GPs in Lanarkshire say they are open but will be delivering care to patients in a 'different' way.

From January 11, all local surgeries in the area made a move to focus on the most urgent and time-critical care, which includes treating people with Covid-19 symptoms and respiratory problems.

NHS Lanarkshire has asked the surgeries to prioritise urgent care in this way in a bid to cope with the continuing pressure of record Covid cases and staff absences. 

READ MORE: Glasgow woman battled migraines for 23 years before 4-inch tumour was found in her head

Dr Linda Findlay, Medical Director of South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “GPs have been open throughout the pandemic and have been busier than ever.

"They have changed the way they provide care to help protect their patients, maintain safe infection control measures and minimise physical contact.

“This change to GP practices will help us deal with the continuing challenges in community services and help reduce the pressure across the whole system, including our acute hospitals which are under sustained pressure.”

Dr Keith McIntyre, Chair of Lanarkshire GP Sub-Committee, said: “We are asking Lanarkshire residents for their continued help and support during this challenging time.

"There are a number of alternatives where people can turn to for health care, which will allow GP practices to focus on the most urgent of cases.

“The services provided under this change will vary between practices depending on their individual circumstances. However, GPs will continue to see patients in-person as and when it is appropriate."

READ MORE: Glasgow Airport floodlights to be replaced with new model

Dr McIntyre has urged the public to still contact their GP for potentially serious problems such as cancer.

He added: "Practices have infection control processes in place, including physical distancing.

“People should continue to contact their GP practice for urgent issues, such as if they think they have symptoms of cancer.”

Dr Findlay extended her thanks to GPs for their work during the pandemic.

She said: “I would like to thank GPs for all that they have done and continue to do for their patients in the face of the ongoing pandemic.

“Our staff continue to work extremely hard to ensure that patients are seen and treated as quickly as possible in the most challenging of circumstances and we ask that people be kind to our staff and colleagues who are committed to caring, no matter the circumstances.”

Those seeking help and advice can use Meet the Experts on NHS Lanarkshire's website, where you can go directly to the right healthcare professional without having to make a GP appointment or wait in A&E. 

The NHS inform website also provides advice on self-care and NHS 24 can provide urgent health advice out-of-hours by calling 111.

Those seeking treatment for minor issues are advised to contact their local pharmacy.