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Be assured that your local GP practice is still here for you during the Coronavirus pandemic.
However, the way you access services is different to how it was pre-Covid.
Please contact your GP practice first as you can’t just pop in and speak to the receptionist. Practices are operating a remote triage service, which means you will be assessed before an appointment is made – this is for everyone’s safety.
Most practices now have an ‘Online Consult’ system, which is great for giving you the right advice about your health concerns.
Have a look on your practice’s website next time you need medical advice. The Online Consult system takes you to an online form, where you fill out your symptoms.
It might advise you to check out some self-care information which will help you with many conditions. Similarly, if the information you provide raises a concern then you may be directed to telephone your practice for an urgent appointment, or to contact NHS 111 out of usual hours.
At the end of the process, you should submit the form and you will be contacted by the practice to discuss your symptoms by either a telephone or video appointment within 48 hours. If your GP needs to see you, you will be invited into the practice for a face-to-face appointment. This has been made safe for you to attend.
The initial form is quick and easy to complete, and great for people who are busy with other priorities. If you have access to the internet, then this is the best way of getting the right medical advice from your GP, at the right time.
Online Consult is available to use 24/7 and is also available via the myGP and Patient Access apps for some patients.
We appreciate not everyone has access to the internet so if you do ring your GP practice, someone will help you to complete the form over the phone.
Even though patients are asked to access their GP services differently, the practice is still operating from 8am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday.
Access to GP surgeries outside of core hours
If you require an appointment between 6.30pm and 9.30pm Monday to Friday, or a weekend appointment, contact your GP practice as usual and you will be advised to attend one of three hubs:
- Waters Meeting Health Centre
- Winifred Kettle Centre
- the Urgent Treatment Centre, based at the Royal Bolton Hospital (access via Main Entrance)
If you need urgent help from a GP, day or night, please ring your GP practice as normal and you'll be directed to the right service at the right time.
Emergency dental appointments
If you need help with an urgent dental problem, call the Greater Manchester Urgent Dental Care Service on 0333 332 3800 from 8am to 10pm every day, including weekends and bank holidays.
You can only get an appointment with this service if you don’t have a dentist or if your dentist is closed. This is an appointment-only service – no drop-in service is available.
If you need help finding an NHS dentist, visit the NHS website.
Self CareLots of minor illnesses can be effectively treated at home. Keep a well stocked medicine cabinet to help relieve any minor symptoms. Examples of when you should use self care would be hangovers, minor cuts and bruises along with coughs and colds.
Your local pharmacy is also still here to help during the pandemic.
They can help with lots of minor conditions, such as headaches, coughs and colds, rashes, diarrhoea/vomiting, earache.
Most prescriptions are now generated electronically from GP practices. However, it still takes a few days for them to be processed, ready for collection or delivery. So, if your GP writes you a prescription it won’t immediately be ready at your pharmacy – even if they are just next door to each other.
Repeat prescriptions can take up to seven days to process, but if your medication is urgent, please let your pharmacist know.
If your GP prescribes you medication that needs to be started straight away, like pain relief or antibiotics, please check with your pharmacy as to when it will be ready – they will need time to prepare it for you.
You can always contact your pharmacy by phone either for advice about minor ailments or ring ahead if you’re intending to collect a prescription.
Phone lines are busy at the moment but keep trying and you will get through.
If you do need to visit a pharmacy, please remember to wear your mask unless you are exempt. This is for everyone’s safety and is especially needed if your pharmacist needs to get a bit closer to look at your symptoms, for example if you have a rash or sore eye.
A&E is for serious injuries and life threatening conditions only. If you go to A&E with minor health problems you may be turned away and directed to a more suitable NHS service.
NHS Bolton Foundation Trust
Royal Bolton Hospital, Minerva Road Farnworth, Bolton BL4 0JR.
Tel: 01204 390390
Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust
Bury New Road, Prestwich, Manchester, M25 3BL.
Tel: 0161 773 9121
Mental health and wellbeing support
If you need to speak to somebody, the following organisations can offer help and support:
Single Point of Access (SPA)
If you need help with anxiety or depression, you can contact Single Point of Access (SPoA) 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays.
SPoA can make a referral on to the best service to help you.
Contact 01204 483101 or visit the the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust website for for more information.
SamaritansWhatever you are facing, the Samaritans are there to listen in confidence and without judgement. Free telephone support is available 24/7.
Call 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website for more ways to get in touch.
The charity provides one-to-one and group support in Bolton for people living with a mental health condition. Support is available most days, including Christmas Day.
Band has a social space at Unit 9C, Market Place - previously Cafe Dolce.
Contact the social space on 01204 380643, BAND’s office on 01204 38064 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information is on the BAND website.
Online counselling and emotional well-being support for children and young people up to the age of 25.
Run by specialist nurses from Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, provides parents and young people with quick and easy access to confidential health advice.
Parents can text 07507 331751 and young people can text 07507 331753 for support on a variety of topics.
ChatHealth is free (standard message rates apply).
National charity which helps young people under the age of 35 who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts, or help for those worried about someone.
Call 0800 068 41 41 or visit the Papyrus website.
Primary Care Networks
Primary Care Networks (PCNs) are groups of practices that work together with community, mental health, social care, pharmacy, hospital and voluntary services in their local areas.
There are nine PCNs in Bolton. Find out more.