Cornwall doctors say surgery where coronavirus patients are treated is safe for the public to visit

  • WATCH: Kathy Wardle's full report on how GP surgeries in the West Country are continuing to operate during the pandemic

A GP surgery in Cornwall which has a specific Covid-19 wing to help treat patients during the pandemic, is urging the public it's safe to visit.

St Clare Medical Centre in Penzance has sectioned off part of the practice to only treat patients with coronavirus. Treatment rooms undergo a deep clean every day to reduce any risk of contamination or spread of the virus.

Matthew Boulter is a doctor at the surgery and told ITV West Country he has seen a drop in the number of patients going to see their GP.

He said: "We're trying to reassure people that it is still a safe environment to come in to and we're going to extraordinary lengths to separate patients.

"Part of that is the deep cleaning that we do every single day to keep the place as spotlessly clean and germ free as we can."

Professional cleaners spray down all surfaces to make the surgery safe. Credit: ITV News West Country

Converting part of the practice into a Covid wing is one of the ways the surgery has adapted to the pandemic.

Rooms are sectioned off for doctors to prepare to treat coronavirus patients and then to actually treat them.

Danielle, one of the professional cleaners working there, said: "The aim is to make areas safe for everyone so that other patients and staff at St Clare's are safe to go in."

This room is where doctors can kit up in their full PPE before treating patients with suspected coronavirus in the room next door. Credit: ITV News West Country

Extra staff have been called in, including volunteers from the Cornish Pirates rugby team, to help with security.

Team mates have been taking the temperature of every patient at the front door of the surgery to avoid the spread of the virus and minimise the risk to patients.

In Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire, many GP surgeries have been using drive-thru appointments to make sure people get to see their doctors throughout the pandemic.

They are specifically for people who have symptoms of coronavirus or who live in the same household as someone showing them.

The contactless system involves patients driving to a marquee that is set up outside the surgery and receiving treatment through their car window.

A mobile visiting service is in place for people who don't have a car and are too unwell to attend a drive-thru appointment.

Drive-thru GP appointments are being used in parts of the region to make sure people who may have the virus can still see their GP for other things. Credit: ITV West Country

Video calls have also been used by surgeries across the region.

Although not a new initiative, numbers have risen significantly in recent weeks since the start of the outbreak.

Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG has reported the number of online appointments has risen from around 1,000 per week at the beginning of 2020 to nearly 3,000 a week in April.

People who need to see a doctor are being reminded that surgeries are still open, despite having to find new ways of operating.

Patients in need of care or treatment should contact their practice by phone when looking to book an appointment, and not visit in person.