Covid-19 advice and appointments
Coronavirus has changed the way all our health services work. GP practices are open and have been throughout the Covid-19 pandemic however services are operating differently to help keep patients and staff safe.
Many GP appointments are being carried out over the phone or by video consultation (using Near Me) but if you do need to be seen in person then you will be advised to attend at a specific time. Practice staff will let you know the options available to you when you call.
NHS Inform provides a wide range of health information and advice and your local pharmacist can also provide health advice and treatment for many common illnesses and health conditions.
Want to know more about how your GP Practice is working?
How will General Practice look as we emerge from lockdown? Will it be the same as before?
GPs continued to provide services throughout the first wave of the pandemic. However, it’s really important to note that there have been a lot of changes due to covid-19 and these will be in place for the foreseeable future.
There are 50 GP practices across Forth Valley and while each will have their own process, there are changes that will be consistent across practices.
Will I be seen face-to-face?
Patients will only receive a face-to-face appointment when necessary – for example, when a physical examination is needed or if tests need to be carried out. There are many problems that can be managed effectively and safely during a phone or video consultation. If you need to be seen to diagnose or manage your problem then this will be arranged.
What form will my appointment take if it is not face-to-face?
Most appointments will now be by telephone or video consultation. After your initial assessment by telephone, practice staff will recommend what is most appropriate for you. Remember this may be another service – for example, self-care, dentist, community pharmacy or optician. These services may also operate slightly differently for everyone’s safety.
Why is it so difficult to phone my Practice now?
Practices are experiencing unprecedented volumes of calls especially at peak times. The average Forth Valley Practice gets a call every 2 ½ minutes now. Many systems are limited despite upgrades and often each enquiry is taking longer to deal with. Please be patient with your Practice and if your Practice offers other methods of contacting them such as email or via their website then this may be more convenient for you.
I used to book appointments at my GP practice by popping in and talking to reception staff. Can I still do this?
No. Please do not turn up at the practice without an appointment. This is to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus. While doors are mainly open Practices are still minimising numbers coming in especially as waiting rooms come back into use.
If my appointment is face-to-face, what can I expect when I arrive at the practice?
Appointment systems have now changed to avoid queues. You will receive a precise time for your appointment. Please do not arrive early or late. Reception staff will advise you on their own process
Should I wear a face mask for my appointment?
Yes. The Scottish Government has advised that face coverings should be worn when entering enclosed spaces such as shops and public transport. This also includes GP practices.
What measures are in place at GP practices to keep me safe when I’m there?
Measures will be in place to ensure safety and physical distancing – for example, reduced capacity in waiting rooms, one-way systems, hand sanitiser and staff wearing face coverings.
Can someone come with me to my appointment?
Please go to your appointment alone unless you need help from a carer or family member. Please think about how you’ll get home after your appointment and remember family members or carers can wait for you outside or in the carpark.
Where can I find the most up-to-date information on public transport?
For the most recent guidance on how to travel safely, go to Transport Scotland’s website: www.transport.gov.scot/TravelAdvice
I really prefer to see my GP and healthcare professional face-to-face. Are these changes really necessary?
Yes. We understand that it can be frustrating not always being able to see your GP, or other healthcare professional, face-to-face. However, we all need to play our part in suppressing covid-19 to keep ourselves and our communities safe. Please be reassured that if your clinician feels you need to seen based on your presentations then this will be organised and many patients are now being seen following their phone call. Often your problem will be dealt with sooner under these arrangements.
Does the current situation signal a restart of General Practice and other community services?
General practice and other community services have continued throughout covid-19, but it’s important to understand that we are not ‘restarting’ services as they were before, but ‘redesigning’ them in line with national guidance to keep all Forth Valley patients safe and cope with the demand. Many services are still experiencing staff shortages due to the pandemic. We would like to thank the people of Forth Valley for their continued patience as we move forward. General Practice is evolving, Practice teams are working hard and your support and understanding is appreciated throughout this time.
Your GP Practice Team
More healthcare staff are working in local GP Practices across Forth Valley to support GPs and help you access a wider range of health services and support.
Registering with a local GP Practice
If you have moved to the area or are having difficulty registering with a GP please email National Services Scotland (Practitioner Services Division) firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0345 300 1024.
Find Local GPs
Find your nearest GP using our Service Finder.