I KNOW it’s just a coincidence but both of our GP practices in Wantage are changing the way you can make appointments.

This has nothing to do with the Coronavirus.

If you believe that you might have the COVID-19 virus, then you should stay indoors, avoid close contact with other people and seek advice by looking at https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

If your condition worsens or lasts longer than seven days then phone 111.

In the meantime, Church Street Practice implemented a new appointment system last week to reduce waiting times for a GP appointment.

The change has been made to manage GP appointments, including those currently available online.

It involves using a system called eConsult via the practice website and filling in answers to the same questions that your doctor would normally ask you in a face-to-face appointment.

A clinician will look at your answers and contact you by phone, text or email by the end of the next working day to tell you if and when you need to see someone.

You will also be able to get administrative assistance through the same system, for instance requesting a fit note or GP letter.

If you don’t have access to the internet you can still telephone the surgery for an appointment on 01235 770245 (option 4) to be redirected to the relevant person.

Newbury Street Practice are also changing their system.

From Tuesday, April 14, you will call the practice to speak to your own GP on the day you need medical advice.

Your GP will call you back on the same day and discuss the issue. If you need a face-to-face review, your GP will arrange that on the same day.

If your GP is not there that day, or has no capacity to speak to you, you will be asked to call the practice on the next working day that your GP is available.

If the query is urgent or you cannot wait for your own GP, you may be offered an appointment with another member of the team.

Appointments will only be booking in advance for the nursing team and for minor operations (lumps and bumps removal), coils and implants.

Newbury Street also use the eConsult system and will respond within 48 hours on working days.

Between now and 14th April, you won’t be able to make an appointment to speak to your GP unless it’s urgent, because they are trying to get through the backlog of pre-booked appointments.