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Surrey patients' appointments being moved online during coronavirus outbreak

3 minute read
Surrey patients' appointments being moved online during coronavirus outbreak

Published by Carol Musgrave at 6:00am 5th April 2020.

Patients needing treatment in Surrey are being reassured that urgent operations will still go ahead during the coronavirus crisis - but measures are now in place for online or telephone appointments and consultations where possible.

Surrey Heartlands CCG, which covers most of the county, says it is to reduce numbers going into GP practices, hospitals and clinics to minimise the spread of COVID-19.
 
It says where possible and clinically appropriate telephone or video consultations will take place instead of face-to-face appointments.

For hospital consultations the CCG's partners will be using a secure web-based platform called 'Attend Anywhere', which is being rolled out across all its acute hospitals including the Royal Surrey,Ashford and St Peter's, East Surrey and Epsom and St Helier's.

These appointments will be at the same date and time as previously booked outpatient appointments but will be over the telephone or a video consultation.

For those who do not have access to a smart phone or computer, telephone appointments will be available.

The system will also be used by the CCG's community services in the near future.

GP practices across Surrey are also introducing a telephone or online triage system for appointments, to cut back on the number of patients going in to surgeries. 

All GP appointments will initially be on the telephone or online - in exceptional circumstances a face-to-face appointment may be offered. 

Practices are adopting an accelerated roll-out of a digital triage system through which patients can access help online. 

Surrey Heartlands CCG also says patients who do have to attend in person might end up going to a different practice and might see a doctor or nurse they are unfamiliar with.

Surrey Heartlands CCG Clinical Chair Dr Charlotte Canniff adds:

"Whilst it's really important we try and offer as much care virtually as possible to prevent the spread of the virus and reduce anxiety amongst our patients, anyone who doesn't have digital access can still use a telephone; we just want to expand options for all our community at this difficult time.

"We will continue to support our local communities however we can and ensure they can safely access the health advice and care they need."

A reminder that the NHS 111 online coronavirus service should be used for urgent advice on COVID-19 and patients are encouraged to only call NHS111 if help cannot be obtained online.