GPs in Cumbria are providing voluntary out-of-hours services, taking on patients registered in other practices and reissuing medications as part of efforts to support communities affected by flooding caused by Storm Desmond.
Out-of-hours group Cumbria Health on Call has co-ordinated GPs’ efforts to support the communities, facing extra number patients who have contracted diarrhoea and vomiting symptoms after trying to clean up their homes.
GPs have also been offering extra surgeries in Cockermouth and Wigton on Sunday.
The floods have left thousands without access to their homes and caused Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to cancel all but essential services.
Two GPs were also sent by boat to Glenridding on Monday to provide treatment for patients, after road access to the village was cut off by the storm.
Jude Rowley, administration and patient services manager at Station House Surgery in Kendal, one of the worst affected areas, told Pulse the town had been described by staff as a ‘war zone’.
However, she added: ‘It’s promoted fantastic cooperation between practices in Kendal. I came in yesterday morning, and the first thing was a phone-call from another practice, offering to see any of our patients if they couldn’t get across town. Obviously we reciprocated as well.’
GPC deputy chair Richard Vautrey praised the response of GPs and said: ‘It’s inspiring to see local GPs and their practice teams, as well as the many others in the emergency services, responding so quickly and effectively to help their patients at this time of crisis.
‘They are part of the community themselves and fully understand the physical and psychological impact the floods will have on their patients not just in the immediate crisis but over the coming weeks and months.
’That’s why it’s imperative that the wider NHS provides support for rural surgeries not just at times like this but for the long term.’