Can video help keep GPs safe from COVID-19?
In March, the Government laid out plans to make it easier for retired GPs to return to work during the Coronavirus outbreak. Dr Ian Jackson urges the primary care sector to take up video consultations to help protect the GP workforce against infection
The Emergency Coronavirus Bill laid out plans to make it easier for retired GP to return to work during the UK COVID-19 outbreak.
A number of GP practices in England have been trialling video consultation platforms in recent years; and in the coming months, it is likely that millions of patients will have face-to-face appointments with their GP replaced by telephone or video consultations under NHS plans to respond to the threat posed by the coronavirus.
A safer space for both doctor and patient
With the Government currently only testing people for the virus once they have been admitted to hospital, as well as frontline key workers, video consultations could allow GPs to minimise the number of patients attending surgery. This brings benefits for both patients and practice staff, minimising footfall will be key to maintaining vital Primary Care Services and reducing risk in an area where cross contamination could easily occur. The use of teleconsultation applies equally to those who potentially have COVID-19, and patients with other complaints that can be managed remotely.
Retired GPs coming back into the practice, many of whom will be over 60 years old, will find themselves in one of the risk categories. If those at risk are designated to undertake video consultations, they can support their practice in a safe manner.
A very real use case
Prior to the outbreak, many GP perceived video consultations as an additional extra. In the midst of this health crisis, we are, unfortunately, presented with a very real use case.
Refero is offering free usage of its video consultation platform to public sector bodies to support the UK response to COVID-19, allowing clinicians the platform to speak to patients within hours, remotely via mobile and desktop devices.
Interested teams should email firstname.lastname@example.org for an immediate response.