DELAYS in issuing prescriptions are leaving patients suffering without medication for up to six days - making them more vulnerable to coronavirus.

Under-pressure GPs, inundated with patients, are being forced to diagnose over the telephone, and appear to be struggling to cope in the crisis.

Woodstock Road Pharmacy, in North Oxford, is currently warning patients to expect a six day wait for prescriptions to be issued.

One north Oxford man, who asked not to be named, was prescribed antibiotics for a severe chest infection in an emergency appointment on Thursday - and is tonight still waiting for the prescription to be transferred to a pharmacy.

Read more: Latest Oxfordshire coronavirus news

He said: "I have been suffering from a severe chest infection which has left me struggling to breath. I was told by another GP it would make fighting off coronavirus much harder, endangering my life and the lives of those around me.

"An emergency appointment was offered and a prescription issued, which I was warned would take 24 hours. However, it is still unavailable - and I was told by the pharmacy it could take another two days.

"I have been left me gasping for air, unable to breath, at times, and extremely worried. Others must be in a similar situation."

"GPs are under intolerable stress, and are beyond blame. They are keeping people alive - but need urgent support as the system seems to be crumbling."

The practice was contacted and admitted the prescription had not yet been sent.

A GP from a neighbouring health authority has told the Oxford Mail that doctors are struggling to keep up and are now being forced to triage coronavirus patients with inadequate protective equipment, saying: "Our masks are paper thin, offer little protection and have an expiry date of 2016!

"Of course we are worried. Catching this virus now seems an inevitability. The big worry is for our own families."

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