GENERAL practitioners at a new community assessment hub for confirmed and suspected Covid-19 patients are seeing a smaller volume of people than expected.
A new assessment service for local confirmed and suspected Covid-19 patients whose health is deteriorating in Shannon Health Centre got underway on Wednesday, April 15.
This service is for patients who have a presumed or a positive test for Covid-19 whose condition is worsening and requires an urgent face-to-face consultation following a referral by their own GP. All other patients will continue to be managed by their own GP.
Twenty local general practitioners have volunteered to work in the new Community Assessment Hub following special induction training.
Dr Páraic Meaney of the Burren Medical Centre, Corofin, told the Clare Champion doctors at the hub have seen a smaller number of patients that they envisaged, which is a very positive development.
“The new community assessment hub is running very smoothly. We are seeing less patients than expected, which is really a positive development. It is working well and there have been no major hiccups.
“It is good to have the capacity to see more if needed.
“This is reflective of what we are seeing in general practice over the last ten days. Having spoken to other family doctors, there is less respiratory illness around at the moment.
“The number of patients attending the community assessment hub varies from day to day,” he said.
Dr Meaney confirmed all staff who will be wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) in the community hub have received training on how to put on and take off this equipment.
“About 80% of Covid-19 patients will have mild symptoms. For patients whose condition is deteriorating this can happen from day five to day thirteen and they can be seen in the hub,” he said.
Dr Meaney urged people to continue contacting their general practitioner if they have a medical issue to be addressed.
He outlined that where possible people will be seen remotely using telephone or video contact.
“We are still doing face-to-face consultations where this is needed. In Burren Medical Centre my colleague, Dr Marese Mannion and I use PPE if we need to do face-to-face consultation.
“It is important that people continue to contact their local GP if they are feeling unwell or if they have significant mental health issues.
“Lots of things can be done over the phone. Our work has changed completely over the last seven weeks. We are now sending work certificates on line.
“Ante-natal checks, vaccinations and other treatment is still happening in general practice outside of Covid-19,” he explained.