Posted: 15.06.20 at 19:07 by Philip Evans
Axminster doctors have expressed concern about a second wave of the coronavirus.
Using social media to get over their message, Dr Nicholas Hodges warned - on the day that local shops were allowed to open - that the South West has the highest rate of coronavirus spread in the UK.
Dr Hodges said: "We have been extraordinarily fortunate in the South West to avoid the huge rates of COVID-19 infection that have been seen in other parts of the country and the world.
"Despite the relatively low numbers, many of our patients have been infected and been very unwell, and several have sadly died. The situation could have been a lot worse had you all not adopted the social distancing measures and made so many sacrifices, so thank you.
"We are now concerned about the possibility of a 'second wave'. The South West currently has the highest rate of coronavirus spread in the UK. Therefore, although many shops are opening today, please be aware that in line with Government guidelines we are still trying our best to minimise contact with patients and not allowing patients to book appointments directly.
"If we can manage a condition over the phone or using video or photos then we will - for your safety."
Dr Hodges said that if a patient had a medical concern they should use eConsult to seek advice. Those with no action no access to the internet should call the practice reception.
He continued: "We are working on getting some of our routine clinics such as B12 and joint injections and minor surgery back up and running, but please bear with us as we carry out full risk assessments. We will contact you when these services are available.
"Lastly, we just wanted to plea for your ongoing understanding at this difficult time. We totally appreciate that for many people the significant changes to the way this surgery has run for many years have been challenging.
"However all the changes we have made have been as a result of Government guideline or contractual obligation - including the introduction of eConsult. We are fed up of not being able to safely see patients.
"No GP or Nurse gets into this job to sit in front of a computer and make phone calls. We want to see, and interact with and help patients. But right now we can't do that freely because it would put you at risk. So please remember that we hate the situation too, and are constantly working on ways that we can improve our service within the imposed restrictions."
An interactive map released by the Office of National Statistics last week revealed that there had been 10 deaths in Axminster due to Covid-19.