West Norfolk coronavirus: GP cancels appointments while nearby town is deserted
PUBLISHED: 13:33 12 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:39 13 March 2020
A GP surgery has stopped booking appointments to prepare for the onset of coronavirus.
Watlington Medical Centre, near King's Lynn, said patients with appointments already booked could be dealt with over the phone.
In a statement, it said: 'We have taken the decision to change our appointment system to ensure that we are able to look after our patients in the safest possible way. We are following the advice from NHS England and Public Health England.
'We have suspended our appointment system for future bookings in order to ensure that we are prepared.
'If you do visit the surgery, please do not be alarmed if the clinician that you are seeing is wearing a mask or taking other precautions.'
The health centre's website adds those who believe they may be suffering the virus should not visit the surgery, on Rowan Close, which serves 6,000 patients.
'This is for the protection of our most vulnerable patients,' it goes on. 'We do not have any way of testing for the virus and it could lead to the entire surgery having to close.
'If you are concerned about coronavirus, please see the NHS 111 page https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19.'
The post adds: 'The situation is changing quickly.' Other surgeries across the area were operating normally.
In nearby Lynn, the main shopping streets were noticeably quieter than usual, while there were numerous empty spaces at centre car parks.
Freebridge Community Housing, one of the larger employers in the town centre, said it was operating as normal from its base on , with no staff working at home.
Birgit Lenton, its director of corporate service and culture, said: 'We are keeping a watch on the advice being provided by the government in respect of the coronavirus. As things stand we continue to conduct business as usual but are making plans for the expected move from the containment phase.'
At Feltwell, the GP surgery was open as normal after being closed for what was described as 'a short period' yesterday morning for a deep clean,which it said 'was just a precautionary measure'.