Can you still attend hospital appointments in lockdown?

NHS chief discusses reality of coronavirus hospital patient figures

Britons are now under the third lockdown in less than a year due to rising coronavirus cases and concern for pressures on the NHS. Schools, colleges and universities are having to teach online, while non-essential shops have been closed. No end date has been given for lockdown as yet, with mid-February and March being spoken of in Government updates so far.

Speaking today in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had “no choice” but to reinstate lockdown measures.

In a statement, he told the Commons: “The tiers, that the House agreed last month, was working with the old variant, but alas this mutation – spreading with frightening ease and speed in spite of the sterling work of the British public – this mutation has led to more cases than we’ve seen ever before.

“Numbers that alas cannot be explained away by the meteoric rise in testing.

“When the ONS reports that more than two percent of the population is now infected and when the number of patients in hospitals in England is now 40 percent higher than the first peak in April it is inescapable that the facts are changing and we must change our response.

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“And so we have no choice but to return to a national lockdown in England with similar measures being adopted by the devolved administrations, so we can control this new variant until we can take the most likely victims out of its path with vaccines.”

Mr Johnson warned it would take time to ease lockdown restrictions in England, which could be in place until the end of March.

With lockdown in place, some may be concerned about attending regular appointments or visiting the doctors.

So has put together a guide for those who may have hospital appointments during lockdown.

Can you still attend hospital appointments?

A stay at home message has been issued for those in England, with non-essential trips banned under lockdown rules.

However Britons can leave home for a few select reasons, and this includes attending any doctors or hospital appointments you may have.

The NHS has advised anyone attending doctors surgeries or hospitals must follow new Covid-safe rules.

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If you have a hospital appointment, the NHS says it’s important to go.

Some changes have been made to hospital services:

  • you must wear something that covers your nose and mouth when you go to a hospital
  • some appointments may be online, by phone or by video call
  • you may be asked to come to your appointment alone, if you can

Some appointments may be cancelled or rescheduled – but keep going to any appointments you usually have, unless you’re told not to.

If your appointment has been cancelled or rescheduled, the hospital will be in touch with you via letter or phone call.

There are similar rules around surgeries, with new rules to follow due to the pandemic. 

If you are having surgery or a procedure done, the hospital will be in touch about the steps to take beforehand.

If you’re having surgery or a procedure:

  • you, the people you live with and anyone in your support bubble may need to self-isolate before you go into hospital
  • you may need a test to check if you have coronavirus before you go into hospital

Your hospital will contact you with more information about what you need to do.

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