People living in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre have been reminded that GP practices are still operating very differently due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And while many ‘non-essential’ shops and businesses, including pubs and restaurants, will reopen their doors this weekend, Fylde Coast GPs have urged people not to assume there has been any easing of measures put in place at their doctors surgery.

Strict social distancing measures remain in place at the 36 GP practices across the Fylde Coast, while the majority of appointments are being done either over the phone or via online video link. Anyone who does require a face to face appointment at their practice must adhere to their practice’s individual safety protocols and also wear a face covering.

Dr Ben Butler-Reid, a Blackpool GP and clinical director for NHS Blackpool and NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “All GP practices in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre remain open and are delivering services to their patients. “However while we are still here for our patients, there have been changes to the services we can offer and the experiences people will have when they book an appointment.

 “If you need to make an appointment with your GP, you must first give them a ring. We are working really hard to make sure we keep our patients and our staff safe so it is really important people don’t just turn up as they may be turned away.

 “When people do get through to the surgery they will be asked a series of questions and this is so they get the most appropriate appointment with the right clinician. We have found that the majority of appointments can be dealt with over the phone or via a video consultation.

 “If it is necessary for someone to come into the practice for a face to face appointment they will be asked to make sure they wear a face covering or a mask and that they follow any practice protocols that have been put in place. This may mean ringing a buzzer before gaining access to the building or staying in their car and calling the practice to let them know they have arrived.”