RESIDENTS are being urged not to attend their doctor's surgery if they haven't already got a pre-booked appointment.

The Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group says it is continuing to operate its 'phone first' policy due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Patients are asked to ring their GPs, visit their websites, call NHS on 111 or use the NHS smartphone app to book an appointment.

They will then be offered an appointment via telephone, video consultation or in person.

The CCG's deputy accountable officer Daniel Doherty said: "GP practice staff have been working incredibly hard to ensure local people get the help that they need.

"For everyone’s safety, we are still asking patients to contact our GP practices remotely – and we have adapted really well to this new way of working – but if we feel it would be better to see a patient in person it is safe to do so.

"If you are waiting for a check-up, please be assured your practice will be in touch.

"Remember, if you are asked to come into a surgery for a face-to-face appointment, please wear a face covering.

"These measures are in place to keep you safe from infection during your visit to the surgery."