(last updated 16/03/2020)

Our Chief Medical Officer responds to the COVID-19 NHS preparedness and response letter

Wednesday, March 05, 2020, Manchester – In anticipation of seeing a surge in Coronavirus cases over the next few weeks, a letter outlining the preparatory steps and what is required from NHS organisations was sent to leaders on Tuesday 3rd March. The letter is from NHS Strategic Incident Director, Professor Keith Willet, and Incident Director, Stephen Groves. 

As part of the plan, they urged chief executives of NHS organisations to carry out more video-based consultations in order to reduce the risk of spreading the Coronavirus. Wherever possible GP surgeries and hospitals should, ‘consider implementing alternative models such as remote consultations for those patients who can be supported at home and review arrangements to support vulnerable individuals in alternative settings, including in the community’.

In response to the letter, Dr Dan Bunstone (Chief Medical Officer) says, “We are fully committed to supporting the NHS and taking pressure off the system to enable patients to get access to assessment and advice. The latest advice for Coronavirus focuses around self-isolation and remote medical assessment to ensure that patients are clinically safe and to contain the virus – Push Doctor entirely supports this advice, enabling patients to be seen quickly and safely.”

“Viral outbreaks are often very difficult, and it is as much about helping to prevent continued spread of the virus as treating those who have already contracted the illness.”

“We are working closely with our NHS partners by enabling more video consultations to take place without patients needing to leave their home, thereby limiting the potential of further spread of illness. We are already working with partners in Accident and Emergency departments to support the assessment of medical conditions amenable to treatment by a GP, keeping urgent resources freed up for when they are most needed.”

To date, there are 1391 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the UK. The Government launched an action plan earlier in the week setting out its proposals, actions to date and next steps depending on the course the current Coronavirus outbreak takes.

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Please click here to see common questions on Coronavirus from the NHS.