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GP receptionists to receive guidance on ebola

The Government is issuing guidance to GP receptionists on how to deal with suspected cases of ebola, the health secretary has said today.

Speaking to Parliament, Jeremy Hunt said that it was ‘likely’ the UK will see a case of ebola, and this could be a handful over the next three months.

He added that the Government will monitor patients coming in from West Africa, and public health officials will call high risk travellers every day about potential symptoms.

He told MPs:  ‘The chief medical officer… has this morning confirmed it is likely we will see a case of ebola in the UK and this could be a handful of cases in the next three months.

‘We’ve put in a process for all call handlers working with NHS 111 to ask people reporting respiratory symptoms about their recent travel history so appropriate help can be given to higher risk patients as quickly as possible.

‘We will also send out guidance to hospital and GP receptionists.’

Guidance already issued by Public Health England has advised GPs to suspect ebola if a patient who has recently visited any of the areas affected by the West African outbreak presents with a high fever.

There have already been 4,033 confirmed deaths and 8,399 probable and suspected cases in the seven affected Western African countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Readers' comments (4)

  • GP practices should probably expect a DES for this.

    Probably a £100 pounds 'one-off' payment for preparation and then £6.32 for each patient with ebola successfully quarantined and treated within the practice....

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  • We may finally have a proper reason for introducing telephone triage.

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  • I remember when swine flu was here - even with explicit notices in red advising patients not to come in and telephone first - patients with suspected swine flu would happily come into a full waiting room potentially infecting everyone. Luckily none of them actually had swine flu.

    I dread to imagine the response of the population should Ebola come to the UK. Throw in demoralised staff - not just Gps. Think of A&E staff , nursing staff and support staff. I think this is a bad time for the government to quibble about a 1% pay rise when literally front line staff will be putting their lives on the line.

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  • I dont think policy has been well thought out- nowhere is there a specific protocol

    a patient with suspected ebola should stay at home
    only a specialist team appointed by public health should visit to confirm

    GP and staff who are unprotected should stay well away from supected cases who should be quarentined and initially assessed at home

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