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Staying positive: charity giving, PPE bikes and caring local firms



GP helps patients show their gratitude

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When Dr Tristan Brodie received a few bottles of wine for Christmas from generous patients, he was obviously grateful – but wondered if there was a way for such goodwill to be channelled to the community as a whole.

It gave Dr Brodie, who is a GP in the Wyre Forest Health Partnership, the idea to set up the ‘Thanks for my care’ website – and the pandemic gave him the impetus to turn this into reality.

The website signposts patients towards charities that provide support to the NHS, so that they can show their thanks through donations. It also reminds patients to visit the NHS website, where they can write a review of their recent healthcare experience.

He says: ‘I felt the concept could capture the public’s current gratitude and fondness for the NHS in a positive way. My hope was it would help charities that are currently suffering a huge financial deficit and also be well aligned with the social prescribing agenda, an initiative that directs patients to some of the charities my website supports.’

Currently, eight practices in the Worcestershire region are involved, but Dr Brodie wants practices from across the country to get involved. You can find more details at thanksformycare.co.uk.

Cab firm goes above and beyond

This month’s Working Life features Dr Sharon Raymond, who set up Covid Cabs to transport potentially Covid-positive patients to hot hubs and GP practices (eagle-eyed readers will note she featured on these pages last month).

Well, something similar is happening in Merseyside. GP Dr Abdul Zubairu, medical director for Southport and Formby Health GP federation, says a local taxi firm – Metro Radio Cabs –answered the federation’s plea to help patients without transport get to the local Covid hot hub.

However, the firm is going even further, says Dr Zubairu: ‘It also transports our phlebotomist, who has been taking bloods for patients who are shielding and cannot leave the house.’

As well as this, the federation has been the grateful recipient of scrubs donated by the volunteer group ‘For the Love Of Scrubs’, which raised money to purchase fabric to make outfits for the local hospital and hospice.

Partnerships for pedals and pods

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Dr Coleen McCabe’s practice in south Liverpool found a problem with the new PPE regimes. Although able to adapt cars for home visits – including scrubs, seat covers and equipment trays with PPE and disinfectant – it wasn’t so easy for the team to do home visits by bike.

But then the practice was put in touch with Danny Robinson from local bicycle initiative Peloton Liverpool, a co-op that is supplying refurbished bikes to key workers. Together, they were able to design a storage solution on a bike that can hold a tray of PPE and be disinfected afterwards. And the co-op refused to accept any payment.

And that’s not the only fruitful partnership the practice established. Earlier on in the pandemic, the practice worked with Liverpool-based Consortia Integrated Services to build an outdoor examination ‘pod’.

Dr McCabe says: ‘It has an open space around the base along with roof ventilation, and perspex walls for easy decontamination. We have had an outdoor sink and bin fitted for PPE donning/doffing.’

She adds that there were several offers to help with the structure pro bono. ‘We have been blown away by the kindness and support of these individuals which made this structure possible. Since its completion, we have regular vaccination sessions for patients who were previously unwilling to come to the surgery and the pod now has its own appointment screen.’

Poster boys and girls bring welcome cheer

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‘At the start of lockdown there was a lot of uncertainty both within the practice from staff, and our community with all the changes occurring,’ says Leicestershire GP Dr Aseem Rahman. ‘We are in a very deprived area compared to many of our neighbours, and unfortunately the building we rent has seen much better days – to put it kindly!’

So staff at the South Wigston Health Centre were in for a welcome surprise one Monday morning when they found a load of posters drawn by children from nearby Fairfield Primary School – all laminated by reception team leader Sara.

‘Every staff member – admin, nursing team, reception, clinicians, pharmacists – had an individual poster with inspirational quotes and rainbows,’ says Dr Rahman. ‘I think it helped staff feel settled and valued by the community, and also helped the children by making them feel like they were contributing to the fight we were all trying to win.’

Pulse voluntary donation scheme

Since the outbreak of this pandemic, Pulse has strived to support you, whether it be through our resources page, our ‘Clinical Crises’ series, holding policymakers to account with exclusives such as practices being supplied with faulty masks, or GPs being told to stop routine services in the hardest hit areas.

However, good journalism cannot be done on the cheap and, like the whole publishing industry, we have been affected by the economic slowdown. We also strongly believe the content we produce should remain free as we feel it is essential for you. Because of this, we have set up a voluntary donation scheme. There is no compulsion whatsoever to donate. But if you feel we are helping you, and you would like to support us, anything you can spare would be greatly appreciated. Read more here.

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