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Changes to routine services

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Changes to routine services

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, all NHS organisations have been directed to review planned or routine services to ensure capacity is created to protect NHS services and treat people with COVID-19 as well as complying with HM Government social distancing guidelines.


Help and support from a GP

If you need to contact a GP, do not go into the surgery in person.

You can:

Your GP surgery will then give you advice about what to do.

A phone or video call with a GP, nurse or other healthcare professional may be booked for you.

You'll only be asked to visit the surgery if absolutely necessary.

Your GP surgery may be very busy at the moment and you may have to wait longer than usual to speak to someone if it's not urgent.

Online services and apps

If you're registered with a GP surgery, you can use online services and apps that may allow you to:

  • order repeat prescriptions
  • see parts of your health record, including test results
  • book, check or cancel appointments

You may not be able to book appointments at the moment. Please check your GP surgery's website for how to contact staff (find your GP surgery to get its website details).

If you can book an appointment, it is likely to be a phone or video appointment.

Find out how to start using online services.


GP services and other primary care settings such as Walk-in Centres and Minor Injury/Illness Units represent the first line for many members of the public when they have a health need. However, as directed by NHS England, all GP practices and walk in services have now moved to a system of teletriage. In practice, this means that people will be assessed via a telephone or online consultation prior to being advised on what to do next.

Patients who are assessed as requiring a face to face consultation will be offered one at their own or another GP practice. Appointments will also be available at existing walk in facilities following clinical assessment.

The GP Extended Access Scheme which provides face to face appointments outside core hours has been suspended as it is not possible to resource this service during the pandemic.

All planned (elective) surgery has been postponed to help create capacity within Arrowe Park Hospital. Outpatient appointments that are usually delivered face to face have moved to either a telephone or on line consultation, face to face appointments will be available in clinically critical circumstances.
Urgent care services such as A&E continue to operate, although people should consider contacting primary care services or NHS 111 if their condition is not urgent or life threatening.

Some services provided by Wirral Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust have been either suspended or partially suspended to help release staff to support the response to the pandemic. Details of services impacted can be found here

People with severe mental ill-health continue to be supported by the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership (CWP) NHS Foundation Trusts community mental health teams. Service users are accessing help and support via telephone or video-conference where possible, and receive home visits if required and in line with social distancing guidance. People requiring inpatient care are being admitted and discharged as usual. CWP’s respite centre for people with learning disabilities and their family/carers (Thorn Heys) has temporarily closed. Alternative support is being provided to families on a case by case basis.

The team at Healthwatch Wirral are working hard on our key priorities during this challenging time, this includes:
* Providing advice and information to the public
* Alerting services to issues that could impact on the safety of people
* Supporting the system and wider community response to COVID-19
* Supporting communities who find it hardest to be heard or get the support they need

Please see bulletins below:


16th January 

2nd March

10th March

13th March

27th March

9th April

17th April

4th May

15th May 

8th June

30th June

1st July

10th July

14th August

24th September 

7th October

23rd October

27th November

18th December












Click here to view a number of frequently asked questions and answers that have been developed; these will be updated as services change. 

Members of the public should contact individual NHS providers for enquiries about their care and treatment.


If you have a dental issue during lockdown, it is important that you know how to access help when you need it.  All high street dental and orthodontic practices can give advice, guidance and prescriptions, which you can collect from your local pharmacy.

If you are in pain or in need of support and need help or advice, please telephone your dental practice in the usual way. If you are not registered with a dentist you can go to or call the dental helpline:

• Cheshire and Merseyside: 0161 476 9651

This may be because you have severe toothache or a dental infection, or you have noticed other changes inside your mouth such as a white or red patch, a lump or an ulcer that won’t heal. You will be assessed and given advice over the phone, which may result in a remote consultation with a dentist.

In addition, the Liverpool University Dental Hospital is also operating an Emergency Dental Care service for patients registered in Cheshire and Merseyside.
To access this service, please call the Dental Emergency Helpline:

o 0151 706 5307
o 0151 706 5309
Monday to Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm Saturday 8.30am-12noon

To support NHS services, it is important that you do not visit hospitals or doctors’ surgeries with dental problems.