The NHS in Gloucestershire is urging local people to continue to seek medical help if they have symptoms of a potentially serious illness or health condition.

Nationally, the number of people presenting with symptoms of possible heart attack, stroke and suspected cancer has reduced considerably since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, in spite of it being likely that these illnesses will be at the previous levels.

Although the nature of health services has changed in response to the pandemic, both GP practices and our emergency departments are available to see patients with potentially serious health conditions.

Similarly, our ambulance services continue to respond to all emergencies and therefore the public should not hesitate to contact 999, without delay, in a life threatening situation or if there are signs of someone becoming very unwell.

Locally, the NHS is very grateful for the public’s responsible use of our GP and emergency services, which is contributing positively to our local response to the pandemic. However, GP practices and local A&E Departments remain open to care for local people with potentially serious conditions.

Urgent Care Lead at NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and local GP, Dr Jeremy Welch said: “We recognise that people will continue to get ill and suffer injuries that are not Covid-19 related.

Whilst Covid-19 is presenting real challenges for the NHS and we value the public’s support in choosing wisely, we also want people to know that urgent care is still very much available.”

Emergency Care Consultant at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Rob Stacey said:

“It’s important that people do not delay seeking help with serious time critical conditions, as this could result in poorer outcomes for their health further down the road.

People should continue to call 999 and attend the A&E Departments if they believe their health is at risk, for example if they or a loved one see the signs of stroke, severe chest pain or worsening asthma.

The Trust continues to prioritise essential services and emergency care for children continues to be in place at the Gloucestershire Royal site.”

Dr Welch added:

“The same is true if people believe they are experiencing symptoms that could be associated with cancer – for example, blood in their urine or if they feel a lump in their breast. It is better to get it checked out as soon as possible and call their GP surgery. It is important that people don’t just sit there and worry and in the majority of cases, cancer will be ruled out.”