How to book a COVID-19 test

Your GP Practice cannot assist you in booking a Covid-19 test and does not provide Covid-19 testing; this can only be done via the national online booking portal. Your GP Practice cannot advise you on whether or not your child or children are safe to return to school; this should be discussed with the school(s) concerned.

Please do not visit or make an appointment at your GP practice if you have any symptoms of Covid-19 (high temperature, new continuous cough, loss of taste and/or smell).

The Government is scaling up its testing capacity even further to 500,000 tests a day by the end of October, expanding its network of testing sites and laboratories, as well as investing in new testing technologies. Whilst this scaling up is happening, the service is currently very busy. We would ask anyone who tries to book a test and is unable to do so, or who is offered a location or time which is not convenient, to please wait a few hours and then try again.

Community Hubs offering support during COVID-19 outbreak

Hubs have been set up in each district of Lancashire to help support the people who need it most during the COVID-19 outbreak.


Need a sick note for COVID-19? Here’s what you need to do

People unable to work for more than seven days because of COVID-19 can obtain an isolation note through a new online service.

Isolation notes will provide employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to COVID-19, either because they have symptoms or they live with someone who has symptoms, and so cannot work.


Big White Wall: Free online mental health resource available to everyone on the Fylde Coast

A free mental health resource for people living with depression and other conditions is now available across the whole of Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre.

Big White Wall, which is available at, provides a clinically safe and anonymous online community providing peer to peer support, personal assessments and self-help courses for those who need it.

And thanks to NHS Blackpool and NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the service is now available to all people with a Fylde Coast postcode.

Dr Neil Hartley-Smith, a Blackpool GP and clinical adviser to the CCGs, said: “We are committed to supporting people living with mental health on the Fylde Coast by providing varied and high quality services for them to access.

“Big White Wall is a fantastic tool for people who are suffering as they can log in anonymously and express how they are feeling to a community of people who feel the same way.

“And for those who struggle to put how they feel into words, they can ‘draw a brick’ to express the difficulties they are facing, which many people find quite therapeutic and relieving.”

Big White Wall chief executive Henry Jones said: “Everyone has mental health and we believe everyone should be able to access support as and when they need it.

“We are delighted to form part of a joint strategy from NHS Fylde and Wyre and NHS Blackpool CCGs of delivering highly effective and easily accessible support for all Fylde Coast residents. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone to our community.”

The Big White Wall is constantly monitored by ‘wall guides’ who are on hand 24/7 and will intervene if members seem particularly low and at risk and provide personal support on a one-to-one basis.

Big White Wall also offers members the opportunity to take online tests to measure their anxiety or depression levels to set goals and track their progress.

Online courses with health professionals covering things like sleep problems, stopping smoking and anger management are also available.

For more information or to sign up to Big White Wall quickly, anonymously and free of charge, visit

Survey shows people on Fylde Coast have ‘good’ experience of GP practice

People living on the Fylde Coast have reported a ‘good’ experience of their GP surgery in an annual survey.

Of the 4,346 people who responded to the annual GP Patient Survey, about 85 per cent said they were happy with their practice, placing the area above the national average.

More than nine in 10 said they found the receptionist at their practice helpful, 82 per cent found their practice’s website easy to use and almost 90 per cent said healthcare professionals understood mental health needs where they existed.

The awareness of the availability of online services has also increased, more people have booked appointments, ordered repeat prescriptions and viewed their medical records via the internet.

However, 72 per cent of people said they hadn’t used any online services in the past 12 months, although this was an improvement on last year.

Dr Amanda Doyle OBE, chief clinical officer for NHS Fylde and Wyre and NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “People continue to report a generally high level of satisfaction with the family doctor services they have received in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre.

“This is testament to the hard work that goes on in surgeries all over the Fylde Coast, from all the practice teams.

“However there are areas where people have said they are not completely satisfied, such as how long it can take to receive care when GP practices are closed and support for people with long-term conditions, and we will work with our colleagues to make improvements.”

The GP Patient Survey reflects on people’s experience of healthcare services provided by GP surgeries, including access to GPs, making appointments, the quality of care received from GPs and practice nurses, ease of use of online services and satisfaction of out-of-hours NHS services.

The survey is run independently by Ipsos Mori and sent to more than a million people at random across the UK. On the Fylde Coast, 37 per cent of the 11,861 surveys sent out were returned.

Other key findings of the survey included more than seven in 10 said it was very or fairly easy to get through to someone at their GP surgery on the phone, 70 per cent also rated the overall experience of making an appointment as good and nine in 10 said their healthcare professional was good at listening to them.

Launch of GP networks an ‘endorsement of what we’ve been doing for years’

NHS England has announced an exciting new way of working that will improve the way family doctor services work together – the first major service change to primary care in a generation.

All GP practices now work together with their neighbouring surgeries as part of ‘primary care networks’, allowing them to join forces to target their own unique priorities and provide better services in the community.

But for people living on the Fylde Coast, this is nothing new. Practices in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre have been working together for several years now with some real improvements to health and wellbeing already being seen as a result.

Dr Amanda Doyle OBE, chief clinical officer for NHS Blackpool and NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “The national move towards primary care networks is a real endorsement of what we have been doing here for some years now.

“Practices are working together and involving their communities in meaningful discussions to really transform the way services are delivered at a local level.”

In Fleetwood, the primary care network has brought together general practice, community nursing, drug and alcohol and many other services to work in a more integrated way, which has helped improve health and wellbeing locally.

The town, which has a population of about 30,000, has significant health inequalities and traditionally poor health outcomes. The prevalence for all major long-term conditions is significantly above national averages and there are extremely high rates of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

Dr Mark Spencer, from the Mount View Practice, said: “Just five years ago we faced a severe GP recruitment and retention crisis with only eight GPs remaining from what would normally be at least 16 across the town. There was a genuine risk of collapse of general practice in Fleetwood.

“However through the three GP practices working together that situation has been completely turned around and there has also been significant integration across all primary care services, as well as genuine resident empowerment and a vibrant social prescribing pathway via Healthier Fleetwood.

“Developing a primary care network in Fleetwood has allowed us to move away from the traditional medical model of delivering care to one that is resident-led, socially driven and focused as much on wellness as it is on managing illness.”

The Blackpool Central West primary care network consists of four GP practices situated primarily just behind the promenade. The area has a high level of patients with complex health needs and a higher number of patients who regularly move around.

In order to improve care for some of those most complex patients, the practices joined forces to develop neighbourhood care teams consisting of community matrons, district nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, wellbeing workers, social workers and mental health specialists.

This allowed for regular multidisciplinary team meetings to decide the best way to look after some of the most complex patients and better monitoring of their long-term conditions, as well as timely referrals to other services when required.

The improvements have been clear for all to see, including local patients. Debra Scott is a member of the patient participation group (PPG) at Adelaide Street Family Practice. She said: “It’s great to hear about all the good work being done by our practice and the others in our area.

“Their joining forces and working together can only be a good thing for patients in Blackpool.”

For more information on primary care networks nationally, visit

Cancer patients group spearheads Blackpool Vic transport directory

People relying on public transport to get to Blackpool Victoria Hospital can take advantage of a new directory, thanks to local volunteers.

The directory includes the routes and times of all bus services that go to the hospital and is available at all the GP surgeries in Lytham and Fleetwood, as well as libraries and community centres in those areas.

It was created to improve awareness of the many bus services which travel to the hospital, after concerns that a lack of understanding was causing people on the Fylde Coast to miss appointments at the hospital, in particular those referred for an initial cancer appointment.

The Patient Cancer Care Improvement (PCCI) Group, made up of people who have experienced Fylde Coast cancer services, came up with the idea for the directory and pulled together the initial content, before partnering with Blackpool Transport which provided up-to-date information and funded printing and design costs.

David Baxter, chair of the PCCI Group, said: “We were concerned at the alarming rate of initial cancer appointments being missed at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

“While there are a number of reasons people may miss these appointments, we felt there was something we could do to put public transport information in one easy place to make things as simple as possible.

“Obviously this directory can be used by anyone, not just those attending for cancer-related appointments, so this should be of great help to lots of people on the Fylde Coast. We are very grateful to Blackpool Transport for really getting behind this piece of work and providing some vital funding.”

Sally Shaw, director of people and stakeholders at Blackpool Transport, said: “When we were approached by the PCCI Group we felt that there was a significant need for us to assist in removing potential barriers and supporting those who travel with us to their hospital appointments.

“Simplifying and condensing the information that people needed to travel was our key focus within the guide, and we were hopeful that this would help those who may not be fully confident in their journeys.

“We are fully committed to our social responsibilities throughout the Fylde Coast and are very happy to have the opportunity to get involved in an effort to decrease the number of missed appointments.”

Thornton residents’ chance to share views with the NHS

People living on the Fylde Coast are being given the chance to share their views on the NHS at a drop-in session at Thornton library in Thornton, on 11 June 2019 between 10 am and noon.

The two Fylde Coast Clinical Commissioning Groups, which are the organisations that ‘buy’ and plan health services in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, are inviting residents to attend a ‘Your Voice’ session in St Annes to share any compliments, comments or complaints that they may have about local NHS services.

The Your Voice sessions have been a popular mechanism for people to share their views in Blackpool for some time and in the spirit of working more closely across the whole Fylde Coast the sessions have been arranged all over the Fylde coast. One of the drop-in sessions will be held in each of the ten established neighbourhoods from Lytham St Annes to Knott End.

The NHS has also joined forces with Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council to hold the meetings in local libraries giving people easier access.

If you are unable to attend one of these planned sessions but would like to share your views on local services you can do so via the CCG’s website at:

Any queries contact the CCG communications and engagement team on 01253 956821.

Have your say on seven updated NHS policies

People living across the Fylde Coast have been invited to have their say on seven proposed updated NHS policies, which have been brought into line with national policy following instruction from NHS England.

NHS England has recently introduced mandatory guidance for a range of surgical procedures which clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) – the organisations which plan and buy health and care services – are expected to adopt as clinical policies.

Where clinical policies already exist, the CCGs need to align them with the new guidance. Seven existing policies held by the CCGs on the Fylde Coast need to be amended to align with the NHS England guidance. 

It comes as part of work by the NHS across Lancashire to standardise policies to ensure a consistent and fair approach; update current policies in accordance with national guidelines and best clinical practice; and to make sure it is using its limited resources to maximum effect.

The CCGs across Lancashire and South Cumbria wish to inform patients and members of the public about these new policies and to invite them to consider if the introduction of these policies will have an adverse effect on patients or groups of patients.  If this is the case, there may be something the CCGs can do to minimise the impact of this.

To view the policies and have their say, people can visit

The updated policies are:

  • Surgical treatment of carpel tunnel syndrome (pressure on a nerve in the wrist causing tingling, numbness and pain in the hand and fingers)
  • Tonsillectomy/adeno-tonsillectomy (removal of tonsils)
  • Surgical release of trigger finger (swelling of tendons causing difficulty moving the finger)
  • Management of otitis media with effusion (fluid build-up in the middle ear) using grommets
  • Breast reduction surgery
  • Surgical management of gynaecomastia (enlarged male breasts)
  • Removal of benign skin lesions

Dr Amanda Doyle OBE, chief clinical officer for NHS Blackpool and NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “CCGs must take account of the latest guidance when formulating their commissioning polices.  In this instance NHS England has issued the latest guidance on these procedures.  We need to ensure they are introduced in an open, fair and transparent manner.

“A key role for the CCG is to inform residents of these changes and to give them an opportunity to raise any concerns.

“I would encourage any resident with an interest in these policies to visit the CCG website and have their say.”

Comments on the policies will close on Monday 1 July 2019.

Your chance to share views with the NHS

Fylde Coast residents are being given the chance to share their views on the NHS through a series of drop-in sessions throughout the year with the first chance this week.

The two Fylde Coast clinical commissioning groups the organisations that ‘buy’ and plan health services in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, are inviting residents to attend any one of 12 ‘Your Voice’ sessions to share any compliments, comments or complaints that they may have about local NHS services.

The sessions are an ideal opportunity to provide feedback on a recent experience of an NHS service or give views on the CCG’s plans and priorities with views shared with commissioners during their decision making and with quality teams to monitor any issues patients may have. They operate on a drop-in basis so there is no need to make an appointment.

The NHS has also joined forces with Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council to hold the meetings in local libraries giving people easier access.

If you have anything you’d like to say about health services in your area simply visit one of the below locations at the specified time:

  • Wednesday 23 January, 1pm-3pm, Layton Library Blackpool.
  • Tuesday 12 February, 10.30am-2pm, Fleetwood Library, Fleetwood.
  • Tuesday 12 March, 10am-12pm, Blackpool Central Library, Blackpool.
  • Tuesday 9 April, 1pm-3pm, St Annes Library – (To be confirmed, please check website before attending).
  • Tuesday 14 May, 1pm-3pm, Moor Park Library, Blackpool.
  • Tuesday 11 June, 10am-12pm, Thornton Library.
  • Wednesday 10 July, 10am-12pm, Anchorsholme Library, Blackpool.
  • Wednesday 14 August, 2pm-4pm, Kirkham Library
  • Tuesday 10 September, 10am-12pm, Garstang Library
  • Tuesday 10 October, 1pm-3pm, Palatine Library, Blackpool.
  • Tuesday 12 November, 10am-12pm, Knott End Library
  • Tuesday 10 December, 1pm-3pm, Central Library, Blackpool.

Dr Amanda Doyle OBE, a local GP and chief clinical officer for both NHS Blackpool and NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “Good or bad, we really value the views of residents and want to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to share theirs with us. The Your Voice sessions are an ideal opportunity to talk face-to-face with a member of our engagement team.

“All of the views and experiences gathered will help us to make sure that residents living in all neighbourhoods receive services of the highest standard, now and in the future.”

If you are unable to attend one of these planned sessions but would like to share your views on local services you can do so via the CCG’s website at: