GP surgeries in Kirklees have remained open throughout the pandemic. They have made changes to the way they work, limiting face-to-face contact where possible, to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.

If you have concerns about a medical condition or need advice you should contact your GP practice as soon as possible.  A delay in treatment can pose a risk to longer term health, so don’t put it off.

Appointments are available from 8am to 6.30pm on weekdays, in the evenings and at weekends.

Frequently asked questions about using GP practices safely during the pandemic

  • How should I contact my GP practice?

Please contact your practice by phone or online through your GP practice’s website. Please do not attend your surgery unless you have an appointment.

You can use the NHS app to order repeat prescriptions to access your medical records. This can be done at any time of the day or night.

  • Can I have a face-to-face appointment with my GP?

When you contact your GP practice, your needs will be assessed and you will be offered an appointment that’s right for you.

Face-to-face appointments and home visits are still available for those who need them, although many people will continue to access GP services via phone or video.

Practices offer a range of services on a face-to-face, basis including phlebotomy (blood tests), immunisations and vaccinations, cervical screening and health checks.

GP practices are unable to carry out spirometry tests (lung test) and ear syringing as these are aerosol generating processes. These have been paused until we receive further guidance from NHS England.

  • Are face-to-face appointments safe?

All practices have procedures in place designed to reduce the risk of catching or passing on the virus.

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.

Limiting the number of patients who are in the surgery at any one time also reduces the risk that the virus will be passed on.

If you need a face to face appointment please attend alone where possible and on time.

You will be asked to wear a face covering if you are able to, and use hand sanitiser when you enter the building. If you usually have the support of a carer at your appointments, they will be asked to do the same.

Please follow any additional instructions given to you by your GP practice about attending the surgery, such as waiting outside, or using a different door.

  • Why can’t I have a face-to-face appointment?

We understand that a telephone or online appointment may not be a patient’s first choice.

Coronavirus is still circulating in our community and limiting the number of people who visit GP surgeries helps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. It also ensures that our premises remain safe for those people who really do need to be seen face-to-face or who are unable to access online or telephone services.

Extra cleaning procedures and social distancing rules mean that practices have less room in reception or waiting areas to accommodate patients than before.

  • Can my carer attend my appointment with me? Face-to-face, on the phone or online?

Yes, if you usually have the support of a carer at your appointments they can still attend with you.

If you have a face-to-face appointment your carer will be asked to follow all the infection control measures in place at the surgery and wear a face covering.

Your carer can help you to complete an online consultation or can complete one on your behalf if they have been granted authorisation.

If you want your carer to join you for a face-to-face, online or telephone appointment please make your GP practice aware at the time of booking and they may give you some further instructions.

  • Are telephone/online appointments as good as face to face ones?

Telephone and online consultations are very effective, and have been available in many practices for some years.   Some people find them more convenient than face-to-face consultations.

The GP or heath professional who speaks to you will have full access to your health records and be able to provide advice, prescribe medication or refer you for further tests or treatment. They will also be able to decide whether a face-to-face appointment would be beneficial.

  • What is the difference between online consultation and video consultation?

Online consultation is when your completes a secure online form about a health issue. Pictures can be added to this form if it is appropriate. You will get a text or email confirming what to do next. This may result in a telephone or video consultation. All GP practices have the software to offer patients online consultation. You can find out how to do this through your GP practice’s website.

A video consultation is when you are talking to a health professional over video. If you are asked to have a video consultation, your GP practice will give you instructions how to do this.

  • Do you have any feedback from people who have used online consultation?

Yes, patients in Greater Huddersfield have said:

  • “After a telephone conversation with my GP I was invited to attend a face to face consultation and received positive advice and action.”
  • “Doctor rang me about my condition and suggested a face to face appointment within 4 days.”
  • “I was able to give lots of information to enable the doctor to decide whether I needed a face-to-face appointment (which I did on this occasion).”
  • “From submitting the request to collecting a prescription, it only took around 3 hrs and was a very easy and quick process.”
  • “It resulted in an appointment and an examination. If I had left it longer the condition would have got worse.”
  • “I would have preferred my usual doctor as we have built that rapport however the speed of which the issue was sorted was brilliant (within a few hours).”
  • “Really liked how quick and easy it was, I struggle with phone anxiety and it was good that on my call back the doctor had an answer for me ready and I didn’t have to try and explain my problems in speech.”

 

  • Do you have more information about how to contact my GP practice remotely? 

This helpful video explains how you can contact your GP practice remotely, what you need, and what you can expect.

 

  • Why doesn’t my practice offer video consultations?

All GP practices in Kirklees can provide video consultations. If you have asked for video consultation and your practice says this isn’t possible please talk to the Practice Manager.

  • When will GP services get back to normal?

Coronavirus is still in our community and as a result, these new ways of working are likely to be in place for some time to come.

Over the longer term the use of new technologies such as video, online and telephone consultation will continue to have a place in primary care, alongside face-to-face appointments.

We are working with Healthwatch Kirklees to understand more about your experience of healthcare during the pandemic.  This will help us to improve and develop services in the future.

  • What do you mean appointments are available 8am – 6.30pm, evenings and weekends? My surgery doesn’t open at this time.

A GP extended access service is available to all patients in Kirklees. These appointments are available early morning, evenings and weekends. This appointment may take place at a different surgery to the one you usually go to, and with a different doctor or nurse than the one you usually see. If you are offered a face-to-face appointment by your GP practice they may offer you an extended access appointment.

  • The surgery I go to is closed.

All GP practices in Kirklees are open. Some GP practices have more than one building where they see patients. We call these ‘branch sites.’

Branch sites are often small and we have agreed with one practice that they can close this building. This is because national infection control guidance cannot be followed and it would not be safe for staff or patients to keep the building open.

You can still call the telephone number or use online consultation to contact the team. The team who work at the branch site are working at the main surgery and if you need to attend the practice you will be asked to use the main surgery.

The branch site that is closed is: Keldregate Surgery. Branch site of The Grange Group Practice.

  • I think I need a referral to another service. Is there any point in booking an appointment if other services are closed?

If you have any concerns about your health you must contact your GP practice. It doesn’t matter if this is for a new or existing health condition. The health professional you speak to will have the latest information on specialist referrals.

  • I have coronavirus symptoms can I have an appointment?

Yes. If you have an additional concern about your health please contact your GP practice. If you are asked to attend a face-to-face appointment this may be at a different GP practice to your own which has additional infection control measures in place so that they can treat patients with coronavirus symptoms.

If you have one of the coronavirus symptoms (new continuous cough, high temperature, loss of taste or smell) you must request a test as soon as possible  and stay at home (self-isolate). You can request a test by visiting the NHS website or by calling 119.

If you live with anyone, or are in a support bubble, they should also stay at home. Get more information about how long to self-isolate.