision to close Furnace Surgery for the foreseeable future. All patients will be asked to attend Inveraray Surgery if required, though wherever possible we will attempt to manage problems over the telephone to limit the need for any face-to-face contact as per national public health guidance on social distancing.’

Meanwhile Argyll Pharmacy has put new policies in place to help them remain open. Customers are asked to only order what they need when they need it and to phone ahead to check prescriptions are ready for collection before going to the pharmacy. To order your prescriptions and for pharmacy advice call 01546 603217.

Susan Paterson, owner of Argyll Pharmacy, said: ‘Our work practices are changing daily as we do our best to protect our staff and vulnerable patients. Community pharmacies have a higher foot fall than any other healthcare setting and right now we need to minimise this.

‘This goes against everything we believe is ‘good customer service’ however we will be here to support you in the best way we can under these exceptional circumstances.’