Full PPE, 'red zones' and cleaning the room between patients are now part of everyday practice.
News report of the measures taken by a GP surgery in Liverpool.Covid-19 has transformed how GPs work - from having to wear full PPE instead of ordinary clothes, to seeing a huge decline in the number of patients they are seeing. Here's how one practice in Liverpool has adapted.
"When the patient has left, I'll clean down the room before anyone else comes in and change all my(PPE) so it is as safe as it possible can be. It may not be as approachable, but we are doing our best to make sure everyone can feel safe coming into a GP surgery."
All this means a much slower trickle of patients.
This time last year the surgery was seeing around 130 patients a day for GP appointments, blood tests or just to pick up a prescription.
But on the day we visited, just 24 patients attended the surgery, all by appointment only.
"The amount of people I have spoken to on the phone with anxiety and depression... They were probably keeping it together, but it's the last straw that broke the camel's back.
"They can't cope now. It has been a massive impact.
"People are still having heart attacks, they are still having strokes, they are still having cancer, unfortunately.
"And there are a lot of other people that are dying of other things that seem to have been forgotten a little bit.
"It's a massive hidden cost of lockdown and that is really worrying for all of us - because we think there is an epidemic [of non-Covid illnesses] and we are just waiting for it to come."."
Full PPE the whole time? Surely the GP could sit well away from the patient and only don PPE if a close physical examination is needed?
Cleaning down the visiting room between every patient? What about hand sanitizer on the way in and out, and only cleaning if a patient has had symptoms, coughed or sneezed?
I can't help wondering if the measures described are way over the top.
My son went back to school this week. They wahs their hands in the playground before entering, and at certain times in the day, such as before lunch. The school is the same, except they have individual desks and don't share pencils etc. Displays still on the wall, all pretty normal. They clean during the day as well as in the evening and finish slightly early in Wednesday for a deep clean.
My wife works part time at a different school. She came back almost in tears this week. All the walls completely bare. All books removed, all soft furnishings removed. It's an old Victorian building so now resembles a prison and is being fumigated with some kind of fogging system every night.
I can't help but think some otherwise sensible folk have gone a bit bonkers. The GP in the linked article is on another planet. Covid19 isn't *that* contagious or that prevalent. Indeed, according to the WHO, 15 minutes of close contact is typically required, and the average GP appointment is shorter than that.
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