A slew of GP practices in England have been forced to shut for cleaning as the number potential coronavirus cases in the country continues to grow.
Meanwhile, the first cases in other UK countries have been confirmed, with Wales and Northern Ireland now affected.
At least 20 practices in England have been forced to shut at some point in the past few weeks, it has been reported.
This includes four practices in Essex and four in Brighton which has been described as the UK’s coronavirus epicentre and where five of the UK’s fifteen confirmed cases are based.
Recent closures include:
- Buxton Medical Practice, Derbyshire
- Mulberry Medical Practice (also known as Sefton Avenue Surgery), Edgeware, London
- Mersea Island Medical Practice, Essex
- Rowhedge Medical Practice, Essex
- Mount Chambers Surgery, Coggeshall, Essex
- Loxford Polyclinic, Ilford, Essex
- Abbeyville Surgery, Romsey, Hampshire
- Pilch Lane Surgery, Liverpool
- Bradford on Avon Health Centre, Wiltshire
- Saltash Health Centre, Cornwall
Pulse previously reported on these closures:
- Ritchie Street Neighbourhood, Islington, London
- Ferns Medical Practice, Farnham, Surrey
- French Weir, Taunton, Somerset
- Avenue Surgery, Brighton
- Carden Medical Centre, Brighton, Sussex
- Warmdene Surgery, Brighton, Sussex
- Seaford Medical Centre, Sussex
- Boundary House, Bracknell
- New Pond Row, Sussex
- Brackley Medical Centre, Northamptonshire
This was due to one of its GPs having been in contact with a patient who tested positive for the virus, meaning only one other GP at the surgery was available.
Government guidance to GPs states that unwell patients with relevant travel history should be identified and isolated as soon as possible.
Once a possible case has been transferred from the primary care premises, the room where the patient was placed should not be used- with the door remaining shut and windows opened and the air conditioning switched off, until it has been cleaned with detergent and disinfectant. Once this process has been completed, the room can be put back in use immediately.
Pulse reported earlier this week that 100 GP practices across England are to take part in opportunistic testing for coronavirus.
Public Health England said on February 26 that patients presenting to participating practices and NHS hospitals with severe respiratory infections – but who do not display Covid-19 symptoms – will be tested as part of a new surveillance system.
GPs have raised a number of concerns about NHS prepapredness for the spread of an infectious disease, including a lack of available protective equipment and claims that NHS 111 was signposting potential coronavirus cases to GP practices.