A GP surgery is working harder to treat patients after a number of staff were told to self-isolate earlier this week.

Staff at Brookside Group Practice in Lower Earley have been told to self-isolate as a precaution to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The surgery announced they are experiencing staff shortages this week as a result.

A statement on its website said: “We currently have a number of staff off sick and self-isolating. Please consider seeking medical advice from NHS 111 or your local pharmacy if appropriate. Thank you for bearing with us.”

Patients have been told to only seek medical advice if its urgent or to consider using the pharmacy.

The public response to the news has been largely positive for the centre, with one person saying: “Thank you for keeping us updated. I hope that your staff are all feeling better soon.”

Another resident echoed this and said: “Thank you for posting and letting your patients know this. It does help us understand.”

It comes after a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases near Reading.

The latest Public Health England figures, in the seven days to November 18 shows 51 people tested positive for the virus in Lower Earley north.

This was an increase of 35 cases (218.8%) from the previous week.

Over in Lower Earley south, 29 people tested positive for Covid-19, an increase of five cases from the previous week.

In Earley as a whole, 47 people tested positive for coronavirus. The case rate here is 472.8 per 100,000 people.

To compare, the case rate in Earley was 362.2 per 100,000 people a week previously showing an increase in people testing positive for the virus.

It comes at a time when GP surgeries are seeing “enormous pressure” in their services.

According to Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group “local GP’s are seeing 30 per cent rise in demand.”

A statement was put out to patients in late September, which said: “Our health services are under enormous pressure – local GP’s are seeing 30% rise in demand - but we are open and here if needed.

“Our GP’s still run an out of hours service for emergencies. You can help us and help yourself by making sure you get the right care, in the right place, at the right time appropriate for your needs. Please continue to be kind to our staff, socially distance where possible and wear a face mask in healthcare settings.”