Up to half the nursing staff at some York GP practices are now absent – and patients are being asked to look for treatment elsewhere if they can.
A surge in demand for services has coincided with a large number of staff illnesses, as well as absences including having to self-isolate because of Covid-19.
The community nursing team is “severely short staffed” too, says the Vale of York CCG (clinical commissioning group).
They are now urging patients to “do their bit” to relieve the pressure on the service, which is getting worse every day.
The Vale of York CCG represents practices in York, Selby, Tadcaster, South Hambleton and Ryedale.
Dr Nigel Wells, clinical chair, said: “Every part of our system is currently under extreme pressure so please think carefully about choosing the right NHS service for your needs.
“Every day we are seeing increasing numbers of NHS staff having to isolate, making things even tougher.
“I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to those working within our NHS system under huge pressure at the moment whilst continuing to maintain high standards of care for patients.”
How we can help
The CCG has warned that planned appointments may need to be rearranged or delayed at short notice.
To help cope with the pressures and ensure the people who need care the most can get it, the NHS has these suggestions:
- Think NHS 111 or pharmacy first before contacting your GP or going to A&E
- Most patients can treat minor illnesses and injuries such as sore throats, grazes and hangovers at home. Most simple ailments will begin to get better within a few days.
- Pharmacists are highly trained health professionals who can provide confidential, expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses, such as headaches, fevers, upset stomachs and minor rashes.
- You should use the NHS 111 non-emergency service if you need immediate medical help or advice, but it is not a life-threatening situation.
- If you suspect you have Covid-19 stay at home and get a test by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk – you cannot access testing through your GP.
- Understand that you may not be seen in the same way as before the pandemic. Virtual or telephone appointments are often more appropriate
- Please attend your appointments. If you can’t make it, let your doctor know so that they can offer that appointment to others
This comes as the BMA announced a severe backlog of non-Covid care, estimating that there were 3.63 fewer elective procedures, and 23.67 fewer outpatient attendances between April 2020 and May 2021, with 13 times as many patients waiting over one year for specialist treatment in May 2021 than the same time the year before.