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The waiting game

The darkening grey areas

Editor’s blog

It feels as though we are entering the storm. This Easter weekend has long been cited as the peak in the UK, and as it gets closer, the closer GPs are having to get to Covid-19 patients.

The latest guidance from NHS England says: ‘When face-to-face assessment [of potential Covid-19 patients] is required, this will need to be managed either through use of designated sites (whether within practices or as separate locations, for example, hubs) or through home visiting services.’

GPs are also being advised to see suspected Covid-19 patients who are being bounced around by NHS 111.

With an information overload, there needs to be clear black and white guidance

This seems like a huge departure from a few weeks back, when GPs were told they should have no face-to-face contact with potential cases.

And it leaves some grey areas. What exactly is meant by ‘required’ in this instance? And this might be clear for patients with new symptoms, but what about those with respiratory symptoms post discharge or post week one or two – should they be contacting GPs or 111?

I do have sympathy with those planning the response to this. It is an impossible situation. But with an information overload – that we are trying to help with – there needs to be clear, black and white guidance – something like this for primary care. And, of course, proper PPE.

As always, stay safe everyone.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at

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Readers' comments (5)

  • 10 million people sat in their backgardens on furlough while us clowns are dying from covid-19.

    And when it ends and the government need more money to pay off the overdraft, who will they go after.....GPs AGAIN.

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  • 999 calls are now being triaged by the ambulance service to GPs, ambulance triage are refusing attendance:

    "The BT call flow process will be changing to determine whether calls relate to coronavirus, whether callers consider the situation to be life threatening, or for advice only. Life threatening calls, patients under 5 and over 70 will also be connected but all other callers will be directed to use NHS 111 on-line.
    Once connected to NWAS, callers will be made aware that NWAS will have a reduced ability to respond to 999 calls. Following triage, this may mean that NWAS service users will be advised to self-care or that an ambulance response will not be forthcoming. When deemed clinically appropriate, patients will be asked to consider using alternative forms of transport and/or to seek alternative options for clinical advice. i.e. self-care, primary care, urgent treatment centres etc.
    Calls where there is no likelihood of the patient prognosis being improved by an emergency ambulance response or where the presentation is not compatible with life, will not receive an ambulance response and alternative advice will be provided"

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  • '999 calls are now being triaged by the ambulance service to GPs, ambulance triage are refusing attendance:'
    This was happening in London a month ago, when the plan was still to establish Covid services through 111 and out of hours providers.

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  • They forgot why junior doctors went on strike and now they perversely clap for them. The escaping Hunt 'questions' dumbfounded Hancock and this disgusting inverted pyramid of power continues.

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  • i know people mean well by the clapping but it all feels a bit meaningless. i am sure, once this is all over, the moaning about how poor the service is and how overpaid we are will return, probably within days. Its almost like its expected we will die because thats our job rather than we are being exposed to a virus and dying that could have been prevented with proper protection and management. The narrative needs to change and we should be challinging the press to report the truth. any death of NHS staff is a failure of the NHS to do its job as an employer. CQC should be shutting NHSE down. It would if it was a GP practice. Goes both ways.

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