People with health issues other than Covid-19 should not be put off seeking assistance during the current crisis, NHS Shetland has urged.
Anyone feeling unwell, or is already being treated for a serious health condition, is asked to seek help from clinical staff at their local health centre.
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges reiterated this week that the risk of developing other serious or life-threatening conditions remained unchanged during the coronavirus pandemic.
The academy stated: “People must be fully confident that they can and should seek medical assistance if they are worried about themselves or a relative.”
The academy said the NHS had, understandably, undergone changes to accommodate the outbreak. That meant some routine or non-urgent appointments were likely to be postponed.
However, the changes did not apply to urgent or emergency illnesses, the management of poorly controlled or unstable long-term conditions or the provision of palliative and end-of-life care.
NHS Shetland interim medical director Brian Chittick said he understood patients were hesitant to add to the burden of doctors and nurses at this difficult time or that they were afraid of catching Covid-19.
Mr Chittick said: “We need to stress this very important message – please do call your health centre and speak to a member of the clinical team if something is worrying you.
“We don’t want serious conditions to be left untreated because this can lead to a serious medical situation that places your health or even your life at risk.”
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges message is:
• Seek NHS help through your GP, NHS 111, 999 or A&E if you or your family become acutely unwell and believe that you may be suffering from a serious or life threatening condition;
• Continue with ongoing treatments for all medical conditions and attend any hospital or GP appointments that are requested. Routine care is being carried out, where possible, through phone calls or video links so you will not be asked to attend unless absolutely necessary;
• Hospitals are safer than your own home if you are in need of emergency care. The reorganisation of services includes protecting patients who are being seen for conditions other than Covid-19.