People attending their GP practice in Kirklees are asked to wear a face covering and attend appointments on time and alone.
The recommendations will help to support local efforts put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
GP practices have already changed the way that they provide services to make it safer for patients. The use of face coverings and limiting the number of people in surgeries will help protect other patients and staff.
Most appointments with a GP or practice nurse are continuing to take place over the phone or by video consultation. People are still asked not to go to their GP practice unless advised by a member of the practice team.
GP practices are following national infection control guidance. Staff are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) including face masks. Protective screens have been installed in many waiting areas and wherever possible social distancing guidelines are maintained.
Dr Steve Ollerton, GP and clinical chair, NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We can all play a role in reducing the spread of coronavirus and keeping our GP practices safe. If you have been asked to attend your GP practice it is important that you wear a face covering that fits around, and covers your nose and mouth at all times. You should clean your hands before wearing your face covering and before and after you remove it. Hand sanitiser can be used when hand washing facilities are not available.”
Face coverings should not be worn by children under the age of 3 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly. For example, primary school age children unassisted, people with reduced mental capacity or those with respiratory conditions. Wearing a face covering does not replace the need to maintain social distancing and regular hand washing for at least 20 seconds on a regular basis, especially when returning home from a public place.
Dr Khalid Naeem, GP and clinical chair, NHS North Kirklees CCGs added: “Appointment times have been scheduled to minimise contact between people. If you arrive too early, you may be asked to wait outside and return at your appointment time. To help maintain social distancing we are asking people to attend their appointments alone wherever possible. If a carer usually supports you at your appointments they can still attend, but will be asked to wear a face covering where possible.”
GP practices will offer patients a face mask in special circumstances if they are unable to provide their own face coverings.
Further information about wearing face coverings and how to make your own is available on the gov.uk website search ‘face coverings.’ This also includes exception card templates for people who may feel comfortable having something to show when shopping or using public transport.