PATIENTS are urged to continue to contact their medical practices by phone as lockdown restrictions ease.

The Ammonite Health Partnership, which offers services at Bridport Medical Centre, Maiden Newton and Tunnel Road, Beaminster, is asking patients to continue to contact them via phone instead of coming in for face-to-face appointments while the surgeries put safety measures in place.

The surgeries have all been open throughout the pandemic for telephone and online appointments.

Today, in a post on their Facebook page, a spokesman for Ammonite Bridport said: "You may have seen on the news that from Monday, May 17, doors at GP practices are ‘re-opening’.

"As you will know, our GP practices in west Dorset have been open throughout the pandemic, offering patients telephone and online appointments, with face-to-face consultations available to those who need them.

"We have always provided a service in-line with national requirements to keep patients safe, whilst Covid infection rates were high and before the vaccination was widespread. GP practices are now being encouraged to offer patients a choice of whether they would like a remote or face-to-face consultation.

"However, before we have more people coming into the surgery to see us in person, we need a bit of time to put in place measures to keep everyone safe. As we wait for further national guidance on doing that, we ask that patients continue to contact us by phone or online as you have been doing.

"We are facing unprecedented demands to our services and will need to continue to adjust how we use our clinicians’ time to best support our patients – particularly those who need us the most.

"We also need time to consider if we are able to continue to provide the Covid vaccination programme alongside additional face to face capacity at the surgery.

"We will keep you updated as soon as we are clear about how we can re-open our reception areas safely.

"Thank you for your support."