British company Doctor Care Anywhere (DCA) is introducing a free training programme to support GPs in carrying out remote consultations as the NHS continues to see rising demand for services in the coronavirus crisis.
As of the morning of 16 March, there were around 1,540 confirmed cases in the UK, with more than 44,000 people tested, and 35 deaths. Globally, according to the latest situation report from the World Health Organization, there were around 153,000 cases, with over 72,500 outside of China.
WHY IT MATTERS
DCA's clinical team has created a portfolio of resources and materials, including webinars, e-learning packages and virtual drop-in clinics to offer answers to individual questions and provide help for GPs.
Dr Bayju Thakar, founder of DCA, said the company was committed to helping those ready to move to a “digital-first triage model”, but acknowledged that this was not a “one-size-fits-all strategy”.
“Video and phone consultations are an additional resource that the public can use to access the clinical expertise, advice and reassurance they need from the safety of their own homes, eliminating the risk of virus transmission between patients in GP and hospital waiting rooms,” he added.
THE LARGER PICTURE
Over the weekend, a secret briefing from Public Health England surfaced in the news, stating that officials expect the virus to circulate for another year, which could see nearly eight million people here be hospitalised – raising concerns about the ability of the health service to cope with the pressure.
“As many as 80% of the population are expected to be infected with Covid-19 in the next 12 months, and up to 15% (7.9 million people) may require hospitalisation,” the document, seen by the Guardian, said.
The government is now expected to start organising daily televised press conferences to provide updates on the situation.
In other parts of the world, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel planned to use “anti-terrorism” technology to track people that have been in contact with those testing positive for coronavirus, if approved by the cabinet. Netanyahu said it was “not an easy choice” to make, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, in Romania, where there are 158 confirmed cases as of 16 March, the health ministry turned to Facebook to debunk some of the false claims linked to coronavirus that are going viral in the country.
In the UK, the government has also set up a unit to tackle the spread of misleading and false information, working with tech giants and communications experts.
ON THE RECORD
“We have conducted well over 40,000 video GP consultations [in the past five years], and want to share our expertise with our NHS colleagues, in order to grow their knowledge base and confidence in the services that are offered through digital pathways, and to help them better support the nation’s patients,” said Dr Kate Bunyan, chief medical officer at DCA.
GPs interested can contact the company here.