WALK-IN centres in Bury and Prestwich will remain shut until further notice – but only one will be used as a 24-hour coronavirus hub.

Patients are still being seen at Moorgate Primary Care Centre but members of the public can no longer access services by walking in.

Prestwich walk-in centre is now being used as a round-the-clock COVID Management Service.

But Dr Jeff Schryer, chair of Bury’s clinical commissioning group (CCG), said the health authority is trying to keep people with COVID-19 away from the Moorgate site in Bury town centre.

He said: “There has been a tremendous amount of change and reorganisation. There’s a reconfiguration of Fairfield General Hospital going on with a much greater emphasis on having more critical care facilities.

“There’s a massive training programme going on to reallocate staff to front line sort of work. But this means we have stepped down some other activities.

“There’s the COVID management centre that’s providing a very valuable service. We want to keep as many people in the community as we can, but it also takes some pressure off the hospital.

“We’re looking to provide some normal care and GP services that are protected from people who have COVID.

“We’re trying to keep Moorgate as a site for people who don’t have COVID. Moorgate doesn’t accept walk-in, but they are still seeing patients.”

All GP practices are still open across the borough but with reduced staff numbers.

Patients are asked not to visit practices but to call their GPs instead or book a telephone consultation online.

Dr Schryer explained that the CCG is in discussions with GP practices to determine their priorities during the coronavirus crisis.

He said: “Our GP practices are open. They’re offering a more limited type of service and patients have to be triaged.

“Many of our GPs are working from home. We’re providing some of the services we’d usually have provided but doing them in a different way.

“There’s some thought going on about what the priorities for GPs are at moment, such as immunisations.

“The last thing we want is to get through the COVID pandemic and find we have an epidemic of child diseases.”

Despite a limited capacity for testing, people in care homes are being tested for coronavirus.

But Dr Schryer said authorities want front line staff to be tested too so that they can get back to work as soon as possible.

He said: “We have a testing service now for people who are in nursing homes and residential homes that might have COVID. Our next priority is to provide testing for front line staff.

“Morale is very high. There’s a real team spirit coming together to support the people of Bury.

“Our main message is to our public. You’ve done a fantastic job. People have been really sensitive in dealing with primary care and we want people to keep to the rules outlined by the Prime Minister. Stay at home if you possibly can. Allow the NHS the space to respond to the COVID epidemic.”

In the first instance patients are encouraged to seek advice online via www.111.nhs.uk, or ring their GP practices or NHS 111.

People should continue to use www.111.nhs.uk in the first instance if they have any health concerns.