Coronavirus: THINK before you head to the GP surgery

Date published: 24 March 2020

Patients need to stop rocking up at GP surgeries with possible coronavirus symptoms and rolling out excuses as to why they won’t self-isolate.

If they don’t, Oldham could be reeling under its worst modern health crisis and thousands of lives could be put at risk, warns council health chief, Dr Zahid Chauhan OBE.

The national health campaigner and Oldham Council Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care claims people are ignoring repeated NHS warnings and are even being lax about handwashing and social distancing.

Although only a couple of cases have been diagnosed so far in the borough, Dr Chauhan believes that thousands more are inevitable, unless people: 

• Stay away from GP surgeries if they display symptoms such as a new cough or high temperature – as they could infect other patients and the staff

• Go to the Coronavirus Pod at Oldham Hospital – not A&E – if they develop into an emergency with breathing difficulties or other symptoms

• Self-isolate if they or a member of their household develop the symptoms or are at high risk 

• Cover their mouths when they cough and catch a sneeze in a handkerchief

• Wash hands thoroughly for 20 seconds at least, regularly throughout the day

Dr Chauhan called on people who haven’t developed any signs to try and care for the vulnerable, by shopping for them or even just contacting by phone or online to see if they are fine.

He also asked residents to remain calm and not bulk buy from supermarkets, as it might deprive the elderly of essentials.

The founder of the Homeless-Friendly programme, who has already successfully petitioned Prime Minster Boris Johnson to help the homeless get through the COVID-19 crisis, has also made an urgent appeal to us all to support our NHS staff and social care workers.

“This could be as simple as by not buying up products early morning so that there is nothing left for hardworking shift workers later on,” he added.

“We will only beat this virus by working together” added Dr Chauhan.

"These are unprecedented times but putting yourself above others doesn’t help.

"If we abide by simple advice like ringing your doctors instead of visiting them and working from home if you can, then we will protect ourselves, our vital public servants and our entire community.

"The onus is very much upon us.

"Don’t let yourselves or Oldham down.”

Dr Chauhan OBE is a national health campaigner and founder of the Homeless-Friendly health programme.

He recently received the OBE for his services to the homeless.

Learn more about his work at:

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