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RENFREWSHIRE residents suffering from potential Covid-19 symptoms will now be directed to a community assessment centre (CAC) in Linwood.

The site has been set up at the town’s health centre to maximise the number of symptomatic people who can be cared for in the community, reserving hospitals for those with the most serious illnesses.

It also means the potential exposure of patients visiting GP practices to Covid-19 will be minimised and practitioners can get on with their usual day-to-day role.

Previously, people in Renfrewshire were having to travel almost 20 miles to Greenock Health Centre to be assessed.

The Linwood centre has the capacity to care for around 100 patients a day across four clinical rooms and is operating from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Documents presented to Renfrewshire Council’s emergencies board this week say there is scope to increase the number of rooms available to five and to review operating times if demand increases.

The new CACs, which are staffed by GPs and advanced nurse practitioners, mean patients should no longer phone their GP if they are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus.

They should instead refer to the NHS Inform website or call NHS 24 on 111 if their symptoms worsen.

If further clinical advice is required, NHS 24 will refer patients to a medic who will provide a full telephone assessment and, if necessary, offer an appointment at the Linwood centre.

Patients attending will receive treatment plans, including medication, and be told to self-isolate.

If they need to go to hospital, this will be arranged at the centre.

Dr Kerri Neylon, deputy medical director for primary care at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “The creation of the CACs will provide important protection for vulnerable patients who require non Covid-19 related care and will support our 235 GP practices to provide this.

“In anticipation of increasing case numbers, we now have a pathway that can be effectively scaled up to manage growing demand on services across Greater Glasgow and Clyde.”

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