CCGs across the country have been taking localised action on coronavirus by establishing specialist surgeries or ‘hot hubs’ to solely deal with suspected coronavirus cases.
The service is designed for people with potential Covid-19 symptoms but who are not in need of emergency care. Patients can only be referred to it through their regular GP or by the 111 service.
It is hoped that having a two-tier system will keep primary care patients and staff safe by limiting the potential spread of the disease.
Yesterday, NHS Oldham CCG announced the opening of a 24/7 ‘COVID Assessment Hub’ at the location of what was previously a walk-in centre. The hub will give patients advice over the phone or by video and through face-to-face consultations in certain cases.
Oldham CCG Chief Clinical Officer Dr John Patterson said: ‘These are extraordinary times and the situation has changed quickly over the last few weeks. In order to prevent the spread of the virus, we need to develop and adapt our services to keep patients, staff and the wider community safe.
‘The Hub gives patients with potential Covid-19 symptoms the opportunity to gain advice or see a primary care professional, knowing that they are in a safe and dedicated environment.’
NHS Gloucestershire CCG introduced several coronavirus hubs at local health centres and surgeries last week. It said, as a precaution, it has banned queues in the buildings and would be calling patients’ mobiles while they wait in their cars for their appointments.
Also, the doctor or nurse would decide whether patients would need to be seen in their car or could be seen in the building. As a further safeguard, the CCG decided to withhold the locations from the public to prevent patients turning up at the hubs unannounced.
In recent weeks, a number of CCGs and Health Boards throughout the UK have introduced drive-through coronavirus testing services.
As things stand, 18,594 patients have tested positive for coronavirus in England and 1,284 have died.