With the Omicron variant of Covid-19 putting strain on all parts of healthcare, including GP, dental, pharmacy and optometry, Hywel Dda University Health Board has provided some guidance.

If people across Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire are asked to attend a GP surgery, they should do so alone and with a face mask on.

There are many online systems for practices, such as E-Consult or Ask My GP, to allow patients to ask non-urgent questions about health.

My Health Online remains an online 24/7 option for ordering repeat medication; designed for patient convenience and especially useful during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, telephone triage systems are in place in most surgeries to ensure that a patient can speak to a clinical member of staff.

If a patient must be seen in person, the surgery will make an appointment with the most appropriate healthcare professional for their need.

Furthermore, the Omicron variant has put strain on community pharmacies, dentists and optometrists.

A spokesperson from the health board said: “We continue to work with all of our Primary Care services to make sure that we are able to provide timely and appropriate care. Staff are working very hard to try to deliver the services that patients can normally expect to receive from them.”

Jill Paterson, director of primary care, community and long term care for Hywel Dda University Health Board, added: “We wish to reassure patients that GP services are still available to you. When you contact your practice, you will speak to the most appropriate person for your condition and if you need be seen in person, you will be given an appointment at the practice.

“It may take longer than normal to get through on the phone and you may wish to contact your surgery online.

“Many conditions can be treated over the phone with advice and if required, a prescription can be issued to your nominated pharmacy. Please do not put off seeking treatment.

“Pharmacies offer a wide range of services including treatment for minor ailments. Please be aware that pharmacies are also operating at capacity and you may have to wait longer than usual.”

To find out what services your community pharmacy offers, visit https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/services-and-teams/pharmacy/