The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the NHS in Derbyshire. General practice is facing daily challenges and radically having to change how it looks after patients following the Government’s announcement yesterday.
To summarise the advice from Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 16th March 2020.
- should avoid gatherings and crowded places, such as pubs, clubs and theatres
- should work from home if they can
- should avoid all “unnecessary” visits to friends and relatives in care homes
By next weekend, those with the most serious health conditions must be “largely shielded from social contact for around 12 weeks” by practicing social distancing. Those high risk conditions are:
- People aged > 70
- People <70 with underlying health condition (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds including pregnant women)
- A full list of high risk conditions can be found by visiting www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults
If a person in a household has a persistent cough or fever, everyone living there must stay at home for 14 days. NHSE Coronavirus page has reflected these changes. If you live alone the self-isolation period remains at 7 days.
For the current measures to work and protect NHS services, in the short and long term, we need the general public to work with us on this, by:
- Following the guidance above
- Only using the NHS (GPs and/or Emergency Departments) if you absolutely need to
- Following self-hygiene measures such as handwashing
- Refraining from bulk-ordering medication, as this will significantly impact the ability to deliver medications for those who need it
- NOT asking practices for a sick note. There is a national electronic solution for sick notes in progress, until then we ask all patients not to contact their GPs for sick notes as this will take GPs away from providing care to unwell patients.
We know these are very difficult messages and reflect a completely different way of us all behaving. However, without your help local general practice and the wider NHS will not have the capacity to look after patients who need our help. Please work with us to ensure the NHS can cope.
Dr Kath Markus
Derby and Derbyshire Local Medical Committee
COVID-19 is a novel illness that can affect lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.
Derby and Derbyshire Local Medical Committee is the supportive body for Derbyshire general practice with a statutory duty to represent GPs at a local level.