Important update on referrals for anyone registered with a Leeds GP practice

As part of the response to coronavirus (COVID-19), GP practices in Leeds will no longer be referring people for routine hospital appointments with only urgent referrals being offered.

The NHS in Leeds has implemented a policy to suspend some services in an effort to protect patients and staff while ensuring resources are concentrated on caring for those with COVID-19 as well as those needing urgent care. In addition any existing planned appointments may either be cancelled, take place over the telephone or by video consultation.

This means GPs in Leeds are unable to refer for the following hospital services and all waiting lists are now closed.

  • Outpatient appointments
  • Diagnostic tests for most conditions – GPs will let people know if there’s any tests that still need to be carried out
  • Non-urgent sight impairment issues – support will continue to be provided for urgent issues
  • Cancer services – referrals will continue however urgent appointments will initially involve a telephone call and people will be advised by a healthcare professional on what will happen next

Dr Sarah Forbes, GP and Associate Medical Director for NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “People in the Leeds health and care system are working closely together to ensure that we can respond to the coronavirus outbreak. As part of our local response we’ve had to take a very difficult decision to suspend a number of hospital services and close our waiting lists.

“We want to assure people we’ll continue to care for you in any emergency and it’s important that you call 999 when you need to. It’s also really important that if you have concerns about an existing health condition or are feeling unwell you still get in touch with us. Furthermore, anyone who has symptoms of cancer such as a lump in the breast, blood in you pee or poo or unexplained weight loss should contact their GP*. Don’t leave this to chance.

“Your GP and practice staff are doing their best to help you during extremely challenging times. We ask for your patience and understanding as well as your support for all our colleagues working in the NHS.”

Anyone who has an existing appointment will be contacted by the service provider to confirm arrangements. The NHS in Leeds wants to reassure people that people will continue to receive care such as when they have a limb or life threatening serious illness or injury.

For the latest advice on coronavirus please visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

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Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

You should only leave the house for 1 of 4 reasons:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

Do not leave your home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do at www.111.nhs.uk. Only call NHS 111 if you feel you can’t cope or your symptoms begin to get worse.

*Signs and symptoms of cancer

(Source https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/symptoms/)

  • Lump in your breast

See your GP if you notice a lump in your breast or if you have a lump that’s rapidly increasing in size elsewhere on your body. Your GP will refer you to a specialist for tests if they think you may have cancer.

  • Coughing, chest pain and breathlessness

Visit your GP if you’ve had a cough for more than 3 weeks. Symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain may be a sign of a severe (acute) condition, such as pneumonia. See your GP straight away if you experience these types of symptoms.

  • Changes in bowel habits

See your GP if you’ve experienced one of the changes listed below and it’s lasted for more than a few weeks:

  • blood in your poo
  • diarrhoeaor constipation for no obvious reason
  • a feeling of not having fully emptied your bowels after going to the toilet
  • pain in your stomach (abdomen) or back passage (anus)
  • persistent bloating
  • Bleeding

You should also see your GP if you have any unexplained bleeding, such as:

  • Moles

See your GP if you have a mole that:

  • changes shape or looks uneven
  • changes colour, gets darker or has more than 2 colours
  • starts itching, crusting, flaking or bleeding
  • gets larger or more raised from the skin

Any of the above changes means there’s a chance you have malignant melanoma, a form of skin cancer.

  • Unexplained weight loss

You should also see your GP if you’ve lost a lot of weight over the last couple of months that cannot be explained by changes to your diet, exercise or stress.