As the coronavirus continues to spread, GP surgeries on the Isle of Wight are putting in measures to reduce all unnecessary visits.

To reduce footfall through practices, most Isle of Wight doctors surgeries have closed their doors to patients but have been using online and video consultations and also telephone appointments to ensure continued care is provided to patients.

The Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said its top priority is to keep patients and staff safe:

“Keeping our staff healthy is crucial so they can continue to care for everybody.

“Therefore GPs and their staff have been working together with other local surgeries to develop a system which will be able to meet these changing needs.”

When patients contact their surgery for an appointment, an initial assessment will be made through e-consult or via the telephone, by a trained clinician and will allow health professionals to provide the most appropriate treatment.

A specific site may be set up to assess and better deal with those who may have suspected covid-19 symptoms, meaning some patients may have to go to a different practice to receive treatment, not their usual one — although they will be told by those assessing where to go.

This may change if staff become unwell so services may need to be provided from a smaller number of practices across the Island or a home visiting service will be provided through a number of practices working together.

The CCG has warned that if patients do have to go to a different surgery, they may also need to see a doctor or nurse who they are not familiar with.

The CCG said:

“While we realise this could be inconvenient, we think it is important to keep people safe, reduce the spread of Covid-19 and get the maximum benefit from the healthcare resources which will be available.”

An NHS spokesperson said:

“It is essential all parts of the NHS respond to the current situation, to ensure that new ways of working can be found that allow those in greatest need to receive the best, safest care as quickly as possible. “We thank everyone for their understanding, and for adapting to these new systems.”