Oximeters, PPE and taxis: how one GP is filling in service gaps
London GP Dr Sharon Raymond says she ‘was overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the impact’ of the pandemic when it first arrived in the UK. She saw a lack of PPE, problems getting vulnerable patients to hot hubs and poor access to oxygen saturation devices, among other things.
So she decided to do something about it. In March, with the help of friend and social entrepreneur Alex Adams, she set up the Covid Crisis Rescue (CCR). The not-for-profit organisation started by procuring PPE for frontline health and social care staff, delivering 30,000 items across the UK.
Dr Raymond also realised clinicians were spending valuable time arranging GP home visits and urgent ambulances for patients needing face-to-face assessment. So she partnered with a cab firm to lay on cars for symptomatic patients with no private transport to take them to hot hubs. She devised a standard procedure, kitting out cabs with screens and PPE to protect drivers. CCR covers the fare for those who can’t pay, including the homeless, with the help of donations.
Finally Dr Raymond wanted to ensure patients across London had 24/7 access to pulse oximeters. So last month, CCR began delivery of devices by DBS-checked volunteer bikers, within 90 minutes of a request to its 24-hour hotline.
GP’s campaign helps worried smokers quit
Dr Charlie Kenward, a GP in Bristol and clinical lead for research and effectiveness at NHS Bristol, North Somerset And South Gloucestershire CCG, saw a chance to promote an important health message during the pandemic. He launched the social media campaign #QuitforCovid.
He says: ‘I was in surgery talking to a mother and her young child. She works as a carer, so I asked if she had concerns about the virus. She said that as a smoker, she was particularly worried, so I replied, why not quit? She looked at her child, who looked back at her and nodded. This inspired me and I’m now asking smokers to #QuitforCovid.’ The campaign offers a daily quit clinic via Twitter.
Anti-smoking charity ASH estimates some 300,000 people have quit during the pandemic. This is based on the UK arm of YouGov’s Covid Tracker survey, with 1,000 respondents, conducted in April.
Appreciation for businesses that support NHS workers
A number of businesses are giving free services to NHS workers during the pandemic. Dr Haider Ali, a GP in a busy inner-city Manchester practice, decided he would give something back to them.
He started off with Hotel Football, owned by former Manchester United footballers, which is offering free accommodation to NHS staff who need to isolate. He got in touch with the manager to offer hotel staff advice about Covid-19, addressing myths on social media and highlighting national and WHO guidance.
When Dr Haider found out there were more than 60 frontline NHS staff, he started sourcing toiletries, food, items of clothing and other ‘comforts’ to cheer them up. He has also sourced PPE for staff in hospitals and care homes.
The one where staff tell patients ‘we’re still here for you’
When NHS England said it was worried people were staying away from general practice because of the pandemic, 65 staff at the Brownlow Practice in Liverpool decided to send a special message to their patients – by recording their own version of the Friends theme tune.
Their lyrics are slightly more graphic than the original: ‘We’re still here for you, if you’ve noticed blood in your poo, we’re still here for you, if you can’t swallow your brew, we’re still here for you, we are here to help you through.’
Could they be any more persuasive?
Temple pays heartfelt tribute to frontline staff
The Hindu temple in Neasden, north-west London, has recorded a poem to pay tribute to all key workers in the UK.
GP and trustee of the temple Dr Mayank Shah explained that alongside paying tribute to all key workers, there was a special resonance in ‘celebrating the sacrifices of many of the Indian frontline workers who have died during the Covid pandemic’.
The video of the poem, entitled Serving together in the joy of others, features more than a hundred key workers.
You can find the video here