HEALTH officials are warning residents about a false text message which has been sent to some people stating that their GP practice has shut for 12 weeks.

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, changes have been made to how residents access healthcare services.

This is to help protect patients and staff from the risk of infection and to help manage increasing demand on services.

Patients will now be triaged over the phone or online and are not allowed to turn up to the practice.

However, all practices remain open and are not closed for 12 weeks.

Advice for all patients:

• Do not just turn up at your surgery - all Warrington practices have implemented a 'total triage' system. This means that you must first contact your practice via telephone or online prior to turning up. If you feel unwell, call your surgery or complete an online form on your surgery website called eConsult. They will ask you for information about your health concern. This is to help prioritise appointments for patients most in need and stop unnecessary visits to the surgery.

• Some GP practices may close their doors to prevent un-triaged patients entering the practice.

• Pre-booked face to face appointments or pre-booked telephone appointments will also be triaged. A member of our staff will contact you prior to your appointment.

• Do not visit your surgery for repeat prescriptions. Call your surgery and they will arrange to send them electronically to your chosen pharmacy.

A spokesperson for Warrington CCG said: "We are facing unprecedented challenges and our staff are working tirelessly to put in place national recommendations to keep patients and staff safe.

"We know this may cause inconvenience for some patients but we thank you for your co-operation and understanding at this challenging time."