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GP practices must prepare isolation spaces for coronavirus, says NHS England

GP practices should designate a suitable space for isolation in the event of seeing patients with coronavirus symptoms (Covid-19), new guidelines by NHS England state.

GPs should identify ‘at least one suitable space/room in the practice for patient/patient group isolation’, according to the guidance.

It adds that if there is no suitable room, the best option is an isolated area within the practice that can be cordoned off, allowing for a two-metre space from other patients and staff.

In addition, non-essential furnishings and items should be decluttered and removed. NHS England said that ‘this will assist if decontamination is required post-patient transfer’.

A telephone should be placed in the room or space so patients can contact NHS 111, added the guidance.

The new standard operating procedure, which also provides advice for elsewhere in primary care - community pharmacy, optical and dental settings - is an update to the national strategy to ‘identify, isolate and contain’ Covid-19.

It urges healthcare professionals to identify potential cases as soon as possible, prevent potential transmission of infection to other patients and staff, and avoid direct physical contact - including physical examination and exposure to respiratory and other secretions.

Staff are also reminded to inform NHS 111, seek clarification with Public Health England if unsure whether the individual should isolate at home or within the practice, and that 111 is running a Covid-19 enhanced service that will be the entry point for people concerned they may meet the case definition for the virus.

The first death of a British citizen due to Covid-19 was announced today (28 February). The man died in Japan, having been a passenger on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the Foreign Office confirmed.

Meanwhile, the UK’s confirmed cases have expanded beyond England. 

Northern Ireland and Wales now also have one case each, bringing the UK’s total to 19.

Related images

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Readers' comments (31)

  • I’m not sure what they want? At risk patients won’t be asked to attend, so this would only be an accidental finding in a consult, in which case you wouldn’t then transfer rooms.

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  • Why do we need this when they wont provide protective gear!!!By the time they've been seen they will be coughing in the waiting room and walking down the corridor just before they cough in your face to show you how much they need antibiotics. Pathetic.We are not secondary care or A&E and don't we know it.

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  • Hi,
    We have a clinical room for phlebotomy that used to be a storage cupboard. We have been trying for the last 2 years to get funding for an extension only for nhs England to change the funding parameters at the last minute making it unaffordable. Yes we would love an isolation room, but that assumes you actually have rooms in the first fact we would like clinical rooms..

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  • Will the car park do?

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  • NHSE and Our CCG : utterly useless to the point of negligent.
    Unhelpful , uncoordinated and obstructive.

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  • Cobblers

    Daft advice from NHSE as per.

    So isolate this covid19 presumed person in a room after they have sneezed over the receptionist, sniffled in the waiting room and coughed on the doctor. Then what?

    And come 6pm when practice needs to be locked up and staff go home?

    Leave them?

    Does NHSE think GP is a 24/7 operation?

    Useless shower.

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  • doctordog.

    I’ve a spare room at home? Or
    would the stable do?

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  • NHSe out of touch as always.... no practical solutions.... only delegate more and more work without adequate funding/ resourcing..... seriously..... GPs need to resign en masse....

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  • Generally I think I am going to send them straight home and ring 111 from there. (After a 10 second eyeballing and a quick temperature and sats reading).

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