PEOPLE in Basingstoke who have suspected Covid-19 and need to see a GP will be sent to Old Basing Health Centre.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership of Clinical Commissioning Groups has announced the new measure for Basingstoke in order for surgeries to continue “operating safely”.

A similar measure was brought in at the start of the pandemic.

Patients will be seen at their normal surgery for any other in-person appointments.

The idea is to separate patients so that anyone who is not suspected of having Covid-19 can be confident that they are attending an appointment in the safest way possible.

Patients with possible Covid-19 or another virus will know that they are attending a site which is specifically set up to promote their safety, and the safety of staff.

Dr Matt Nisbet said: “We did something very similar to this earlier in the year, using the surgery on St Andrew’s Road. We want to make sure that everyone understands that all patients – not just those who may have Covid-19 – are our priority, and that we are determined to make sure everyone can get the help they need, in the safest possible way.

“We believe that people can have confidence in this change – if you need to see someone about screening, or your long-term condition, or any other concern you have, we can provide a safe environment for you. And if you are suspected of having a virus and need to see a clinician, we have robust arrangements in place for that to happen, as well.”

All patients wanting to contact their surgery, no matter what their concern, are still being asked to telephone, or use the eConsult system on the practice website.

Staff can then assess whether the issue can be dealt with virtually, or whether a face-to-face appointment is needed.

Dr Nisbet added: “We know that everyone is very focused on Covid-19 at the moment, but doctors in this area are absolutely clear that we need to help all patients, whatever their illness or their need. I hope that this change sends a message that GPs their colleagues in primary care are here to help everyone. We would never want our patients to put appointments off, and we hope this change helps people to have confidence that we are ready and able to help.”

The Old Basing centre will open as a temporary Winter Assessment Centre from November 2. Patients should contact their practice as normal if they need a face-to-face appointment and they will be advised where to attend.