‘We’re still here for you’ – that’s the message from Manchester’s medics who are calling on the city’s residents not to ignore any signs of illness – especially around heart, cancer, stroke or concerns about their children.
The call comes after Manchester’s health and care professionals became concerned that some people may not be contacting their doctor because they think that services are only focussed on Coronavirus.
While the city’s GP practices have transformed the way they work to limit the spread of coronavirus, doctors and other healthcare professionals continue to be available to see or speak to anyone that is unwell, whatever the cause.
Most consultations are taking place over the phone or by using video links or e-consultations wherever possible but, where appropriate, GPs continue to see patients face-to-face in their surgeries. People can find out how to book appointments with their surgery by visiting the practice’s website or giving them a call.
In GP practices, certain measures have been adopted to help protect patients with coronavirus symptoms or with other illnesses, and staff. People contacting their GP practice are initially assessed on the phone before booking either an initial call or video appointment with a doctor.
Across the city, there are also specially designed hubs to see people with coronavirus symptoms (or who are in a household that is isolating because a family member may be affected) to help reduce the spread of infection.
Dr Manisha Kumar, Medical Director for Manchester Health and Care Commissioning said: “As a health and care system, we want everyone in Manchester to know that we are here for you when you need us. We are concerned that people who are very unwell with symptoms unrelated to coronavirus are not seeking help from their GP or local hospital as they normally would. So if you’re worried about your health, please send us a direct message on your practice website or pick up the phone – we are here for you.”
Dr Mo Miah, Robert Darbishire Practice in Rusholme, is one of the many GPs across the city supporting the campaign, he said: “As a family doctor, I want to reassure people that they can still contact their GP about a health concern to get the care they need. To protect our communities and reduce the spread of infection it’s really important people call their practice from home first, rather than turn up at the surgery in person. Our front doors are shut, but we’re still open and here to provide you with the care you need.”
Councillor Bev Craig, Executive Member for Adult Health and Wellbeing at Manchester City Council, said: “Getting help early stops many health problems from escalating – especially if people are worried about signs of heart problems or symptoms of cancer or possible stroke. Our NHS services have done a tremendous job in dealing with COVID-19 but the message is clear: if you need medical help with something that isn’t to do with COVID-19, then our doctors still want to hear from you, and if you’re worried about your health don’t put it off.”
Manchester has now started a campaign to reiterate these key messages and encourage people not to ignore possible signs of illness.