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Face to face will always be key

Across the UK the way that doctors surgeries operate has changed dramatically as a triage model has been adopted. You can now engage with your GP out of hours remotely via their website for repeat prescriptions through to completing a health review for those with conditions. It is reported that 90-95% of all GP consultations could be dealt with via a video consultation. This has been a fantastic resource for keeping patients, GP’s and surgery staff safe throughout the Covid pandemic. There will always be a need for patients to see their GP face to face and throughout the Covid period this has meant surgeries have to be safe as “cold sites”. This simply means that the location is not exposed to the increased risk of seeing patients with Covid symptoms. Among the many measures to protect the cold site from Covid only some patients will be invited to see their GP where it is deemed essential. If you are asked to visit your surgery you must go. Provisions are in place to maintain your safety. Patients with Covid like symptoms will be invited to be seen at GP-led hot sites also known as hot hubs. Hot hubs provide a place to see patients with coronavirus symptoms face-to-face.

NHS England advice to GP’s in March highlighted that ‘it may be clinically necessary to come into direct contact with patients, for example, those identified most at risk’.

NHS England stated that this could be at the patient’s home, at a GP practice, a local hub or in another community setting. Advice is clear that GPs in each area will need to work out what model suits them best, but NHS England suggests hot sites can operate in a ‘zone’ within a practice or from a designated specific site covering a local area,

Liskeard Hot Hub

Five doctors surgeries under the East Cornwall Primary Care Network have worked collaboratively, and along side the minor injuries unit in secondary care at Liskeard Hospital to bring about Cornwall’s first hot hub. This is a huge advantage to ensuring health care is provided for at the highest standard allowing patients with underlying health concerns to be assessed and treated for coronavirus symptoms.

When talking to Doctors at my surgery and my colleagues at other practices here in Cornwall. We saw the huge benefits that a central site would offer enabling us to see patients who had COVID-19 symptoms many of whom could potentially be self-isolating.
We are very lucky here in Cornwall that are Primary Care Network or PCN love to be ahead of the curve with the latest technologies. But even with video consultations, and all the great online solutions we have available GPs here in East Cornwall agreed that a hot site would be a fantastic resource for safely seeing people who present with COVID-19 symptoms while having other medical symptoms.

Gemma WrightBusiness Strategic Manager - Oak Tree Surgery Liskeard

© East Cornwall Primary Care Network 2020

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