STAFF IN GP surgeries across Berkshire West will be foregoing their bank holiday to support the community with the coronavirus outbreak.
The majority of the 47 practices in the area will remain open this Good Friday and Easter Monday to give patients telephone access to medical care and advice.
They will also be coordinating care with neighbouring surgeries to make sure people in their areas are looked after.
Medical forecasters have predicted coronavirus cases could peak soon which is why health officials are putting these special measures in place to manage the rise in demand.
Anyone who has suspected coronavirus symptoms of a constant cough and/or a high temperature of 37.8 is still being advised to self-isolate at home for seven days and, if necessary, seek information from NHS 111 online.
Others in the household are advised to self isolate for 14 days.
Patients who have a medical problem that is not related to coronavirus can ring their surgery as normal. But they should not visit the surgery.
All GP appointments will initially be on the telephone and if they feel they need a face to face examination then an appointment can be arranged.
The surgeries normal weekend arrangements will be in place on Easter Saturday and Sunday.
People can ring NHS 111 with urgent medical problems and Westcall will also be providing the Out of Hours GP service.
The majority of pharmacists across Berkshire West will be opening 2-5pm on Good Friday and Easter Monday to support the surgeries and patients. Others will be opening their normal hours.
Dr Abid Irfan, chair of the Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We are really grateful to GPs, Nurses and practice staff for giving up their Bank Holiday as we support our patients, and the wider NHS system, tackle the coronavirus.
“These are anxious times for everyone and we hope they get some reassurance knowing our medical teams are going to be available over the holiday weekend to meet the rising demand for care.
“I’m pleased to say that nearly all of our practices in Berkshire West will be open, some will have an arrangement with a neighbouring practice to provide cover. But local people can be assured expert advice and support will be available to anyone who needs it.
“We’re asking people to please use these services responsibly and appropriately to make sure people with the most need receive care during this outbreak.”
For more information, visit: www.berkshirewestccg.nhs.uk