The number of GPs volunteering their spare time to help NHS 111 manage calls has doubled overnight.
The appeal, known as ‘TeamGPvCovid-19’ has successfully recruited over 550 volunteers since the suggestion first surfaced on social media two days ago.
It comes as yesterday, health secretary Matt Hancock announced that the NHS would need to mobilise 250 000 volunteers to help deal with demand on the health care system caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The aim of the ‘TeamGP’ initiative is to build a list of willing GP volunteers who could take the pressure off 111 by responding to calls from their own patients. The GPs will be dedicating time to speak to patients after their regular surgery shifts.
Dr Simon Hodes, a GP from Watford, is behind the idea and has been working with Dr Kit Latham, a former A&E doctor and founder of digital health care company, Credeintially, to set up the scheme.
Dr Latham said: ‘The country is facing an unprecedented challenge, and people are doing whatever they can to help.
‘We want to offer our tech in service to anyone who is trying to build an emergency healthcare workforce of volunteers, so they can start working as quickly as possible.
‘We are asking any GP that has a spare hour to sign up and join the fight against the virus.’
One GP who has volunteered for the scheme, who asked to remain anonymous, stated: ‘I feel that we currently have some potential capacity in primary care and I would like to help divert all patients possible from using frontline services either at the hospital or 111.’
Any GP in the UK can now sign up to volunteer to help NHS 111 via www.TeamGPvCovid.co.uk