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Think ‘3 before GP’ to keep you well


This article is from 17 December 2021 - the situation may change with time

GP practices are currently very busy delivering booster jabs and dealing with urgent and vulnerable cases - but they are still available for patients if needed.

However, people can help take the pressure off GP surgeries by using other health services for advice and treatment, if appropriate.

People are being urged to think '3 before GP' if their condition is not urgent and consider using:

  • Self-care – having a well-stocked medicine cabinet, exercising more often and eating healthier food
  • NHS website, which contains a guide to conditions, symptoms, and treatments
  • advice and treatment from a high street pharmacist.

Dr Ed Capo Bianco, Urgent Care Lead at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "GP practices are very busy delivering more booster jabs so we ask for the public's support, understanding and patience. We also have to ensure the vulnerable and those with urgent needs or require cancer care remain our priority.

"It will help reduce the pressure at practices if patients can use other health services such as self-care, pharmacists or the NHS website for advice and treatment if their condition is not urgent, to keep them well and healthy over winter. However, we are still available for patients if needed."

He also encourages people to check GP practice websites:

"If your query isn't urgent then it might be worth checking the practice website first. This would help free up the phone line for someone with an urgent health concern.

"GP practice websites signpost people to other local health services such as minor injury units, provide details of local pharmacy opening times and some have a symptom checker to help you to know who is best person or service to treat your condition. It is often also possible to book or cancel GP appointments through your practice website too and have an online consultation if necessary. And if you do speak to staff at your practice, please treat them kindly and with respect."

Remember, people aged 18 and over who are eligible for a booster jab can book via the National Booking Service or by calling 119. Patients can also wait to be contacted by their GP practice to get an appointment.