HEALTH chiefs are asking patients for their understanding and patience when trying to book an appointment.

Dr Andrew Lee, executive director for primary care and population health at NHS Vale of York CCGsaid: “There is a very high demand on appointments at the present time. Many of our practices are delivering appointment volumes back at or close to pre-Covid levels.

“Unfortunately, it is not easy for practices to boost the number of appointments available due to the increased time needed in between appointments to allow for enhanced cleaning processes and to manage social distancing in waiting areas to keep them safe for patients and staff.

“In addition, practices are reporting that some members of staff are self-isolating with their families due to coronavirus which is having a knock-on effect on staffing levels.

“We are continuing to strongly encourage people with a health concern to contact their GP practice online, via the NHS App or by telephone for an appointment. They will then be triaged into either a telephone, video or face-to-face appointment depending on what is most suitable for them. There are also other good sources of health advice such as local chemists and NHS 111 who may be able to help with minor illnesses.

“We appreciate it must be frustrating for patients and ask for their understanding and continued patience at this difficult time."