FACE-to-face appointments at several Oxfordshire GP surgeries have been cancelled amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Patients have been told that doctors will instead speak to them on the phone, and will only see them in person if they feel it is absolutely necessary.

St Clements Surgery, in East Oxford, advised patients of the changes this morning.

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The message, seen by the Oxford Mail, said: "If you have a routine appointment today or in the near future, PLEASE DO NOT COME TO THE SURGERY.

"We are suspending all face to face appointments.

"If you have an appointment booked you will receive a phone call on the day instead."

Woodstock Surgery in West Oxfordshire enforced similar measures yesterday. 

NHS Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said the new telephone triage system is being introduced to 'significantly reduce the footfall through GP surgeries to reduce the risk of spreading the virus'.

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It did not state if the policy applied to all GP surgeries in the county, nor if the measures are coming into force with immediate effect.

The CCG has been contacted for clarification.

A statement on its website said: "All GP appointments will initially be on the telephone. 

"If you already have an appointment booked with a GP, please do not go to the surgery – please stay at home and the doctor will call you at the allocated time.

"The GP will do all they can to help you over the phone – however, should they feel the need to see you face to face for an examination, you will be invited to the surgery for review.

"Nursing appointments will continue as planned but please consider the national guidance before visiting the practice."