A GP surgery in Hook is using marshals at their front door after two patients displaying Covid symptoms entered the surgery against advice.

Whitewater Health partnership, which also runs the surgery in Hartley Wintney, said that the patients ignored the signage outside the Hook surgery, and entered anyway.

It tells patients to not enter if they are displaying any of the three main Covid symptoms - a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss in smell and/or taste.

The surgery also revealed that a quarter of their staff are off work because of illness or self-isolation.

A letter posted online from Whitewater's Patient Participation Group says that the practice is "trying extremely hard to maintain an 'open door' policy whilst trying to protect staff and other patients".

Any patients with Covid symptoms are being given appointments at the Winter Assessment Hub in Old Basing, which is being run by all practices across North Hampshire.

They asked patients not to be alarmed if they are given an appointment there, adding it is "a very safe environment".

The letter reads: "Whitewater Health has taken the decision to use marshals at the front door of Hook surgery whilst the pandemic is at its current level.

"The practice is trying extremely hard to maintain an 'open door' policy for patients whilst trying to protect staff and other patients on the premises.

"There have been two cases recently where people with Covid symptoms walked straight in and ignored the signage to not enter if unwell.

"Patients with Covid symptoms will be given an appointment at our Winter Assessment Hub in Old Basing.

"This is being run jointly by the practices across North Hampshire and all staff are in a rota.

"It is a very safe environment for assessment so please do not be alarmed if you are asked to go there instead of coming in to the practice.

"Entering the surgery with Covid symptoms risks spreading the virus to the workforce and patients.

"By using marshals to welcome patients to the practice, they can ensure that the surgery is operating safely and patients will be directed to the resources they require as appropriate.

"These actions will help keep the surgery front door open and provide continuity of care that is safe for all."

It continued: "Please be aware that the practice is under a work load pressure due to the impact of the pandemic.

"The surgery currently has 25 per cent of the team off sick or isolating because of Covid.

"Most of the team, however, are still fit to work and are giving up their days off to assist either with vaccinations or to help keep services running."

Whitewater are carrying out most of its "duty" appointments in Hook, with the Hartley Wintney site reserved for vulnerable patients and staff.

Anyone with Covid symptoms across the region will be given an appointment at Old Basing, if required.

Whitewater say on its website: "As ever, please wear a face covering, and do not attend if you have a temperature over 37.8 degrees, a new cough or loss of smell/taste."

A one-way system is in operation throughout the buildings.