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Is this the Calm Before the Storm? Practice Resilience in the Covid-19 Outbreak

FPM have been speaking to Practice Managers about how their practices and teams are coping amid the pandemic.

 

What Have Been the Biggest Changes?

Usual consultations have been hugely reduced. GPs and Nurses are working from home and offering consultations over the phone/ video link. If the patient’s problem is not respiratory/ Covid-19 related, they are being invited to the practice, if necessary.

We are still continuing with certain routine work such as Vaccinations and Smear tests.

There has been a large reduction in admin work, due to the reduced amount of consultations.

 

Practices have been colour coded?

Yes, there is one “Hot Hub” or “Red practice” in each PCN where Covid- related patients are being sent. Some practices are supporting these “Hot Hubs” with their staff such as admin, HCAs and Nurses. Some “Red Practices” are accepting volunteers from the PCN who are happy to be redeployed to fight the virus directly, therefore avoiding the problem of staff members who are not comfortable having to work directly with potential Covid patients.

 

What else are you doing to support the local community?

The reduction in consultations have freed up time to get to some of those other jobs that we usually put off or don’t prioritise. We’ve contacted all our mental health and dementia patients to check in and see how they’re doing.  We’re looking at what can be completed to support when we resume back to normality and trying to think outside the box to offer support we wouldn’t usually be able to.

Some examples of out the box thinking have included Group Video Consultations to support those with long term health conditions, Online Inhaler Training and Patient Education Videos.

 

How are you and your staff feeling?

Staff are worried but working hard. Morale is relatively high, everyone is doing the best they can. Staff are going above and beyond their remit, which makes life easier for everybody. I do think it depends on how many staff are still available and working, as some practices have lost far more than others due to self-isolating, shielding etc.

 

Are you supporting other practices?

We have been working with the PCN to not only support the “Hot Hub” and “Red Practices”, but also the other practices that have lost more staff members than others. We have also found a difference between practices depending on patient demographics.

 

Have you received all the relevant PPE?

Yes, we’ve thankfully received all the PPE that we need. I don’t think the supply lines on how to order more, however, are overly clear. We’ve put plans in place to ensure that our levels of PPE do not drop to a worrying amount and are reviewing the situation on a daily basis. We’ve even received a portable ventilator!

CCGs are asking for PPE updates and keeping practices supplied.

Thank you to all the PMs that provided feedback at this busy and unprecedented time.

 

If you are an FPM member and have any employment questions relating to the Coronavirus, why not check out our Coronavirus FAQs, in the Pandemic Toolkit in the FPM Library.

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Closing Date: 10 June 2020

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