Covid Protections Introduced for Primary Care

New measures have been introduced within the Primary Care sector to further protect patients, staff and the wider public as a result of the increase in positive Covid-19 cases. 

With immediate effect:

Dentists will be able to provide advice, and prescribe analgesia (pain relief) and antibiotics to patients as required, but will not be able to offer any additional services. Arrangements are in place for patients who require emergency treatment. Patients registered with a dentist and who require dental advice should contact their own practice in the first instance. 

Anyone who does not have a dentist should contact the Community Dental Service on 642785 if they require emergency dental treatment or advice. The emergency dental clinic, which is run by the NHS dental providers between 9am and 12pm at weekends and on Bank Holidays, is accessible for all Manx residents. The rota for this can be found at www.gov.im/dentists.  

Opticians will stop providing sight tests. However, they may remain in operation for the repair and collection of glasses. 

GP surgeries will continue to provide appointments via telephone or video call in the first instance, with face-to-face appointments being carried out if required. However, non-urgent care interventions such as cervical smears and minor operations will stop temporarily. It’s important that members of the public do continue to seek GP advice for any health concerns they have, and contact their surgery by phone to make an appointment rather than trying to do this in person. Anyone attending a face-to-face appointment should not arrive more than five minutes before their appointed time.  

Social distancing and the use of PPE will remain in place in all GP surgeries. Any visitors should take a mask with them. Staff will continue to make safe arrangements for patients to collect prescriptions and give advice to anyone who cannot collect prescriptions themselves.  

Community Pharmacy services will continue as normal – however, if any are forced to close as a result of staff illness or self-isolation, this will be communicated. St John Ambulance is currently supporting some community pharmacies to deliver repeat prescription medicines. Anyone who needs their medication delivering because they are housebound or in self-isolation should call their local pharmacy for support.

Minister David Ashford said: ‘I understand that changing some of our Primary Care service provision may be worrying for people, but I want Manx residents to understand that GPs, dentists and opticians are still available to deal with any healthcare concerns that people may have over the coming days. It’s really important that people do still continue to seek advice from the surgery or practice they would usually attend – that support is still available for them.’