This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pulse june2020 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

The waiting game

GPs must treat any flu-like illness needing hospitalisation as coronavirus

GPs should now treat any flu-like illness requiring hospitalisation as a possible coronavirus (Covid-19) case, regardless of travel history.

Updated guidance from Public Health England (PHE) says clinicians should now disregard whether a patient has 'epidemiological links' and treat any patient as a potential virus carrier if they:

  • require admission to hospital; and
  • have either clinical or radiological evidence of pneumonia; or
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome; or
  • influenza-like illness.

This means GPs should immediately isolate the patient and wear personal protective equipment (PPE).

NHS England has told GP practices to identify ‘at least one suitable space/room in the practice for patient/patient group isolation’ in the case of suspected coronavirus.

GPs should avoid direct physical contact with the patient, including physical examination and exposure to respiratory and other secretions; and inform NHS 111 and Public Health England.

PHE has also updated its guidance regarding returning travellers, with anyone coming from anywhere in Italy since yesterday advised to self-isolate.

This comes as the Italian Government has taken the decision to quarantine 16 million people, including in the cities of Milan and Venice, in an attempt to slow the rampant spread of the virus in the country.

As of today, 373 patients had tested positive for coronavirus in the UK and six people have died. Over 26,000 people have been tested.

The news comes as the RCGP has complained that there is ‘confusion’ around the advice being given to GPs on triaging potential coronavirus cases.

And as the UK's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has warned that 'within 10-14 days' the UK 'will move to a situation where everybody who has even minor respiratory tract infections or a fever should be self-isolating for seven days afterwards'.

Related images

  • coronavirus getty rf 525x350
  • fitness for work certificate

Readers' comments (30)

  • Clear as mud...thanks...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • How are you supposed to assess severity and need for hospitalisation without examining. Makes no sense at all to me.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • hopeless. read it and weep.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • HA HA HA HA

    No. Just no.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Every COPD exacerbation to get full bhuna NHS 111 and isolation?

    Twats.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Confused. Does that mean patient requiring admission with suspected pneumonia, or a patient requiring admission with ARDS or a patient requiring admission with flu OR does it mean a patient requiring admission with suspected pneumonia or a patient just with ARDS or a patient just with flu symptoms? The guidance can be read either way!

    How can we assess people without seeing them?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • National Hopeless Service

    I feel like a sitting target. The PPE we have received is laughable, two cheap ill fitting masks, aprons and a gloves all of which we had anyway.

    111 is directing patients with very Corvid symptoms our way just because of the lack of geographic contact which I suspect is now flawed advice.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Our PPE is so homeopathic its not worth using,and will run out very very quickly.Do I feel valued?not very.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Does that mean we have to close for a fortnight for a deep clean after every hospital admission?
    We probably admit a patient meeting that criteria every third day in our large practice. Particularly if you include children.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • So the NHS is prepared, I think not . A daily bulletin saying wash your hands, a list of countries posing a threat and a list of symptoms which most of us have at least once a week to diagnose Covid 19 does not constitute a plan.The fact isthat across the UK we are still under pressure from the winter for beds. ICUs have their own perennial pressures and 111 are as useful as a chocolate fireguard. Plans to lure clinicians out of retirement but in at risk age groups has been agreed with no one nor the rationale behind it.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say