Be respectful of healthcare staff

Patients attending Skelmersdale Walk-In Centre and West Lancashire Urgent Treatment Centre are being asked to be mindful of the ongoing COVID-19 regulations in healthcare settings and to be respectful of the health professionals working hard to help the West Lancashire community

Over the past few weeks, the urgent care team has experienced verbal abuse from the families and friends of patients turning up to sites and expecting to be given access as a group.

The current guidance states that, within health and care settings where patients with suspected or confirmed respiratory infection are being cared for, social distancing should remain at two metres. This means there is limited space in the centres and this must be prioritised for patients.

Elaine Wilson, Head of Urgent Care at Virgin Care in West Lancashire, which runs the centres on behalf of NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The overwhelming majority of patients absolutely respect the current circumstances that we are in, and I do understand that some people are frustrated at the ongoing COVID measures and the anxiety that can be caused by having to attend the walk in centre alone.

“However, the national regulations are in place to continue keeping our patients and our staff as safe as possible. Our staff are always happy to help and we ask that everyone visiting the walk-in centre is mindful of our regulations when visiting.”

Patients requiring urgent care are asked to contact NHS 111 before travelling to any centre, to help the team minimise any contact between those who are presenting with COVID-19 symptoms and those who are not.

NHS 111 will refer you to the appropriate place for treatment – which could be the walk-in centre, Urgent Treatment Centre, a pharmacy, GP or the accident and emergency department. If you need urgent care, 111 can book a timed appointment to avoid waiting times.

You can contact NHS 111 First by visiting www.111.nhs.uk or by calling 111 if you do not have access to the internet. It is fast and simple and the easiest way to be sign posted to the right service.

For patients with COVID-19 symptoms who need to be seen by urgent care teams, a designated hub is in place at West Lancashire Urgent Treatment Centre to minimise the risk of transmission. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, do not travel to Skelmersdale Walk-in centre.

This way of working also supports patients to stay as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anyone with a life-threatening emergency should call 999 immediately