The RCGP has published guidance for GPs on how to deal with suspected cases of Ebola, it was announced today.
The guidance contains targeted advice for receptionists, practice managers and doctors on what to do if a patient presents with Ebola-like symptoms or calls the surgery for advice.
The RCGP has already set up a dedicated Ebola page on its website, which brings together the latest information about the spread of the disease for primary healthcare professionals. The new guidance, which is presented in index-card format, also contains advice for patients with practical recommendations about what to do if they think they might be infected with the disease, which is thought to have killed nearly 5,000 people worldwide in the latest outbreak.
So far, there has been a single case of imported Ebola in the UK: William Pooley, 29, a volunteer nurse who contracted the disease in Sierra Leone, was discharged from hospital in London last month having made a full recovery.
RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said that although the threat of Ebola in the UK remained low, GPs and practice staff on the front line should be ‘fully aware’ of what steps to take to protect patients and themselves should an incident or potential incident arise.
She said: ‘[The] guidance takes a calm, measured and common sense approach to the current situation – exactly what general practice needs.
‘It will reassure all members of the GP practice team and should make all frontline health professionals feel more prepared and confident about handling any potential incident.’