A GP surgery in Porth has cancelled all of its appointments and moved to emergencies only. The decision was taken with "immediate effect" due to Strep A and winter illnesses, and the practice has made the decision to cancel all routine face to face and telephone GP appointments.
A spokesperson for the GP surgery, Pont Newydd Medical Centre said on their Facebook page: "This is due to the unprecedented pressure we are currently experiencing due to Strep A and winter illness, where patient contact's have increased exponentially. We are able to deal with medical emergencies only at present and ask that you support our teams who are working incredibly hard.
"Nursing team and pharmacy team appointments are not affected by this decision. We will provide ongoing updates regarding re-instating our routine GP appointments in the New Year."
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As the National Health Service advises; most strep A infections are not serious and can be treated with antibiotics. But sometimes the infection can cause serious problems. This is called invasive group A strep (iGAS).
There have been several cases of people dying from the infection in the UK this year, as earlier this month it was announced that one youngster died after catching the sickness was a seven-year-old girl- Hanna Roap from Powys. Her father described her death, which occurred only 24 hours after contracting the bacterial illness and returning home from school with a minor cough, as "traumatising" and "devastating" for the family.
According to the UKHSA, there is no proof that a new strain is spreading, and the surge in cases is most likely caused by high levels of bacteria that are circulating and greater social contact. And as for other common bugs, it seems that other winter illnesses are also on the rise.
Dr Hilary Jones MBE, is an English general practitioner, presenter and writer on medical issues, and recently spoke out about the issue on ITV's Lorraine. He said: "Everyone's got a runny nose, sore throat, cough, there are lots of viruses circulating.
"People are talking about the 'tripledemic' which is not just the Covid pandemic, but it's also flu on top of that and it's also RSV - respiratory syncytial virus - the commonest reason for hospitalisations in infants. So, again, it's another respiratory virus, causes a nasty cough, cold and sometimes a fever. But all these symptoms overlap, so we don't know what we've got.
"With Covid you can do a test, with the flu you know if you've got the flu because you'll be bedbound, with RSV if your child has been having breathing difficulties as well as a fever then clearly you need to speak to a healthcare professional."
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