Despite the enormous pressures and demands on NHS services during the Coronavirus outbreak, local practices and pharmacies remain open to care for patients in Doncaster.
The health needs of our patients is of paramount importance and it is vital that sick patients continue to seek advice from health and care professionals such as GPs, nurses and pharmacists.
All practices and most branch practices in Doncaster remain open, but of course, the ways in which they are providing care and services has changed. This is in line with national guidance and important measures to keep patients and staff safe.
In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, a new and separate facility has opened in Doncaster to advise, see and support patients that have Coronavirus symptoms. GPs, nurses and healthcare assistants are on duty to make sure that this important facility is there to assess people that cannot be dealt with via an initial telephone call or online consultation.
If a patient needs to see someone, they should call their local practice via telephone. Care navigators will ask a number of questions to determine which health and care professional is best to deal with the problem and in most situations, a consultation can take place either online or by telephone. If a patient needs to be seen in person and doesn’t have symptoms suggestive of Coronavirus, they will be invited into the practice to be seen. This is particularly important for patients that have more urgent health issues, such as suspected cancer symptoms or severe abdominal pain.
Please do not be alarmed if your practice team are wearing personal protective equipment; its extra precaution to ensure that both you and the health professional don’t inadvertently pass something to each other.
If a patient needs to be seen and has symptoms of Coronavirus or is self-isolating with someone else who has symptoms, this is when they may be referred to the new facility in Doncaster, dedicated to treat patients in a safe environment. Patients will either be given advice, booked in for a face to face appointment or if necessary, visited in their own home.
Dr Dean Eggitt, a local GP and Chief Executive Officer of Doncaster Local Medical Committee has worked in the new facility, providing care for patients with symptoms of Coronavirus.
Dr Eggitt said: “I’ve worked in the new dedicated site for patients with symptoms of Coronavirus and am really heartened by the enormous amount of work that is taking place to ensure primary care services remain available for patients.
“Staff have the personal protective equipment that is needed to treat patients with Coronavirus symptoms and are all following national and local guidance to ensure the health and well-being of patients and staff is addressed.
“It’s a fantastic partnership response and is a key step in making sure that all 39 local practices in Doncaster can continue to operate safely and effectively, reducing the risk of providing care for patients with Coronavirus symptoms.”
Dr David Crichton, local GP and Clinical Chair, NHS Doncaster CCG said: “It is humbling to see GPs, nurses and Health Care Assistants working in this new setting to provide care for patients that are displaying symptoms of Coronavirus.
“NHS staff continue to go the extra mile for patients. Not only does this new facility provide a dedicated, safe space for patients, it is ultimately helping to identify and address any health problem that patients with suspected Coronavirus symptoms may have, meaning new and ongoing health problems can be treated in a timely way.”
Ellie Simpson, Trainee Nursing Associate at Dunsville Medical Centre in Doncaster said: “I have worked at the new site on a few occasions now and whilst I was nervous at first, I know working at this important facility is the right thing to do.”
“It’s really rewarding to know that you are able to provide help and support to patients on a range of health issues, despite them having symptoms of Coronavirus. I will continue to work in the new facility and would encourage other nurses and Health Care Assistants to do the same.”
In addition to seeing and treating patients in the new facility, GPs and nurses are carrying out visits to provide care at home. GPs and nurses visiting homes will always use appropriate personal protective equipment – this is to protect both the patient themselves as well as staff visiting the patients’ home.
During these strange times, please stay home, protect the NHS and help save lives.