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Former RCGP chair Clare Gerada overcomes coronavirus

Professor Clare Gerada, former chair of the RCGP and a well-known London GP, has overcome coronavirus (Covid-19). 

Despite describing it as the worst illness she has experienced, Professor Gerada told Pulse: ‘I’m glad I’ve had it early, as I’m more than likely immune, and can now help my colleagues’.

She also advised fellow GPs on how to handle the growing crisis, whether they become diagnosed themselves, or continue to treat patients with it. 

Professor Gerada, 60, chaired the RCGP from 2010 to 2013, and has also sat on the BMA and GPC councils. 

She believes she contracted the virus the week before last, whilst in New York for a conference.

She was able to acquire a swab in an isolation pod, shortly before Public Health England’s guidance changed to only allow those in hospital to be tested.

In an opinion piece for Pulse, Professor Gerada recounted the symptoms, lasting approximately five days, as primarily being flu-like; a temperature; a dry cough that caused muscular chest pain; and a sore throat, as well as a vice-like headache, rigours and dizziness.

Sleep, paracetomol, and ‘sitting it out’ also facilitated her ongoing recovery at home. 

Professor Gerada is one of the 1,543 people in the UK now confirmed to have had Covid-19. This is a rise of 171 in 24 hours, and 35 in the country have died after testing positive. 

As of last week, people with mild respiratory symptoms, and the main Covid-19 signs – a new, continuous cough and temperature higher than 37.8 – must self-isolate for at least seven days. 

Last year, Professor Gerada was appointed clinical chair of the NHS Assembly, overseeing the delivery of the long-term plan, and is highly regarded for her focus on GPs’ mental health. This includes serving as medical director of the Practitioner Health Programme, and launching the GP Health Service.

Read Professor Gerada’s full account here