People living in Bath and North East Somerset are being advised to stay on top of their health and wellbeing by continuing to use the NHS throughout the next period of national lockdown.
The advice comes days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the nation would experience a second lockdown in order to stop the rapid spread of coronavirus.
During the announcement, the PM stressed that people should not be put off from accessing the care and treatment they need to stay well.
Unlike the first lockdown period in March and April, much more of the NHS will remain open, such as diagnostic services, including scans and blood tests, some pre-planned surgery and ongoing cancer care.
Dr Ruth Grabham, Medical Director, said: “While the rest of the country goes back into lockdown, the NHS, just like the first time around, will remain open for those who need it.
“GP appointments will be available and, although most will be happening in a virtual format in order to comply with social distancing, face-to-face consultations remain available if your doctor or nurse feels it is required in order to make a fuller assessment.
“This goes for appointments at hospital too, and I would like to offer the reassurance that the hospitals in our region are safe places to be, and no person should put off attending their appointments, especially if it relates to a serious condition, such as cancer.
“Equally, this ask to continue looking after physical health also comes with the request not to ignore the signs of poor mental health, some of which may become more apparent during the four-week lockdown.
“I would encourage everyone to take the opportunity to exercise outdoors, which is permitted, as much as possible as this can help us manage our mental health.”
Services to support mental health across the region remain open for people in need of help, however some may have moved to a telephone-based model of care.
Information on what services are available, as well as how to access each one at the current time, can be found online by visiting the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust website.
Emergency care at the Royal United Hospital in Bath will be available around the clock for those with the most serious injuries and illnesses.
However, people with more minor health conditions are advised to seek help elsewhere from services such as NHS 111, which is available online and over the phone, and local pharmacies, many of which can provide one-to-one consultations without the need for an appointment.