SURGERIES across north Hampshire are joining forces to meet the needs of patients across the borough during the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning patients may have to visit a different practice for an appointment.

North Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) announced this week that GPs and staff will be working together with other local surgeries to “develop a system which will be able to meet these changing needs”.

This could mean patients may be sent to another local surgery for a face-to-face appointment, particularly if they have symptoms of Covid-19.

The CCG has worked to reduce footfall in practices by using online consultations, telephone appointments and video consultations.

It said: “Our top priority is to keep our patients and staff safe whilst ensuring patients get the care they need. Keeping our staff healthy is crucial so that they can continue to care for everybody.”

Patients who contact their surgery for an appointment will receive an initial assessment through e-consult on the practice website, or by telephone.

Face-to-face appointments may still take place at a patient’s usual surgery; however, the CCG has said this may change.

“Services may need to be provided from a smaller number of practices if staff become unwell,” it advised.

It added: “If, over the course of the next few weeks, you do have to go to a different surgery to the one you are used to, you might also see a doctor or nurse who you are not familiar with. Whilst we realise this could be inconvenient, we think it is important to keep people safe, reduce the spread of Covid-19 and get the maximum benefit from the healthcare resources which will be available.

“Your records will still be accessible securely to you and to them, ensuring they are able to provide you with the best possible care. A home visiting service, for patients who are housebound, will be provided but increasingly through practices working together.”