GP surgeries to become designated coronavirus hubs among new measures
PUBLISHED: 08:41 08 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:49 08 April 2020
Designated centres are among new measures being put in place at some Norfolk GP practices as part of new arrangements to carry out face to face appointments in the coronavirus pandemic.
Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) announced changes would come into affect in the coming days ahead of the Easter bank holiday.
Among the arrangements include a number of GP surgeries and other NHS facilities acting as designated centres where people with coronavirus symptoms will be asked to attend for a prearranged appointment.
Read more: Five further deaths confirmed in Norfolk
In most cases, those with coronavirus will not need to see a doctor and should first follow NHS advice about self isolating.
In Norwich, 104 doctors and nurses have volunteered to staff a dedicated surgery for patients needing to be seen for coronavirus symptoms.
Patients will attend after speaking to a GP either from their usual practice or from a new virtual clinical triage hub. Upon arrival, a member of staff will invite them in for their consultation or will see them in special drive-through arrangements, which may include a drive through blood test.
Dr Scott Turner, a GP in South Norfolk, said: “We have set up a hub so we can continue to see patients with possible COVID-19 symptoms without these patients mixing with other patients. Some practices can do this on their own premises but we wanted to ensure we could do this for everyone. It is also the start of a model of care that we can use if there is a significant increase in workload or large numbers of our staff are off work because of the virus.”
Other practices will include “zoning” within their sites to ensure patients with coronavirus symptoms can be seen away from those who do not.
With surgeries open on Good Friday and Easter Monday for essential services only, the CCG urged people not to attend their surgery without checking first.
Read more: ‘People are heeding advice’: A&E visits drop at Norfolk hospital
Most appointments will be conducted over the telephone, through video consultation or online or patients may be asked to travel to a different surgery
Dr Anoop Dhesi, the chair of NHS Norfolk and Waveney NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Your local GP practice is putting in place ways to separate people with coronavirus symptoms from those who do not. This will help keep everyone safe and ensure our GP practices have greater resilience to deal with the workload that Coronavirus is bringing now, and in the weeks ahead.
“These arrangements might mean you have to travel further than normal to see a doctor, and we thank our patients for their understanding and support in these unusual times.”
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