The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a decrease in people accessing NHS services for conditions that are not related to coronavirus, but this need not be the case.

Seeking medical help is one of the four reasons that people can safely leave home, in line with government guidance

But new findings show that four in ten people are too concerned about being a burden on the NHS to seek help from their GP, with one in ten people not contacting their medical centre even if they had a lump or a new mole that did not go away after a week. 

Over the last few weeks, there has been a sharp drop in the number of patients referred for investigations and appointments for suspected cancer. There is a growing concern that some people are aware of new symptoms but are apprehensive about telling their GP as they don’t want to be a burden or are concerned about catching coronavirus. 

But NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens warned that delays in getting treatment due to coronavirus fears pose a long term risk to people’s health 

If you need medical help you should still contact your GP practice, use NHS 111 online or call 111. If you are told to go to hospital it is important that you go to hospital.    

Where it is a serious or life-threatening emergency you must dial 999 immediately.

Prescriptions

If you need prescriptions you can order them through your GP or pharmacist’s online service where available, or you can download the NHS App. If you need to collect a prescription and are isolating due to your medical condition or have symptoms, ask a friend or relative or a volunteer to collect for you. Or if you don’t have anyone who can, contact your local Citizen’s Advice or Council, as many community groups have been established to support people with prescription collections.

Pregnancy

If you are pregnant attend all your antenatal appointments as normal, and if you’re worried about the health of your unborn child contact your midwife 

Its important that if you have a baby or a child you still attend for routine vaccination, as these will protect against serious and potentially deadly illnesses and stops outbreaks.

Heart attack

The British Heart Foundation earlier in the month reported a 50% fall in the number of people attending with heart attacks, raising concerns that people are not getting the potentially life saving care they need. You must dial 999 immediately if you think you or a family member are suffering with symptoms of a heart attack. These are:

  • Heavy or tight chest pain that may spread to your arms, neck or jaw
  • Feeling sick
  • Sweating
  • Light headed-ness that doesn’t go away
Stroke

Similarly, if you think you or a family member are suffering from a stroke, dial 999 immediately.  A stroke is a medical emergency, as is a mini stroke, don’t dismiss this as a funny turn.You can spot the symptoms of a stroke by using the FAST test, which is as follows:

  • Face: Is the face drooping or fallen on one side? Can they smile?
  • Arms: Can they raise both their arms and keep them there?
  • – Speech: Is their speech slurred or are they difficult to understand?
  • Time: If you see any of the above signs, it’s time to call 999. 

The Charity urges all our beneficiaries to seek medical help if they need to and not to hesitate in doing so, the NHS is still very much open for business.  Ignoring problems can have serious consequences in the future.

The Fire Fighters Charity is also still open for business, supporting beneficiaries remotely throughout the virus. If you’re suffering with a non-emergency medical condition, speak to us. Give us a ring on 0800 389 8820 or complete an enquiry online. No one should be suffering in silence.