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Is the NHS closed unless treating Coronavirus patients?

(90 Posts)
TomTomRunner Tue 21-Apr-20 11:18:53

If so, I didn't know. confused

I just turned up for my first routine breast screening appointment. It was at a hospital five miles away.

I'm a key worker and have to go into work today. The only way I would make it on time for work would be for my partner to drive me and then drive me to work. We have two kids so we all had to go.

I turned up and there was a note on the door saying appointments were 'paused'. Why the staff could not ring round or send a letter out was beyond me, or advise people on social media. 10 mile round trip.

Surely stopping screening causes more angst? Future ill health? Is the NHS closed unless you are being treated for Coronavirus? Are outpatients closed? I need to see my GP about a separate issue, would I get a referral now? Genuinely confused.

OP’s posts: |
hammeringinmyhead Tue 21-Apr-20 11:22:57

I'd have phoned to be honest. Our GP surgery (massive one, more like a small hospital) is conpletely closed unless you are referred by 111.

You'd probably get antibiotics if you needed them or be seen with a small child but I don't think it's that surprising that routine appointments aren't happening. However they should have let you know. Ours sent out texts and letters.

Gruffawoah Tue 21-Apr-20 11:23:51

GP surgeries should still be taking calls (or signposting where to call) and doing video appointments, or calling people in if necessary; some routine appointments such as vaccinations are also still going ahead. So it is worth phoning them, the surgery here is actually really quiet and we had a call back within a few minutes from a doctor. A lot of other things have been cancelled, although people need to not be afraid and are able to go to A&E etc if needed. They should have phoned or sent a letter though, what a waste of time for you.

JemilyJ Tue 21-Apr-20 11:26:12

I have a disability and am under two clinics.
One sent a letter saying appts are all cancelled, if you’ve got one booked in please don’t come. It gave some management tips and a list of if you develop XYZ please get in touch as this may be an emergency and they would give specific advice or get you seen.
The second I contacted as I was due to be seen in a few days. Again face to face cancelled but can have a phone call from a clinician instead of appt. In my case that’s fine as I’ve been under them for a few years, things are stable and they have been talking about discharging me.

PlonkyPlink Tue 21-Apr-20 11:27:48

GP here. My surgery and the vast majority across the country are open for routine reviews, they’ll just be by phone or video consult unless you need an examination in which case you will be able to come in as long as you have no COVID symptoms (and evening if you do if it’s urgent).

We’re getting very worried about how few patients are calling and we’re worried people are going to become very ill/die from other diseases/ infections because they are no getting diagnosed with cancer, kidney infections etc early.

Please contact your GP about unusual symptoms if you normally would, we’re open and waiting for your call.

Meredithgrey1 Tue 21-Apr-20 11:29:40

You'd probably get antibiotics if you needed them or be seen with a small child

DD (10 months old) has been unwell for a few months now and the Dr has prescribed two different things over the phone, neither of which helped, and they still wont see her face to face.

P1nkHeartLovesCake Tue 21-Apr-20 11:29:55

It does appear that way in a lot of places.

poppym12 Tue 21-Apr-20 11:30:10

I had a bad asthma flare up last week and filled in an online contact form on my surgery website. They arranged a phone consultation for me that afternoon and the steroids needed. Right now, I'd always ring first even for a pre booked appointment.

iVampire Tue 21-Apr-20 11:37:31

Screening programmes were paused nationally some weeks ago. It’s poor show (and probably local administrative error) that they didn’t let you know.

If the suspension of screening is only a few weeks, then it can probably be reinstated and caught up without perceptible detriment. But longer than that (guesstimate 3+months) and it’s a major concern as it will lead to many excess deaths over the next 2 and more years

Yes, this is being talked about amongst health planners, and yes of occasionally makes the news.

And it’s one if he reasons why it’s vital we need to be secure in how to manage future transmission patterns so the risk of and future uncontrollable peaks is so low that things like the full range of cancer treatments can restart, transplant lists can reopen, elective procedures can be rescheduled and screening programmes begin again

longearedbat Tue 21-Apr-20 11:40:51

It seems to me that unless you've got coronavirus, the nhs isn't interested. I have read another thread on here of non c virus nhs nurses and doctors sitting around and twiddling their thumbs as the amount of patients has dropped so much. The concern is that untreated diseases (principally stroke, heart disease and cancer) will cause far more deaths ultimately than covid 19. People are even having to pull their own teeth because of lack of properly protected (ppe) dental care. I really think something has gone very wrong, and it will take many years to put right. I feel very nervous as I was about to be investigated for a heart problem which has been cancelled, obviously. This was private as well, so there's no being able to take refuge in the private sector as that's all closed down too.
I need to speak to my gp in the coming week. I will be interested to see how easy (or difficult) it is.

Rinoachicken Tue 21-Apr-20 12:50:40

I can call my GP surgery and they do phone and FaceTime consultations - face to face o my for urgent with non-Covid symptoms. GP today made a referral for a hearing test for my son, obviously we do t know when the clinic will reopen but the referral has been done and will be ready to be picked up when they do reopen.

Psychiatrist is also doing FaceTime and phone calls.

SockQueen Tue 21-Apr-20 12:55:01

I'm working in maternity. Our antenatal clinics have been vastly reduced/switched to virtual, and we're seeing fewer women coming to triage for assessment (which is concerning in itself as we still want women to come in for e.g. reduced movements!) but delivery suite is busy as ever. We're not closed!

VaTeLaverLesMains Tue 21-Apr-20 12:57:38

I've had outpatient appointments cancelled but I wouldn't have gone to them anyway because of risk if catching virus.

Polly02 Tue 21-Apr-20 12:57:47

Are ENT clinics (outpatient routine appointments) still happening?

BamboozledandBefuddled Tue 21-Apr-20 13:33:30

DH had an appointment booked for an urgent review with the asthma nurse at our practice back in January. It was cancelled on the day as the nurse was ill (not CV). He was put back on the waiting list and told first available appt. would be end of March/early April, even though it was urgent. Spoke to the practice last week with a query on mum's prescription and while I was on, asked about DH's appt. Was told there are no face to face appointments with GP's or nurses 'for the foreseeable future'. Anything that can't be dealt with by phone, contact 111 for advice.

Yes, I'd say the NHS is closed now, although it was crap in this area before CV. It's now so 'protected' we might as well put it in a glass case and shove it in a museum.

Divebar Tue 21-Apr-20 13:47:15

I’ve had 3 Text messages from my GP practice since all this started. The first two messages tell you what to do if you suspect you’re infected ( don’t go there don’t call for advice) but nothing about whether they’re still open for other matters. The third message was reintegrating that the out of hours clinic that runs out of the practice is still open. My feeling is the Drs may be paid extra for running that clinic ( they are not necessarily from my practice). I think the overall message is very confusing.

Kingcole Tue 21-Apr-20 13:55:05

I expect they want to stop the spread first. If clinics etc carried on as normal there would have definitely been a crisis of Covid patients as spread continued.

I don't understand why people can't get their head around it. We need to stop to stop the spread. When things have settled we carry on. PPE is still a precious commodity so if Covid spread through wards it would have been a complete disaster.

Doctors and Nurses not doing much is positive sign IMO.

Didkdt Tue 21-Apr-20 13:55:12

@BamboozledandBefuddled does your husband's have a peak flow meter.
I'd call the practice and say he needs an urgent appointment about his asthma control
Our GP practice will only let you in if a Dr or nurse has said they need to see you but they are doing phone and video appointments
They are seeing Covid symptoms patients locally at hot clinics and trying to see only non symptom patients in the surgery building.

Didkdt Tue 21-Apr-20 13:56:18

As for OP my 2 hospital appointments have been moved to video appointments I was told by text and letter a while ago

TomTomRunner Tue 21-Apr-20 14:04:31

So the NHS is kind of closed then, routine stuff isn't happening.

I didn't call because I didn't realise. Even if I had, I'm a key worker and the wait to get through to make the appointment itself was ridiculous. I went online at one stage to make appointment with my availability (at their suggestion) and they still never got back to me.

@Polly02 Assume not, call maybe? Is anybody there? IF the offices are being staffed, why aren't they telling patients what is going on? Calling, sending letters? What a shambles.

So if you are NHS staff previiously running clinics etc, what are you doing now?

Curious to know.

This has really put the fear into me, the long term consequences health wise of a health system gone to ground.

OP’s posts: |
BamboozledandBefuddled Tue 21-Apr-20 14:06:42

@Didkdt They're absolutely adamant they aren't seeing anyone face to face. He isn't actually an urgent case right now - the review was to assess him for getting an emergency medication pack to keep at home. He has COPD and had three very bad flare ups last year. He was seen by the Nurse Practitioner for the last one and she said he needs to have an emergency pack but he can't have one without being reviewed first. If he gets a flare up now, I just have to hope they'll prescribe AB's and steroids over the phone. Failing that, I'll use the MedicSpot video service - we used them last year when it was impossible to get him a GP appointment and they were fantastic. I'm just keeping everything crossed that we have warm/dry weather for the next few months which hopefully will reduce the risk of a further flare up.

emmathedilemma Tue 21-Apr-20 14:11:27

There's a chance that you have been sent a letter and it's somewhere in the backlog of the Royal Mail! We've had some things delivered 2 weeks after they were first sent.

Polly02 Tue 21-Apr-20 15:09:39

My appointment can't be a video appointment. It's physical, medical treatment they give me every 6 months. Without this my chronic condition that I've had for over 20 years now will get serious.

It's maintenance work. There will be so many of us in the same boat and a massive backlog.

Hearhoovesthinkzebras Tue 21-Apr-20 15:16:58

All of my outpatients appointments have been changed to telephone consultations and they were just basically treading water outcomes - just keep on with what I'm doing and hopefully they'll see me in three months to re assess. I'm waiting for an urgent referral to a respiratory consultant but not heard s word, who.knows what's going on there. Physio and hand therapy appointments cancelled. B12 injection cancelled by GP. So, pretty much anything not life threatening seems to have been cancelled.

LilacTree1 Tue 21-Apr-20 15:20:10

Um, OP you know cancer treatment has been paused? They don’t give a shit about screening.

Shielding family member had dialysis reduced to twice a week. He kicked up a stink and got it back to three times. It’s a strain on the heart as well as kidneys.

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