GP PRACTICES across York have seen a fall in non-coronavirus appointments since the virus outbreak started – and are appealing for people to get in touch if they need a doctor.

Dr Nigel Wells, Clinical Chair of NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group, said surgeries across the city are still providing care to patients in new virtual ways throughout the pandemic.

Speaking to The Press, he said that the fall in contact was “concerning” and had been evident in York and across the country.

He said: “Call volume over the last three weeks has gone down notably, which is concerning for us.

“All practices are still there for people and we are happy and ready to help with Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 cases.

“The virus has changed the way we operate to an extent, but we are providing virtual appointments, via video and on the phone to anyone who needs help, to establish the severity of the situation before deciding if we need to see them.”

He added that it was still imperative that surgeries offered a blended approach of virtual and physical care to make sure vulnerable patients and residents are not hidden from view and are cared for.

Meanwhile, he also gave thanks to the hard work of primary and secondary care staff throughout York and North Yorkshire, who he said were helping to save lives, adding that they were “shining lives in society”.

He said that the pandemic has shown how well the health service can work together – between primary, secondary, mental health care and community care – and that this would be pivotal for the foreseeable future.

He said: “We’ve learnt throughout this pandemic new ways of operating between the health care systems and this will be important in tackling the virus and other issues going forward such as mental health.”

And he paid tribute to the residents of York who were staying at home, and social distancing, which he said is helping to take the strain off the health service.

Meanwhile, the government yesterday said it had begun to restart vital NHS services, starting with the most urgent, such as care for cancer patients and mental health support.

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