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GPs go forth

NHS England urgently calls on GPs to offer spare time to Covid-19 triage service

NHS England is calling on GPs to 'urgently' offer up their time to assist the covid clinical assessment service (CCAS).

The CCAS is being set up as an extension of NHS 111's coronavirus (Covid-19) response, into which call handlers can refer patients who require further assessment by a clinician to determine whether they need hospitalisation.

NHS England said GPs whose practices were 'less busy' could offer some of their 'paid-for time' to staff the service, while others could work for the CCAS in their spare time.

Speaking to GPs in a live webinar on Thursday evening, NHS England director for primary care strategy and NHS contracts Ed Waller said: 'We’re going to be writing out – hopefully tomorrow – to all GPs. We need your help quite urgently with the establishment of the covid clinical assessment service (CCAS).

'We need more clinicians than we have currently during the course of the next two or three weeks available at various times of the day and night to make the clinical assessments of people coming through the 111 system and in the long run this has quite a significant benefit to practices.'

Mr Waller said that the CCAS would 'shield practices from patients who can simply be given advice on how to self-isolate at home with mild symptoms', helping to reduce the 'volume of patients we’re likely to see over the next few weeks'.

He added that by ensuring patients get 'a timely clinical assessment' it would 'smooth the impact' on practices in parts of the country which are harder hit by the virus as the pandemic will 'progress at different speeds in different parts of the country'.

He said: 'What we really need people to do tomorrow onwards is to respond to our call for those volunteers.

'We’re going to be asking people to do one of two things – either to offer additional time or if as some practices have told us they aren’t as busy as they usually would be, to offer some of their current paid-for time in the NHS as part of that service.'

NHS 111 online will use an algorithm to sort patients into cohorts, including those with severe symptoms who require an ambulance, those with mild symptoms, and those who require further clinical assessment.

GPs will be notified of those high-risk patients who have mild symptoms that have contacted NHS 111, and will similarly be notified of patients with mild symptoms who are advised by NHS 111 to self-isolate at home.

Patients needing further assessment will be passed on to CCAS, which NHS England is also hoping to staff with returning retired clinicians.

Following assessment by the CCAS, if patients do not require hospitalisation or are not showing mild symptoms that can be managed through self-isolation then they will either receive a face-to-face assessment in primary care, or their GP practice will take ‘proactive action’, such as monitoring them by phone.

Working for the CCAS

NHS England is seeking GPs who are on the Performers List and currently work as salaried or partner GPs who can:

  1. make a substantial time commitment to the service (at least two sessions a week over April, subject of course to changes in local needs), working remotely with shifts available 24/7. This could be as a volunteer in your currently contracted NHS time by agreement with your practice, or in addition paid at £200/session, or a combination. Doctors who are currently working on the service will have pay uplifted to £200/session from today.
  2. be willing to undertake (approximately) four hours of paid training to be ready to work on the CCAS, and complete a limited amount of necessary paperwork and IT/telephony set up as quickly as possible to allow them to work from next week.
  3. have access either personally or through their employer to a Windows PC or laptop.
  4. sign an Honorary Contract with South Central Ambulance Service Foundation Trust to work as part of the CCAS declaring that they are appropriately employed within their practice and have met the usual statutory and mandatory training requirements necessary to fulfil their role.

GPs can sign up here

Source: NHS England

Related images

  • nhs 111, phone, telephone, phone call, call centre - online

Readers' comments (27)

  • There must be a whole army, as Copperfield points out, of doctors who have had a comfortable living administering the hoop-jumping and tick-boxing, that now have free time on their hands. Put down the clip boards ladies and gents, here is your chance to earn money being useful for a change.

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  • Run your practice. Do a shift in a dubious hot clinic. Do a home visit. Review all risk groups. Then triage for 111. Then do bank holiday. Then repeat. And don't refer anyone. And wear no PPE. Then die. Not long ago this profession was being utterly shafted and 2 committed suicide. This is 'your' NHS. But not your NHSE.

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  • Re Stelvio. Except they won’t be useful because they haven’t got a clue. Far easier to sanction and tell us how things should be done than to actually deal with patients ...

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  • Spare time is home time we give and have given enough.There is nothing left to give.

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  • Get thee to a f**kery.

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  • Cobblers

    Even in those days when I was a GP Principal, spare Time was gold dust to be used for me time and family time. Never ever for extra work.

    In these current overloaded times when NHSE is banning even Bank holidays they want, nay demand, even more of your time.

    Foxtrot Oscar sunshine. In fact I would go so far as to suggest that GPs ignore the dictat on Bank Holidays. Your family time is precious and it won't come again unless you are lucky grandparents.

    As for pandemics hang around there's another one coming, and another one and guess what? Another one.

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  • As others have said “why for FS?”

    As aside assume there is some forward capacity planning for all the 2WW that are headed for Primary Care appointment when lockdown over and then refer on to secondary care for investigation?

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  • Madness to take GPs from their surgery to staff a service where they can’t even prescribe. The best Primary care response is GP surgery based (including weekends) ,no 111, no hot hubs ...

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  • Already fully booked. And some. Nhse missed the boat there a bit. By several weeks in fact. Bought my own PPE by the way. Just so you know.

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  • You can sort the fecking pension thing out first.
    Once that sorted is there PPE or do I have to wear ma pants on ma heid?

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