A GP federation has rented black cabs and recruited volunteer drivers online to provide safer travel for GPs doing home visits during the coronavirus pandemic.
The group of practices opted for taxis given their unique layout, which sees the GP separated by glass from the driver and given extra room in the back to put on PPE and write up notes. The vehicles have also been adapted to make the interior ‘easier to clean’.
The Alliance for Better Care group, which represents 44 GP practices throughout East Surrey, Crawley, Horsham and Mid-Sussex, has rolled out the project across several surgeries, with more to join in the coming weeks.
Practice manager at Leacroft Medical Practice, Matt Cullis, said: ‘Our surgery is still open to treat patients, however, home visits have become particularly important for those who are shielding and not wanting to leave their homes. This service saves us time and allows our doctors to travel to appointments in an environment that can be easily cleaned.’
BMA advice, published yesterday (12 May), urged practice managers and GPs to ‘carefully assess’ the need for home visits and said they should only be done if:
● telephone or video consulting cannot be done, or
● a physical examination is considered essential and the patient is unable to attend the practice/hub.
ABC chief executive Katherine Saunders said: ‘We have been overwhelmed with the number of volunteers who have come forward, and we’d like to thank them all for offering to support this service. We are, of course, committed to protecting both our volunteers and our clinicians. We insure drivers and carry out all necessary checks while also providing PPE. This is a valuable resource for our clinicians, and increases our capacity to reach more patients.’