NHS Birmingham & Solihull advice for patients

“Help us to help you get the treatment you need across Birmingham and Solihull.”

If you are feeling unwell and need medical help, you should still continue to contact your GP practice as normal in Birmingham and Solihull – although how you access local services is likely to be different during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the NHS has been busy dealing with COVID-19, it is still here and ready to help if you or a family member is feeling unwell; which is why patients are being encouraged to continue to seek help if they need it and attend any medical appointments that are booked.

Dr Richard Mendelsohn, a Birmingham GP and the Chief Medical Officer of NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We want all our patients to feel confident that the NHS is still open for business and able to look after both people with COVID-19 and other health issues. A lot of work has been done locally to keep our patients safe, with doctors offering telephone or video appointment, as well as specific sites set up for routine and urgent care needs in primary care.

“People should not be put off getting medical help if they are feeling unwell or are worried about symptoms they have developed, and to contact their GP practice or NHS 111 as normal. Repeat prescriptions should also continue to be ordered – which can be done digitally and picked up from a local nominated pharmacy – women should continue to attend antenatal appointments and seek advice from their midwife, and babies and children should be taken for routine vaccinations in order to protect them against serious and potentially deadly illnesses.”

Birmingham and Solihull healthcare options:

· COVID-19 Care Assistant: This free 24/7 online service, accessed through Ask A&E and powered by Babylon, offers information on COVID-19 and self-isolating, with a free online symptom checker and access to live chat (8am-8pm) with University Hospital of Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust clinicians.

· GP practice: Telephone your GP practice as normal. You may be offered a telephone or video appointment. If you require a face-to-face appointment you will be told by your practice where to go. Different sites are operating across Birmingham and Solihull in order to keep patients safe, with separate sites for those needing routine care such as vaccinations, maternity, baby checks, dressings and urgent blood test, and alternative locations for those with acute medical problems, people who are shielding or under 16s who are not suitable for a virtual consultation.

· Pharmacy: Local pharmacies are open as normal. Do not attend if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

· NHS 111: This is available 24/7 by calling 111 or visiting 111.nhs.uk

· Walk-in, urgent care or urgent treatment centres: Locally, some of these options are still available – please check on the NHS website to ensure that your local site is open. Please do not attend if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

· A&E: You can use the Ask A&E symptom checker to find out if you need to attend your local A&E if you are not sure. Please only attend A&E or call 999 if it is a life-threatening situation – for example a heart attack or a stroke.

Dr Mendelsohn added: “It is important, during this time of social distancing that if people are feeling unwell – either physically or mentally – that they know they can access healthcare. You can find out more about local services on our website here. In Birmingham and Solihull we also have a local mental health offer targeted at 0-18s in Birmingham, 0-19s in Solihull, over 18s in Birmingham and Solihull and key workers, and you can find out more here.”