"Unsustainable demand" in recent weeks has seen a south Norfolk surgery warn patients may be referred elsewhere.

The Chet Valley Medical Practice, on George Lane, Loddon, announced they have implemented a winter pressures plan for the months ahead after high demand in recent weeks.

The plan came into force on Monday, December 6, with practice bosses saying it will keep patients and staff safe over the winter.

A spokesperson for the practice said: "Due to unsustainable levels of demand, we have made the difficult decision to implement a winter pressures plan.

"This plan is vital to ensure safe clinical practice, protect you - our patients, and our staff.

"We will be working with local providers to ensure access to appropriate services."

The winter pressures plan will mean on the day appointments can only be booked on a Monday, or the day after a bank holiday.

The spokesperson added: "Monday or the day after a bank holiday is the busiest day in the practice.

"The British Medical Association have recommended that doctors should complete 25 patient contacts per day per clinician.

"Our duty doctor regularly completes more than 70 consultations on a Monday."

The plan also includes empowering the reception team to become care navigators and signpost patients to the most appropriate clinician.

This may not always be a doctor and can, on occasion, be a service outside the practice.

Patients may also be referred to the clinical pharmacy consultation scheme, which would see them directed to neighbouring pharmacies for a free NHS consultation in a private room.

Offered on an appointment basis, the pharmacist can assist with a number of conditions, including colds, congestion, hay fever, earache, pain and skin conditions.

Alternatively, patients could be referred to the 111 service, or the walk-in centre in Norwich, which is open from 7am until 9pm, seven days a week.

The spokesperson added: "The practice would like to offer reassurance that high-risk clinical patients will always be offered a triage call with the duty doctor.

"We thank you for your understanding and support at this difficult time."