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GPs in Southwark start new ways of working to tackle coronavirus

GPs and practice nurses in surgeries in Southwark will be working in a different way to support the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

What is changing?

Nationally a network of new primary care Covid-19 centres is being rapidly established to manage the growth of coronavirus cases in the community. As part of Southwark's Covid-19 emergency response we are temporarily opening two Covid-19 community centres, one in the south of the borough and the other in the north of the borough.

Why are we introducing these centres?

The pandemic situation is developing at a rapid pace, with increasing numbers of patients needing care. GP surgeries will not be able to manage the increasing demand when their own staff are also affected unless we pool our available resources and provide care in new ways.

We also want to be able to provide care for those in the community who need to see a GP or nurse as well as having potential Covid-19 symptoms.

Will my GP surgery be affected?

All GP surgeries will be working together to support the community treatment centres and making sure that vital care is still available for people with illnesses and conditions other than Covid-19.

If you need to see your doctor or nurse, you will do this via a video or telephone consultation. If you need to be examined or assessed in person and don't have Covid-19 symptoms, you may be asked to go to a different surgery and be seen by a different doctor or nurse from your usual one.

This is because all the surgeries in Southwark are working together to support each other to ensure that patients get the right care in an appropriate place for their needs.

What if I have Covid-19 symptoms?

If you need a face to face appointment and have Covid-19 symptoms, you will either transport yourself (if you have a car) or we will arrange a taxi using a new temporary scheme provided by London black cabs. Following assessment by a health professional, you will then either drive yourself or be taken back home or onto a further medical destination if required. All staff working at a community treatment centre will of course be in appropriate PPE.

Once patients have been assessed by a GP there are three probable outcomes:

  1. Mild symptoms – you will be sent home with appropriate advice.
  2. Moderate symptoms – you will be sent home with potential prescription and details provided for any follow up deemed appropriate.
  3. Severe symptoms – you will be moved into holding area before being taken to hospital.


What should I do if I feel ill or need urgent medical advice?

If you have a new cough and fever

If you have symptoms that may be due to Coronavirus, a fever (over 37.8 degrees) or new continuous cough you should stay at home and avoid close contact with other people for at least 7 days - people you live with will need to self-isolate for 14 days. Do not book a GP appointment but do use the 111 coronavirus service.

Urgent medical help

If you need urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service.

The 111 online service asks questions about your symptoms to help you get the help you need.

Call 111 if you need urgent help for a child under 5 or cannot get help online.

If you need help or advice not related to coronavirus:

  • for health information and advice, use the NHS website or your GP surgery website
  • for urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service – only call 111 if you're unable to get help online
  • for life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance.