GPs in South West London are urging residents to seek out medical attention if they need it, despite the ongoing quarantine measures amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The new campaign launched by some of SW London's most senior doctors follows evidence released by NHS England that showed four in ten people are too concerned about being a burden on the NHS to seek help from their GP.

A and E attendances have dropped by around half in less than two months, according to the data.

The figures showed that for the week ending April 19, around 7,500 people a day were turning to A and E departments.

The figure was around 14,000 at the start of March.

Merton GP and Chair of the South West London Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Andrew Murray said that current circumstances should not make people avoid seeking necessary medical attention and risk their problems becoming more severe:

"We know some people will be worried that by contacting their local surgery they’ll be putting extra strain on the NHS – but GPs want people to get in touch about significant health concerns before they get worse.

"Don’t wait to seek help, if you need advice from your GP contact your practice in the way you normally would. Ignoring problems can have serious consequences – now or in the future," he said.

People are being urged to contact their GP or the 111 service if they have urgent care needs – or 999 in emergencies - and to attend hospital if they are told they should.

GP practices will be open as normal this bank holiday from Friday, May 8, the campaign reminded residents.

The NHS is also reminding people that other vital services should be used as they normally would - such as cancer screening and care, immunisations, maternity appointments and mental health support.

Wandsworth GP Dr Nicola Jones reiterated her colleague's messages and described the options available: “GPs are working in different ways to support patients while reducing their need to travel – we can help with lots of issues over the phone or using video consultations.”

“If you do need to come to your practice or we need to send you to hospital for further tests, the NHS has made changes to ensure patients who don't have Covid-19 can access services safely.”

Kingston GP Dr Naz Jivani added: "Your GP practice is here for you if you are worried about you or your family’s health – for example if your child is unwell or you need help with managing a long term condition.

“It is vitally important that if people have serious conditions or concerns they seek help. This campaign is an important step in ensuring that people are encouraged to get the care they need when they need it.”

Cllr Piers Allen, Chair of the Adult Services, Health and Housing Committee for Richmond Council, meanwhile prasied NHS workers for their efforts so far during the crisis: “Over the past six weeks our NHS colleagues have worked tremendously hard at treating patients with Covid-19," he said.

"We want to remind everyone that despite this, the NHS remains open for business and has not closed its doors to non-Covid-19 patients.

"Obviously we need people to be sensible and utilise virtual services such as NHS111 online and call their GP in advance.

"However, if you or your family are unwell, you should seek medical advice – please do not sit back and wait until your symptoms get worse.”