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Appointments With Your Doctor In The New “Normal”

Posted by Mike Phipps on October 1, 2020

 the image shows a stethoscope on a bed

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s this — we can’t take anything for granted, especially access to healthcare.

How can I see a doctor during the Coronavirus pandemic?
Your local doctor’s website will have details of what online provision is available in your area. It is most likely that you will be given either a telephone or a video appointment, rather than a face-to-face one.

Do not turn up in person unless you have already been seen by a doctor and specifically told to go to the surgery.

Please also bear in mind that even before Coronavirus, Accident & Emergency (A&E) was not designed to replace your local health centre. This means you should not visit a hospital without a pre-booked appointment, or in an emergency.

Prescriptions and PPE
Anyone who is registered with a doctor can order repeat prescriptions using online services. Your local pharmacy may also be able to renew your medication in consultation with your doctor’s surgery.

If you need new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), you can easily place an order online on many different websites and get it delivered to your door. Ability Superstore has a large selection of products, from gloves to glasses and face masks.

What about 111?
111 is the UK’s non-emergency medical helpline and online advice service. It is open to anyone and free to use. However, in the current circumstances, people are recommended to use the website first, rather than dialling 111 to help remove the pressure on phone capacity. You do not need to register, and by answering on-screen questions, you’ll receive advice on next steps based on condition, or symptoms. It will not take into account much personal history and so is not as effective as a doctor. Still, it can offer reassurances if you need quick advice.

What about 119?
The NHS website states that, if you have Coronavirus symptoms, or have been told to get tested, then you should book a test online. Alternatively, if you are unable to use the website, then dial 119.

The future of healthcare, Coronavirus and the disabled community
Nobody knows what the coming months will bring. There could be a continued increase in transmission of the virus, which raises the renewed spectre of stricter regulations and even a second national lockdown.

If you, or a loved one, has concerns regarding access to healthcare, Coronavirus, disability, then reaching out and consulting people who have current information is the best option every time. Disability Action has a dedicated phone line that can signpost callers to specific services or offer advice. You can reach the team at Disability Action on 028 9029 7880.