As a consequence of the continued spread of the Coronavirus, Medical Solutions has experienced an unprecedented sharp increase in demand for GP consultations and associated call volumes, which has led to extended wait times for GP appointments. Whilst we have increased our capacity as much as possible to keep delays to a minimum, inevitably we anticipate that there will be longer wait times than normal due to concerns about Coronavirus. We appreciate your understanding and support as we seek to manage this increased demand.
Medical Solutions will continue to act in the best interest of the patient by following Government public health advice. This includes managing patients who are concerned that they may have contracted Coronavirus, or who are symptomatic, to NHS 111 for appropriate advice and treatment. Therefore, we are advising these patients to contact NHS 111, either via 111.nhs.uk, or to call 111, for further advice, and advise against visiting their own GP or A&E.
Medical Solutions is committed to providing reassurance and appropriate support to patients during this period of high health concern and publicity relating to Coronavirus. Our Customer Service Team has been trained to identify the symptoms of Covid-19 and will direct patients to NHS 111, where appropriate. Additionally, Medical Solutions will be introducing a new IVR message on all phone lines to direct patients to the most appropriate course of action should they suspect they have contracted Coronavirus. The IVR message will state:
“You will appreciate that all primary care services are experiencing exceptionally high demand at this time. For the most up to date national guidance on the Coronavirus, please visit the NHS website. If you think you have symptoms which you believe might be due to the virus, then please contact 111 directly or use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service at 111.nhs.uk. Do not go to your GP surgery or emergency department. Please note that our responsibility is to act in our patients’ best interests and as such we are unable to provide statements of fitness for travel for insurance purposes or fit notes for use in claiming statutory sick pay.”
We have also recorded an FAQ-style interview in a series of short videos with our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Chris Morris, who answers some key questions about Coronavirus and provides some useful information and advice. This will be hosted on our web-site and we will share the link with you shortly, which can also be cascaded to your customers/staff.
Medical Solutions is taking a number of steps to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus on service delivery.
We have increased our available capacity both within our Doctor and Customer Service Teams as much as possible to help manage additional demand on services. Within our Customer Services Team in Bracknell we have approximately 36 staff working across different shifts, so we have good coverage if any members of the team become affected by Coronavirus. Additionally, we have the flexibility to set up homeworking capability so that members of the Customer Services Team can continue to handle calls and make bookings remotely, if at any time people cannot come into the Bracknell office. Importantly, our GP team are not co-located and are geographically dispersed, which helps to mitigate the risk of cross-infection amongst our clinical team. All our GPs have also received the latest guidance from Public Health England and Health Protection Surveillance Centre in Ireland regarding Coronavirus.
We have also restricted business travel to ‘business critical’ only and we are monitoring holiday travel amongst staff, who are required to declare destinations of any overseas trips before traveling. Any staff presenting with symptoms of Coronavirus will be required to self-isolate in accordance with the latest public health guidelines.