GP practices across the UK are preparing sandbags and treating patients hit by the closure of NHS services as fierce storms rage across much of the country.
The Environment Agency has issued high to medium flood risk warnings across 40 counties, with North West Wales and South West England regions at the highest risk, prompting some practices to prepare for the worst.
Minfor Surgery in Barmouth, West Wales, has been treating patients for minor injuries after they were evacuated to a local leisure centre and many were cut-off from the local hospital.
Sean Langridge, practice manager, told Pulse: ‘Where people would usually go to a minor injuries department in Dolgellau from here, we have had patients in today pitching up here and we’ve had to offer them the minor injuries service here due to being cut off. The main road that we’d get to Dolgellau hospital was completely entrenched with water’
He added that: ‘Anyone that was on the campsite, it was completely flooded and they’ve been evacuated to the leisure centre, which is the evacuation place. And on the council estate, since about two o’clock this morning, the police have been knocking on doors to relocate people. There was some flooding down there, but it’s probably that the worst is still to come further in the day.’
Dr Peter Merrin, a GP in Perranporth, Cornwall and chair of Cornwall and Isle of Scilly LMC, said his practice, which is 50 metres from the beach, had narrowly avoided flooding at the last high tide but that the next peak would be the test.
He told Pulse: ‘We are preparing ourselves for worse later. We have sandbags though; we spent part of yesterday filling them on the beach.’
The flooding comes after practices in the South of England were badly hit before Christmas. The Riverside Kelsey surgery in Liss had to transfer staff to its sister practice, quarter of an hour away in Bordon. A notice on the practice website said: ‘[the surgery] is temporarily closed due to extensive flood damage caused on Christmas Eve which also involved contamination.’
While the Kingsclere practice in Newbury, North Hampshire had to suspend all regular appointments on Thursday while they dealt with flood damage, leaving a GP on standby to handle emergencies.
One GP – lucky enough to be at home in Cumbria – has begun an impromptu ‘flood watch’ on Twitter as she watches the water levels rise near her home.
Dr Arabella Onslow a GP in Cumbria, was holed up at her home on Friday as she was cut off from the mainland by peak tides.
She told Pulse: ‘We’re about to be cut off from mainland, but this time I am at home not an unbreachable distance away.’
Countdown to peak pic.twitter.com/ElUJCVQKQv
— Arabella Onslow (@DrBellyButton) January 3, 2014