I have been in touch with Halton CCG Chief Executive, Dr Andrew Davies, concerned that constituents in Halton may not be contacting their GP practice during the Covid-19 emergency when they have concerns about their health, in particular symptoms that could relate to cancer and heart vascular problems. Dr Davies told me: “Patients are still able to safely access primary care services. Patients have been asked to contact their local surgery in the first instance by telephone or by completing an online form on their surgery website (eConsult). They are then triaged by a clinical member of staff and if necessary, a face-to-face appointment is made … However, despite this, there has been a noted reduction in the number of patients contacting their surgery which is a concern. As a result, we have increased all communications to the public, with specific targeted messages to encourage people to continue to contact their GP if they have signs and symptoms of serious health conditions, including cancers.”
It is good that people are trying to ease pressure on medical services at this very challenging time but what I do not want is patients delaying getting their symptoms checked out – causing much greater problems for themselves and the NHS further down the line. Some people will find that their concerns may not be anything of a serious nature but some, sadly, will have a condition that requires treatment, therefore the quicker you are seen by your GP the better.
I would urge constituents to contact their GP if they have signs and symptoms of a serious health condition including cancer – It is better to get checked than regret not doing so later.
You can find my correspondence with Dr Davies below.
Derek Twigg MP
What is the current situation regarding 2 week cancer referrals, has there been a drop off and if so by what numbers/percentage. What steps are being taken to ensure patients that might potentially have cancer can easily access both primary care and hospital services?
Derek Twigg MP