People's concerns about coronavirus and a fear of being a burden on health services have led to a significant drop in the numbers of people seeking treatment in recent weeks.
GP practices have seen a reduction in contact from patients, while around one million fewer people have attended hospital Accident and Emergency departments nationwide this month compared to last April.
The risk is that if people with potentially serious conditions don’t seek help when they first notice symptoms, their condition can deteriorate and pose significant problems to their long-term health, or worse.
Dr Andy Brooks is a GP and the Clinical Chief Officer of the Frimley Collaborative, a partnership of NHS organisations responsible for funding and planning the majority of health services for 800,000 people, from Farnham in Surrey to Slough in Berkshire.
He said: “As local clinicians we want people in our communities to know that we are here for them and that if they suspect that something is wrong and they need to get checked urgently, they can and should still do that.
“Local health services have gone to great lengths to make sure that people can still attend appointments when they need to and that they can do so safely.
“The sooner a problem is discovered, the sooner it can be treated and the better the chances are of making a swift and complete recovery.
People may find that the process of accessing services is different to before the pandemic. All initial contact with GP surgeries is by phone or online. If someone has urgent care needs they can also call 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk.