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Vale of York GP reflects on providing patient care in the new world of COVID-19

Dr Helena Ebbs, GP at Pickering Medical Practice and Governing Body locality representative at NHS Vale of York CCG has shared her thoughts about life in primary care during the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact it has had.

In an article published in the The Parliamentary Review, Dr Ebbs talks about the work of the NHS and how it has been fundamental to the coronavirus effort in the UK.

Dr Ebbs said “The pace of change in primary care is unlike anything I’ve seen in my two decades in the NHS.

“Whole scale transformation of appointment systems has taken place. The switch to telephone triage for all practice activity was achieved in a seven-day period. Video consultation technology went from a hypothesis for most, to widespread release and implementation in less than a week. These changes usually take months if not longer."

Dr Ebbs also talks about the conduit for this transformation has been the training and upskilling of staff including new protocols and processes to write for triage assessment, the safety of staff and patients. The creation of new home visiting teams and new death certification management to name a few.

She also reflects on the power of partnership working with acute care providers, community nursing providers and adult social care, working in hubs centred around the needs of local populations.

Dr Ebbs talks about how barriers have shifted and evaporated in some instances and reflects on progress which has been rapid, energised and ambitious. She said:

"We are helping to prepare our patients for difficult times ahead. Some of the best medicine we practice is simply allowing people to be heard. Promising to walk alongside our communities through whatever the future holds.

“They know we can’t stop the virus ourselves. But there is great strength in our staff and patients knowing they are not on their own." 

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