How to get medical support during the corona lockdown  

Illustration shows a young person having a phone conversation with their doctor

I’m worried about accessing medical care during lockdown

Thanks to corona, everything is up in the air right now, including how we access vital medical care. This can be a scary thought and it might be causing you some anxiety. But in the UK we’re lucky to have a medical system in place that’s working hard to ensure everyone who needs medical care, gets it.

Read on to find out how to get the help you need – we’ll be covering everything from what to do if you think you have an STI to how to get hold of medication when self-isolating.   

Can I still go to my GP surgery?

Because of social distancing, GPs are doing as many appointments over the phone as possible. If you need to speak to a doctor, ring your surgery and request a call back. 

For nursing appointments and things that require face to face attention, you can attend your surgery (so long as you don’t have corona symptoms). In these cases make sure to follow the usual advice – leave at least two meters between you and anyone else, wash your hands regularly and don’t touch your face.  

What if I think I might have coronavirus? 

If you are experiencing mild Corona symptoms, it is important you self isolate and stay at home. For general up-to-date advice and what to do if your symptoms get worse, you can use the online 111 Corona service

I have a hospital appointment – can I still go? 

This all depends on how urgent your appointment is. Many non-urgent appointments are being postponed because of the current situation. You may receive a letter about this but it’s worth contacting your hospital to double-check the situation before going. 

Remember, if you have any corona symptoms, do not go to hospital, as this could put vulnerable people at risk. Instead, ring your hospital and check what the best course of action is. 

Can I still go to the dentist? 

All routine check-ups and non-urgent dental appointments are postponed until the lockdown is lifted. If you’re struggling with your teeth, you can still call your dentist for advice on how to cope at home. 

For emergency issues and problems you can’t manage at home, you will still be able to see your dentist, provided you don’t have corona symptoms. If you do have corona symptoms, you will be referred to a special urgent dental care centre.   

Do I need to stock up on medication? 

There are currently no shortages of medication in the UK and medical officials are working hard to ensure this doesn’t change. It is important not to stockpile as it can impact the supply for other people. Let’s learn from what happened when everyone started stashing monumental amounts of toilet roll!  

If however, you’re one of those people considered high risk, it is recommended you have a sufficient stock of medication in case you are forced to stay at home. 

How can I get hold of my medication if I’m self-isolating? 

You can order repeat prescriptions online or by calling your GP surgery – they will send an electronic prescription to your local pharmacy. If you’re not able to collect your medication because you’re unwell or self-isolating, the best option is to ask a friend or family member to collect it on your behalf. Just remember to let the doctor or surgery staff know that someone will be collecting it for you. 

If this is not possible, you can contact your pharmacy and ask them to find a volunteer able to deliver to you at home. 

Can I still get an abortion? 

Yes. Temporary changes to the rules means anyone in England who needs an abortion can now take the pills required at home rather than going to a clinic. If you need an abortion, you can find your local ‘pregnancy termination service’ on this NHS website. After a telephone or video consultation with a doctor, the pills will be sent to you in the post.

Wales and Scotland are considering introducing temporary changes to allow the same access to abortion pills. The health minister is currently considering what this will mean for Northern Ireland, where the new law on abortion rights were due to come into practice in April. 

What do I do if I think I’ve got an STI? 

Because of new rules about social distancing, sexual health clinics are providing as much support as possible over the phone, rather than in person. If you’re in need of support, call your local sexual health clinic, which can be found on this NHS website. They will be able to help by posting out STI test kits and by giving you up to date advice in terms of treatment.  

For further information, including what to do if you think you’re at risk of contracting HIV and how to find support if you’ve been raped or sexually attacked, please take a look at this NHS info. If you feel unsafe or need support with this, contact The Mix for free and confidential help and advice.

Some useful references:

Information from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee: https://psnc.org.uk/our-news/covid-19-update-medicines-delivery-service-111-online-cpcs-referrals/ 

Information from Integrated Contraception and Sexual Health Services: https://www.icash.nhs.uk/

Information from the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV: https://www.icash.nhs.uk/docs/default-source/default-document-library/sex-social-distancing-covid19—bashh.pdf?sfvrsn=243ab575_2 

Information from the British Dental Association: https://bda.org/advice/Coronavirus/Pages/faqs.aspx

I’m still feeling worried

Seeking support for any of these issues can be worrying, so it’s completely understandable if you feel especially anxious about it at the moment. But remember, you don’t need to do it alone. If you need support or advice on seeking medical help, or on anything else, The Mix are here to listen and to help you find the most useful information. Head here to speak to our team today.

Next Steps

  • Brook provides free sexual health and wellbeing services for young people in the UK. Brook's services include local clinics and online digital sex and relationships tool.
  • FPA give sexual health advice. For Northern Ireland helpline call 0345 122 8687.
  • If you're under 25 and would like free confidential telephone counselling from The Mix to help you figure things out complete this form and we'll call you to arrange your first session.
  • Rape Crisis offers support and advice to victims of rape and sexual assault, no matter how long ago the attack was. 0808 802 99 99
  • Solace Women's Aid find creative and innovative ways to support thousands of women, children and young people each year from prevention and crisis to recovery and independence.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Olivia Capadose

Updated on 02-Apr-2020

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