• Evaluation of a ‘drop box’ doorstep assessment service to aid remote assessments for COVID-19 in general practice

      Irving, Greg; orcid: 0000-0002-9471-3700; Lawson, David; Tinsley, Adele; Parr, Helen; Whittaker, Cheryl; Jones, Hayley; Cox, Stephen (BMJ Publishing Group, 2021-03-28)
      COVID-19 is an established threat whose clinical features and epidemiology continues to evolve. In an effort to contain the disease, the National Health Service has adopted a digital first approach in UK general practice resulting in a significant shift away from face-to-face consultations. Consequently, more consultations are being completed without obtaining objective recording of vital signs and face-to-face examination. Some regions have formed hot hubs to facilitate the review of suspected COVID-19 cases and keep their practice site ‘clean’ including the use of doorstep observations in avoiding the risk of face-to-face examination. To support the safe, effective and efficient remote assessment of suspected and confirmed patients with COVID-19, we established a doorstep assessment service to compliment telephone and video consultations. This allows physiological parameters such as temperature, pulse, blood pressure and oxygen saturation to be obtained to guide further triage. Quality improvement methods were used to integrate and optimise the doorstep assessment and measure the improvements made. The introduction of a doorstep assessment service increased the proportion of assessments for patients with suspected COVID-19 in routine care over weeks. At the same time we were able to dramatically reduce face-to-face assessment over a 6-week period by optimising through a range of measures including the introduction of a digital stethoscope. The majority of patients were managed by their own general practitioner following assessment supporting continuity of care. There were no adverse events during the period of observation; no staff absences related to COVID-19. Quality improvement methods have facilitated the successful integration of doorstep assessments into clinical care.
    • Evaluation of a ‘drop box’ doorstep assessment service to aid remote assessments for COVID-19 in general practice

      Irving, Greg; orcid: 0000-0002-9471-3700; Lawson, David; Tinsley, Adele; Parr, Helen; Whittaker, Cheryl; Jones, Hayley; Cox, Stephen (BMJ Publishing Group, 2021-03-28)
      The COVID-19 is an established threat whose clinical features and epidemiology continues to evolve. In an effort to contain the disease, the National Health Service has adopted a digital first approach in UK general practice resulting in a significant shift away from face-to-face consultations. Consequently, more consultations are being completed without obtaining objective recording of vital signs and face-to-face examination. Some regions have formed hot hubs to facilitate the review of suspected COVID-19 cases and keep their practice site ‘clean’ including the use of doorstep observations in avoiding the risk of face-to-face examination. To support the safe, effective and efficient remote assessment of suspected and confirmed patients with COVID-19, we established a doorstep assessment service to compliment telephone and video consultations. This allows physiological parameters such as temperature, pulse, blood pressure and oxygen saturation to be obtained to guide further triage. Quality improvement methods were used to integrate and optimise the doorstep assessment and measure the improvements made. The introduction of a doorstep assessment service increased the proportion of assessments for patients with suspected COVID-19 in routine care over weeks. At the same time we were able to dramatically reduce face-to-face assessment over a 6-week period by optimising through a range of measures including the introduction of a digital stethoscope. The majority of patients were managed by their own general practitioner following assessment supporting continuity of care. There were no adverse events during the period of observation; no staff absences related to COVID-19. Quality improvement methods have facilitated the successful integration of doorstep assessments into clinical care.
    • National Health Service interventions in England to improve care to Armed Forces veterans

      Bacon, Andrew; Martin, E; Swarbrick, R; Treadgold, A (BMJ Publishing Group, 2021-03-19)
      Armed Forces veterans (AFVs) are first and foremost citizens of the UK and are therefore—like all UK residents—entitled to universal healthcare, free at the point of need. This means that AFVs have nearly all their healthcare needs met by the NHS, which provides access to a full range of generic services. However, since 2013 there has been an Armed Forces team that can also support veterans. This review is an assessment of the work of this group over the last eight years. The health needs of AFVs have been investigated and are not significantly different from those of their demographically matched peers. However, due to their demographics, selection at recruitment and their roles, AFVs compared with the general population are more likely to be male, white and old and have fewer pre-existing or hereditary conditions. However, they do suffer from higher rates of musculoskeletal injury, different patterns of mental health illness and have historically been higher users—and abusers—of alcohol and tobacco. In addition to supporting mainstream services used by AFVs, the NHS in England commissions a bespoke range-specific ‘Priority’ NHS services such as those for mental health or for rehabilitation of veterans using prostheses. New interventions are continuing to be developed to improve AFVs’ healthcare and are aligned to the NHS Long Term Plan and the restoration and recovery plans after the COVID-19 pandemic.