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Coronavirus: GPs speak of challenges

Coronavirus: GPs speak of challenges

Published by Lisa Darvill with contributions by Local Democracy Reporter Jacob Webster at 12:20pm 12th May 2020. (Updated at 12:26pm 12th May 2020)

Main image: Melanie Dunwell

GPs have been speaking of the challenges of dealing with the coronavirus crisis in North Yorkshire. 

  • Frontline staff are sharing how the outbreak has affected them 
  • The Day-to-day routine for staff has dramatically changed 
  • But the NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group is reminding people the NHS is still here to help 

The coronavirus outbreak has taken a heavy toll on the health workers across North Yorkshire battling to contain it.

They have faced countless challenges amid limited supplies of essential protective equipment – and the virus has changed their relationships with their patients, co-workers and families.

But it has also brought the life-saving work done by doctors, nurses and first responders into the spotlight.

And to highlight that, NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been speaking with frontline staff at local GP practices to show how the outbreak has affected them and their patients.

Melanie Dunwell, Practice Nurse Manager for Whitby Group Practice said: 

"This has caused an unprecedented change to our ways of working and I feel proud to be part of this challenge,” said Melanie Dunwell, Practice Nurse Manager for Whitby Group Practice.

"I feel the practice team as a whole have been working more closely together and it has made us appreciate one another’s roles."

Dr Charles Parker, Clinical Chair of the CCG, said:

"In all my years working in general practice, I have never experienced anything like the impact of the pandemic.

"We must not underestimate the amount of effort adapting to the current situation has taken for our front line staff and that very much includes those in general practice, whether it’s your local GP, practice nurse or practice manager."

Dr Madeleine Locke, Nidderdale Group Practice GP, said the day-to-day routine for staff has dramatically changed, with patients seeing a very different approach to healthcare. 

She said: 

"In March when it became evident that covid-19 was here and a lockdown was imminent we had to completely change conventional general practice and in the space of three weeks, we successfully did this.

"We have now moved to a full telephone triage of all patients whether they need to see a nurse, health care assistant or doctor. To minimise risks to staff and patients we are consulting with patients remotely as much as we can by doing telephone, video and e-consultations.

"Where a patient does need to be seen, we are bringing them down to the surgery at specified times and controlled measures are in place to minimise contact with others. Patients are screened at the door and have their temperature checked.

"Given our rural location we have also been providing thermometers and oxygen saturation probes to patients to take home so that they can confidently monitor their covid-19 illness and contact us as needed."

Residents are being reminded to reach out to their GP if they are ill or require a vaccination.

GP services, pharmacies, NHS 111, out-of-hours services and emergency departments are all still available to patients showing non-coronavirus symptoms.

For more information on how to best use the NHS visit www.nhs.uk