It’s time to come back to the NHS with your non-Covid health concerns.
That’s the message from Fetcham GP Dr Hilary Floyd, who says that for most people there’s probably more risk now from undiagnosed disease than there is from Covid-19.
In common with many other doctors, Dr Floyd has seen a big drop in the number of patients coming in for routine checks on possible cancers or heart problems.
“The really worrying thing is that we are not seeing any of the illnesses we think we should be seeing,” says Dr Floyd.
“The message to people is that if you have a health concern, a lump, symptoms which are worrying you, there is absolutely no reason for you to stay away from the health service.
“You need to come in and see your GP. We have plenty of time to see you, it is not as if we are overrun and we want to see the people who are getting poorly from something that is not Covid.
“You are probably more at risk from those undiagnosed diseases than you are from getting Covid. So you really need to come in and see us."
Patients concerned about Covid infection should be reassured she says. If patients need to attend surgery, they will be asked to wear a facemask and of course clinicians will be wearing protection too.
Dr Floyd was speaking as builders put the finishing touches to the refurbished Molebridge Practice at Cannonside. The premises have been redesigned and redecorated, and she hopes to be back there with a new clinical team in the next two to three weeks.
The investment at Molebridge has come after the practice was taken over last summer by the Epsom and St Helier Hospital Trust. The practice is split between Cannonside and north Leatherhead, with the premises there about to receive a makeover as well.
Dr Floyd says each surgery will now have its own team of doctors and practice nurses, allowing both sites to be open at the same time. Previously, clinicians would spend part of the day in Fetcham and then move across to Leatherhead.
After the problems at Molebridge in recent years, Dr Floyd’s task is to re-build the patient list and so far the signs have been encouraging. She says more than 400 new patients have signed up since she took over.
Something else patients will notice – both old and new – is a new website enabling what’s known as ‘digital triage’. Patients can now book a range of GP services online rather than calling and waiting to speak to a receptionist. It’s a system which has been brought forward because of the Covid pandemic.
Dr Floyd has also been busy setting up the NHS Seacole Centre at Headley Court, a temporary community hospital for patients recovering from Covid-19. So it’s been an exceptionally busy few months.
And despite the severe challenges of the pandemic, she believes there have been some positives for the NHS.
“It’s really put the spirit and sense of purpose back into the health service. People are really working together.”
Latest medical advice on Covid-related matters can be found in the Covid-19 Support Room.