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Coronavirus guidance issued for primary care providers

As the number of people in the UK who have been infected by the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) continues to rise, Public Health England has shared guidelines for GP practices on how to tackle possible cases of the respiratory illness.

 

There have been more than 40,000 cases of the virus globally, mostly in China, and practices have been advised that it is most likely to occur in travellers that have recently returned from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, or Thailand.

For confirmed coronavirus infections, the CDC reports that illnesses have ranged from people displaying little to no symptoms to people becoming severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include a fever, cough and shortness of breath.

 

Because its symptoms can appear to be those of a mild illness, it is possible people with coronavirus may present at GP Practices. The main principles primary care organisations are being asked to follow are:

  • Identify potential cases as soon as possible

  • Prevent potential transmission of infection to other patients and staff

  • Avoid direct physical contact, including physical examination, and exposures to respiratory secretions

  • Isolate the patient, obtain specialist advice and determine if the patient is at risk of 2019-nCoV infection

 

In the case that an unwell patient with a relevant travel history is identified at the practice, they should be isolated in a room away from other patients and staff. For full information on the actions to take in the case of a suspected case of coronavirus, visit the Public Health England website.

You can also access a Pandemic Flu Policy, Flu Pandemic Contingency Plan, Flu Pandemic Checklist and Flu Pandemic Practice Buddy Guide in our new Pandemic Flu Toolkit if you are an FPM member.


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