Some people with coronavirus are to get home visits from GP's rather than be taken into hospital and doctors will also be able to prescribe them 'end of life' medication.
A temporary home visiting service has been introduced in Tameside in order to relieve pressure on hospital beds during the pandemic.
This service will provide medical support for people with COVID-19 from GPs in their own homes, when they would normally be treated in hospital.
A decision on whether to admit someone to hospital will be made by the digital health team.
If the decision is made not to admit them, a direct referral will instead be made to the hospital home visiting service that will enable patients to receive ‘prompt’ home visits, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A report to the strategic commissioning board states that the pandemic is currently placing ‘high levels of strain’ on health and social care services in Tameside and Glossop.
“As the number of cases rise, additional patients who would normally be admitted to hospital will need to be managed in the community,” officers state.
“The home visiting GP will perform those parts of the consultation which most require face-to-face interaction.
“This would encompass relevant examination and prescribing of any medication required.
“The home visiting GP may be required to implement the relevant paperwork to support palliative and end of life care and prescribe end of life medication if required.”
It is anticipated that during the pandemic ‘surge’ the home visiting services will respond to ‘urgent demand’ covering between 20 and 40 visits a day.
The contract, awarded for an initial period of three months, will cost £154k, which chiefs will include on their submission from the clinical commissioning group for COVID-19 government funding.
Director of commissioning, Jessica Williams said: “It’s important to remember that the majority of patients with Covid will have mild symptoms and can manage it themselves.
“However there is still a signficant number who are likely to requiire primary or secondary care.
“General practice is open, general practice will continue to manage patients as they would have done previously it just might be in a different way.”
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