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Coronavirus / New advice on who to contact with Covid-19 symptoms

NHS BOARDS across Scotland have created local hubs and assessment centres to streamline the way coronavirus patients are being dealt with in a bid to ease the “unprecedented demand” on GP surgeries and the health service in general.

Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms should not call their GP, and instead they should either find the required information online at www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus or call NHS24 on 111 for further guidance.

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They should under no circumstances turn up at the Gilbert Bain’s A&E department with the expectation that they will be tested for coronavirus.

People calling NHS24 with Covid-19 symptoms will either receive help and advice following an initial telephone assessment or, if necessary, they will be transferred to a local, Shetland based, community hub.

The community hubs are up and running since Monday. Here medical staff will assess on the phone whether or not people will need to see a medical expert. If that becomes necessary an appointment at the local assessment centre will be made.

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The local assessment centre will be based at the Gilbert Bain Hospital, but separate from other primary care patients. NHS Shetland chief executive Michael Dickson said patients needing Covid-19 assessment would enter the hospital through a different entrance.

The advice for assessment centres given by the NHS is as follows: “Please only arrive at the agreed time for your appointment. The community hub will advise you on how to access the assessment centre.

“Once you arrive, you will go to a waiting room, where you will either be by yourself, or a safe distance from other patients waiting in the room.

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“You will then be seen by a clinician. They will likely be wearing a wearing a mask and gloves as a precaution, but this does not mean that you have Covid-19. You may be asked to wear a surgical facemask to help prevent spread of coughs and sneezes.

“They will assess you and your symptoms and create a treatment plan for you. If you need to go to hospital they will arrange this, otherwise you will be sent home with any medication you need (or a prescription) and your treatment plan.”

NHS Scotland advises that during GP practice opening hours, NHS24 on telephone 111 will focus solely on Covid-19 related inquiries. Any other health matter should be referred to local GPs.

Once GP surgeries are closed NHS24 will deal with Covid-19 and all other enquiries.

In addition, the community pharmacy minor ailment service is being extended to allow anyone registered with a GP practice, who has a minor illness or a common condition, to speak to a member of the pharmacy team for advice and treatment without the need to see their GP.

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