King's Lynn surgery adjusts to Covid-19 changes and guidelines
A Lynn doctor has spoken about how the medical profession has adapted and braved the Covid crisis over the past few months.
Dr Prabir Mitra of the St James Medical Practice said telephone and video consultations have partially replaced face-to-face consultations due to the pandemic but they are trying to find the right balance between “the new and the old”.
He said: “Covid-19 is not really going to go away so we are taking a considerable amount of time to provide new solutions.
“The number of face-to-face appointments has been considerably reduced. We are not a call centre, we are a medical practice, and we have to ensure patient safety as that is the priority, so we consult face-to-face as well as remotely.”
If patients have Covid-19 symptoms then they are advised not to come to the practice in person. The surgery has also set up precautionary ‘Covid Red Zones’ where patients with suspected symptoms of Covid are seen and this facility requires regular deep cleaning.
The surgery’s website includes a ‘Covid-19 Support Room’ which has advice for patients with pre-existing conditions and well-being tips when isolating at home.
Dr Mitra continued: “Very few people, in fact almost nobody, are coming in without being triaged during this coronavirus pandemic. The surgery also has plenty of signage which has been put up to guide patients.
“If there is a possibility of Covid symptoms then such patients are signposted to appropriate resources.”
NHS patients in the high risk category are able to call 0808 196 3646 to get help from a volunteer for needs such as food and medicines.
However, Dr Mitra said the surgery has also recognised some elderly patients do not have access to various forms of technology. Therefore, extra time has been dedicated to answering telephone calls.
He said: “There is a significant elderly population and we recognise their difficulties with a video based solution. We talk to them on the phone, see them at the surgery when appropriate or sometimes visit them at their homes.”
Dr Mitra also said he had almost a full clinic of face-to-face patients on Wednesday as well for those without Covid-19 symptoms.
He praised the community’s support, especially in terms of local companies supplying PPE to the surgery when they had been short.
Dr Mitra added: “We have plenty of PPE now but there was a time when we had a bit of a problem like most places.
“We were proactive and had some help from local industries. There is a good community feeling and we have been thankful to a lot of people. When people come in they realise this is the ‘new normal’ and they have to be careful.
"All of our staff-members have been brilliant during this difficult time, working hard and helping people”.
“The best form of general practice relies on doctor-patient relationship and trust which builds up over a period of time. Patients know us and we know them and this forms the backbone of general practice. The increasing use of technology should augment and not replace this.”