Medical professionals are worried that people have stopped using health services for issues apart from coronavirus and may be putting themselves and their children at risk. Eastleigh Borough Council is adding its voice to a campaign to encourage people to continue using their health services for symptoms and conditions in addition to COVID-19.
A coordinated effort has taken place to ensure that non-coronavirus related health services are still operating, capacity is available and that the NHS is still here for you - “help us help you to get the treatment you need”.
Reasons for this reluctance include: assuming that their symptoms are caused by coronavirus; that going to their GP or a hospital will increase their chances of becoming infected; as well as not wanting to put pressure on the already overstretched NHS.
Children are particularly at risk as parents may delay contacting healthcare professionals on the assumption that their illness is coronavirus, as the impact on children is generally mild. However, more common infections with similar symptoms can make children and babies particularly unwell and there is a major risk that parents may delay bringing their child to the attention of a healthcare professional.
Healthcare professionals say it is important to maintain normal investigations of symptoms for other illnesses. This is especially important for early intervention for cancer to provide the best of care as safely as possible – by phone appointment and video calls for initial investigations.
Non Covid-19 illnesses can still affect us at any time, so it is vitally important that if you have a change in your health, you should continue to contact your GP surgery or consult the NHS 111 online service for guidance.
Prescriptions, child vaccinations and services for mental health and pregnant women continue and you should ensure that you attend regular check-ups and treatments for pre-existing conditions unless you have been told specifically not to.
Do not hesitate to visit A&E or call 999 for serious and life-threatening emergencies.
The Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Councillor Tonia Craig, said: “Coronavirus is presenting huge challenges to health services, but it is important that we all continue to look out for any early signs of illness to ensure quicker and increased recoveries – and avoid ourselves and our loved ones worsening a condition that could put extra strain on the NHS in the months ahead.”